Denny Hamlin takes pole for NASCAR Cup race at Charlotte


CONCORD, N.C. (AP) - Denny Hamlin won the pole Friday night for the NASCAR Cup playoff race Sunday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Hamlin turned a lap at 191.598 mph on the 1 1/2-mile oval for his first pole of the season. He'll share the front row with Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Matt Kenseth. Hamlin has wins at New Hampshire and Darlington this year, but has never won at Charlotte. "This is a track position-type race track," Hamlin said. "You want to have that first pit stall and have the clean air." Kevin Harvick was third, followed by Kyle Busch and Clint Bowyer. Dale Earnhardt Jr., who is racing for the final time at Charlotte, qualified 23rd in a backup car after he crashed just moments into practice .