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Saturday Nashville Cup Series Notebook – Motorsports Tribune

Saturday Nashville Cup Series Notebook – Motorsports Tribune

By David Morgan, Associate Editor

LEBANON, Tenn. – Denny Hamlin will lead the field to green in Sunday’s Ally 400 after scoring the pole in qualifying under the baking Tennessee sun on Saturday afternoon at Nashville Superspeedway.

The driver of the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota posted the fast time of 29.859 seconds, 160.354 mph to claim the top spot over hometown hero Josh Berry as he looks to be the first non-Chevrolet driver to win on the 1.33-mile concrete oval.

“Felt pretty good about it,” Hamlin said of his lap. “Seems like we’ve definitely fixed some of the things we weren’t very good with last year. Even during practice and during the race, we fell on a terminal issue with the car we just couldn’t get fixed.

“And it seems like that was an emphasis we worked on coming back here. All day today, that was the least of my problems. I definitely feel pretty good about it and certainly, we’re going to work on it overnight and I feel very confident we’ll be in contention tomorrow.”

A year ago at this track, Hamlin finished third after leading 81 laps on the day.

Christopher Bell will start third, followed by Kyle Larson, Brad Keselowski, Tyler Reddick, William Byron, Ty Gibbs, Chris Buescher, and Austin Cindric rounding out the top-10 starters.

Defending race winner Ross Chastain will roll off from 20th place.


Day race or night race? That is the question.

In the three races held at Nashville Superspeedway, one has been a day race, with another being pushed to night due to weather, and last year being run fully under the lights. Should the weather cooperate on Sunday, the Ally 400 will be held under the blazing hot sun of a Tennessee afternoon, with temperatures well north of 90 degrees expected.

With that in mind, the question beckons, which is the preferred time of day to hold this race?

“Whatever is going to bring the fans out,” said Brad Keselowski. “My intuition says that’s in the night, but I don’t have all the data and stuff that NASCAR has, so I hate to speak for them. Whatever brings the fans out, they’re the priority and we can race around that.

“If the fans want us to race at three in the morning, we should race at three in the morning.”

Denny Hamlin added that the heat will play a major factor on Sunday with fatigue in the cockpit setting in as the heat ramps up throughout the afternoon.

“The men and the boys will be separated tomorrow,”…

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