Joe Gibbs Racing has been shut out of victory lane in the previous 22 races at the Auto Club Speedway of Southern California, but that streak could end in Sunday's Auto Club 400 - if Friday's qualifying is any indication.
Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch swept the front row in their Gibbs-prepared Toyota Camrys, Hamlin, who sat on the pole in October 2009 but crashed after a brain-fade on a mid-race restart, toured the 2-mile track in 36.626 seconds, more than two tenths of a second quicker than the .807 that Busch and Mark Martin (in another Toyota) ran. Busch beat Martin via the tie-breaker (owners points) to get the outside front row spot. Point leader Greg Biffle and Kasey Kahne likewise tied at a .812 and round out the top-five in the starting grid.
Ryan Newman was sixth, with defending race-winner Kevin Harvick seventh. Joey Logano was eighth in the third Joe Gibbs Racing entry, while Tony Stewart and Jimmie Johnson round out the top-10.
Three drivers missed the show, with Timmy Hill failing to make his fourth race in five attempts and Robby Gordon and Joe Nemechek also going home early. Nemechek, who won the pole for the inaugural event at Fontana in 1997 and has long been known for qualifying prowess, is a bit of a surprise.
Among the drivers making the show on time were Mike Bliss, in the inaugural appearance for Randy Humphries' self-owned effort, and Peachtree City's Reed Sorenson in Stacy Compton's No. 74 Chevrolet.
For the entire starting grid, visit Jayski.com.