Hamlin went 202.794 mph in Friday’s session to win a pole for the second consecutive week. The Joe Gibbs Racing veteran is winless this season, while teammate Busch has six victories and Erik Jones has one.
His No. 11 team has clearly hit on something these past two weeks, and Hamlin, a two-time Michigan winner, was fastest in all three rounds of qualifying and Friday’s first practice. But he’s still in search of a victory and wants to continue his streak of at least one win a year every season since his 2006 rookie campaign.
“It is a very important streak; I think about it,” said Hamlin, who thought the run was over in 2013, when he broke his back and missed a month, then didn’t win until the season finale.
“You look back at the really great drivers of NASCAR, and they had long streaks, 10 years and above, of winning in a row, and you want to keep that going for sure. It’s important.”
Busch made it an all-Toyota front row for Sunday’s race with a lap at 202.731 mph. Harvick, in a Ford for Stewart-Haas Racing, went 202.100. Harvick and Busch are tied for most Cup Series victories, while Martin Truex Jr., the final member of the so-called “Big Three,” has four wins this year. He qualified seventh in his Toyota for Furniture Row Racing.
Jones qualified fourth to give JGR three of its four drivers in the front two rows. Daniel Suarez, who like Hamlin is winless this season, did not record a qualifying speed because he scraped the outside retaining wall early in the first round.
Austin Dillon and Ryan Newman, in Chevrolets for Richard Childress Racing, were fifth and sixth. Team Penske teammates Ryan Blaney and Joey Logano in a pair of Fords and Alex Bowman in a Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet rounded out the top 10.
Clint Bowyer, winner of the first stop of this season at Michigan, qualified 16th for Stewart-Haas Racing.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.