Denny Hamlin just can’t seem to avoid controversy.
The Joe Gibbs Racing driver issued a public apology to former teammate Joey Logano for two discretions at Bristol last week. Hamlin bumped Logano on Lap 349, which sent him into a spin and ruined his chances to overtake Jeff Gordon for the lead. Later there was some back-and-forth between the respective pit crews.
The two then engaged in a battle on Twitter with Hamlin tweeting: “Last time I checked he had my cell and direct message button to choose from if he's got a problem. Otherwise hush little child”
That extra drama could make for an exciting race Sunday as Hamlin starts things off from the No. 1 position in NASCAR’s Spring Cup Series at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.
The 23-year-old Logana won’t be too far behind Hamlin in the No. 7 spot, and will look to improve on just three laps led in four Sprint Cup starts this year.
Defending Cup champion and current points leader Brad Keselowski picked up the third position with a 187.149 mph lap, just behind Greg Biffle’s 187.217 mph for No. 2.
Last week’s winner at Britstol, Kasey Kahne, can try to crack the top five in the standings with another strong finish. The Farmers Insurance driver has two top five and two top 10 finishes in four starts this year.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. rests nine points behind Keselowski for the Cup lead, and will start from the No. 15 slot. Earnhardt Jr. has led 47 laps this year, and finished sixth at Bristol from the No. 32 position.
Coverage of the race begins at 3 p.m. on Fox.
The top 10 in Sunday’s starting grid can be viewed below, with the manufacturer and car number included:
Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 11
Greg Biffle, Ford, 16
Brad Keselowski, Ford, 2
Kyle Busch, Toyota, 18
Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 20
Joey Logano, Ford, 22
Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 56
Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 14
Mark Martin, Toyota, 55
Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 78