Hamlin wins pole at Dover for start of 2nd playoff round

Denny Hamlin, pictured above. (Terry Renna/AP)

DOVER, Del. — Denny Hamlin turned a lap of 166.984 mph at Dover to start the second round of the playoffs on the pole.

Hamlin will lead the field to green in his 500th career NASCAR Cup Series start. The two-time Daytona 500 winner has four wins this season in the No. 11 Toyota and remains a top contender to win his first career Cup championship.

Playoff drivers took up most of the top 10: Martin Truex Jr. starts third, Kevin Harvick fourth and Chase Elliott fifth. William Byron and Ryan Blaney also start in the top 10.

Kyle Busch was the worst qualifier among the 12 playoff drivers and starts 18th.

Richard Petty at Trenton in 1970 and Matt Kenseth at New Hampshire in 2013 are the only drivers to win their 500th start.

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