Clinching his fourth pole of the season and looking to defend his title from last year, Denny Hamlin will lead off the Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday night.
A lap of 128.969 mph gave Hamlin the top spot at the half-mile track, though even a win at 25th in the standings with 439 points this late in the season won't help him much in Chase. The Joe Gibbs Racing star had to sit out four races earlier this year due to fractured vertebrae, and is essentially out of the hunt.
While’s it not impossible to make a run, Hamlin could best play the role of spoiler for a number drives hoping to shoot up the standings on Saturday like Martin Truex Jr., Joey Logano, and Ryan Newman.
Each has one victory this year, but Truex will have to try to maintain his points lead over both in order to secure a wild card spot for the Chase. Logano will start from the sixth row, Newman the eighth, and Truex right behind in ninth. Logano can try to capitalize on some of the momentum he gained after last week's victory in Michigan.
Kasey Kahne currently holds the other wild card with two wins and sits at 11th place in the standings. He'll start seventh after posting a 128.348 mph lap.
Right behind Hamlin in the top five are racers who have already punched their ticket to the Chase. Kurt Busch, Carl Edwards, Brian Vickers, and Matt Kenseth all make up the top five.
Everyone will have crisp, comfortable weather throughout the race with temperatures hovering around the mid to low 70s.
TV Channel, Start Time
The race starts at 7:30 p.m. ET and will be broadcast nationally by ABC.
5. Matt Kenseth
9.Martin Truex Jr.
16.Juan Pablo Montoya
19.Dale Earnhardt Jr.
27.Ricy Stenhouse Jr.