The Team Penske streak of front row starts is gone. Joe Gibbs Racing's lives on.
The JGR cars of Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin qualified on the front row for Sunday's STP 500 at Martinsville. Before Friday's session, Penske cars had started on the front row in four straight Sprint Cup races. Now, after Friday, the JGR streak is at three after Matt Kenseth had the pole at Auto Club and Hamlin, angry and confident Friday, started first at Bristol.
Kenseth, the slowpoke of the Gibbs bunch on Friday, qualified a lowly sixth.
That Penske streak didn't miss by much, however. Joey Logano was third 0.023 seconds behind Hamlin for first. Kyle Busch ran a lap of 18.998 seconds for the pole in the final session of qualifying after Hamlin had initially set a track record in the first session.
Jimmie Johnson starts fourth and Jeff Gordon starts fifth.
Danica Patrick starts 10th, her highest start at a non-restrictor plate track. Her previous highest start outside of Daytona and Talladega had been 21st at New Hampshire and Atlanta. It also shouldn't be viewed as too much of a surprise. The half-mile paperclip has become one of Patrick's better tracks as she finished 12th and 17th in the two races there in 2013.
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