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Denny Hamlin stands in the garage area after taking the pole position for NASCAR's Auto Club 400 race in Fontana, Calif. Hamlin was injured in a crash in the last lap.
Friday, March 22, 2013
FONTANA, Calif. - It's clear with better performance comes higher expectations.
Because of that, the 2012 Sprint Cup Series season raised the bar for Toyota and Michael Waltrip Racing.
Both are finding out early this season that with the successes enjoyed in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series in 2012 come a lot of closer scrutiny, particularly when the perception is you haven't picked up where you left off.
For instance, Friday's qualifying prowess by Toyota teams raise the possibility the manufacturer's victory drought at Auto Club Speedway will come to an end this weekend.
Denny Hamlin, who drives the No. 11 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, won the pole for Sunday's Auto Club 400 with an average lap speed of 187.451 mph.
His fellow Toyota drivers won't be far behind.
Hamlin's JGR teammates Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth start fourth and fifth, respectively, while MWR's Martin Truex Jr. starts seventh, Mark Martin eighth and Bowyer 12th.
Bowyer had been fastest in Friday's practice session.
"It was fast. I told my crew I could pretty much guarantee the pole had we qualified (in the order) anywhere 20th or later," Hamlin said. "I knew our car was just ridiculous fast in qualifying trim.
"I love this race track. A lot of the reason is because it's bumpy and it's worn out, and we got tire fall off - like three seconds between the beginning of a run and the end of a run. That always makes for good racing."
Bowyer fights lawsuit in South Dakota
MITCHELL, S.D. - NASCAR driver Clint Bowyer has asked a South Dakota judge to dismiss a motorcycle company's lawsuit against him that alleges he didn't pay for $31,000 of custom work it did on his Harley-Davidson.
Klock Werks Kustom Cycles in Mitchell says it did the work on Bowyer's motorcycle about four years ago. The company is seeking the money plus 18 percent annual interest, along with attorney and court fees.
Bowyer, 33, who was the runner-up in NASCAR's top-tier Sprint Cup series in 2012, says he repaid the debt through promotional services, The Daily Republic reported.
He also says the court in South Dakota's Davison County has no jurisdiction over him because his agreement with Klock Werks was made in Arizona, the motorcycle was purchased in Minnesota and it was delivered to him in North Carolina.
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