Hamlin won his 12th career pole, third this season, and, no surprise here, his first pole at Dover. He had never started better than third.
Hamlin praised crew chief Darian Grubb, who led Tony Stewart to the championship last year, for putting the No. 11 in position to take the pole.
"I think there's a lot of drivers out there that could be able to do what I do with the cars that Darian has been giving me the last few weeks," Hamlin said. "I'm going to give him pretty much all the credit and ride his back as long as it will hold me."
Nine other Chase for the Sprint Cup championship drivers filled the top 13. Clint Bowyer starts second and Martin Truex Jr. is third. Greg Biffle and Jeff Gordon start sixth and seventh. Kasey Kahne, Keselowski, Johnson, Matt Kenseth and Kevin Harvick are ninth through 13th. Stewart starts 24th and Dale Earnhardt Jr. is 25th for Sunday's 400-mile race.
"We didn't have a good car in practice and we didn't find any good speed or find any good balance," Earnhardt said. "It's going to be a tough day, I think. It's going to be a tough race for us. We are just going to have to work hard and see what happens."
Truex had a nice qualifying run on the site of his only career Cup victory. Truex, from nearby Mayetta, N.J., finished ninth and 17th in his first Chase races and is 10th in the standings, 34 points behind Johnson. He posted the fastest time in the first practice Friday and has the speed needed to race into contention for that long-awaited second win.
"We felt good about our car yesterday on long runs," Truex said. "We had good long run speed. That's what it takes here. We'll see if we can get it done tomorrow."
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