CONCORD, N.C. — Denny Hamlin is in a hurry. He's driving like that, too.
Hamlin — scrambling to make the Sprint Cup Chase after missing four races with a compression fracture in his back — set a track record at Charlotte Motor Speedway Thursday night with a lap of 195.624 mph.
That puts him on the pole for the Coca-Cola 600 Sunday evening.
"Normally I wouldn't commit myself to running a lap like that," Hamlin said. "I feel it's too dangerous … but we have a mission ahead and that's to try to make the Chase. And the best way to do that is to win races. And to win races you have to have every advantage you can, one of them being the No. 1 pit stall.
"I committed to running the best lap I could, pushing every envelope."
Hamlin was the fastest man on a wild night when eight drivers broke the previous record of 193.708 set last October by Greg Biffle.
Kurt Busch (195.221 mph) was second, followed by Matt Kenseth, Hamlin's teammate with Joe Gibbs Racing. Kenseth ran a 195.094 mph lap.
Busch admitted missing his marks on Turns 3 and 4, hoping that his mistakes wouldn't cost him. Hamlin proved him wrong.
"This is nothing to be disappointed about," Busch said. "I'm pumped up .I think the race will come to us."
Seven track qualifying records already have been set this season, a product of NASCAR's Gen 6 model car.