Cool Hamlin grabs pole late in day

first_imgKahne shrugged off his second-place run. “I figure it was definitely cooling down,” Kahne said. “I figure the (No.) 20 (Hamlin), if he had gone out at the same time as we went out, it would have been close. But I think we’ll have a really good car for the race.” Kyle Busch was third at 179.964, followed by Ryan Newman at 179.659, Jeff Burton at 179.614 and Greg Biffle at 178.971. Runaway series points leader Carl Edwards qualified 14th at 176.917. Nextel Cup drivers, who will also race in Sunday’s Sharp Aquos 500 here, swept the top 15 spots, with rookie Marcos Ambrose the top Busch regular at 176.748. ETC.: While Joe Gibbs Racing officials remained mum on the anticipated switch from Chevrolet to Toyota, Kyle Busch was more than happy to talk about it. From news services Denny Hamlin, the last of 42 drivers to make a qualifying attempt, knocked Kasey Kahne off the pole for tonight’s Camping World 300 NASCAR Busch Series race at California Speedway. Hamlin’s fast lap of 180.316 mph on Friday, came with the sun setting on a track that was finally cooling a bit after the high temperature had reached 104 degrees and the track temperature went over 140. The lap was good enough to give Hamlin his 12th Busch pole and relegate Kahne’s 180.162 to the outside of the front row. “It probably helped us quite a bit,” Hamlin said of the late qualifying draw. “It could have been the difference between the pole and maybe second. I’ve been hurt by the qualifying draw more than I’ve been helped, though, so I’ll take it.” Busch, who will leave Hendrick Motorsports to drive for JGR in 2008, said he got a call from the team earlier this week confirming the change. “We were just always kept in the loop on what exactly was going to happen with that and, when they finally made their decision, they went ahead and called us,” Busch said at California Speedway, where he will race in Sunday’s Nextel Cup race. Asked what the call was about, he reiterated, “That they were going with Toyota.” Toyota is in its first season in Nextel Cup. This is a move that will give the Japanese automaker a marquee team. Dutch Grand Prix Justin Wilson was fastest on a wet track in the first qualifying session for the inaugural Champ Car World Series race in Jassen, Netherlands. Wilson, fourth in the series standings, had the fastest lap of 1 minute, 30.656 seconds around the 2.83-mile track at Assen, at an average speed of 112.381 mph. Simon Pagenaud of France was second, 0.89 seconds behind, and another French driver, Tristan Gommendy, was third, just over a second behind Wilson. Series leader Sebastien Bourdais of France, coming off a victory in last weekend’s Belgium Grand Prix, was sixth. No hard feelings? There are no hard feelings between Dario Franchitti and IRL teammate Marco Andretti, but there’s still a matter of talking to their boss. The Indianapolis 500 champion said he and Andretti talked about last Sunday’s collision that dropped Franchitti to third at Sonoma, and allowed race winner Scott Dixon to take the points lead. “I was able to talk with him and we cleared the air,” Franchitti said after the second practice session for Sunday’s Detroit Indy Grand Prix. The same isn’t true for one of the men who signs his paycheck. Michael Andretti, one of three owners of Andretti Green Racing and Marco’s father, criticized Franchitti after last week’s race, saying the Scot should have been more patient. “I wasn’t very impressed with the reaction,” Franchitti said. “I’m sure we’ll talk about it later.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more