Denny Hamlin claims pole for NASCAR Cup Series race in Sonoma

SONOMA, Calif. -- Denny Hamlin claimed the pole for the NASCAR Cup Series race at Sonoma Raceway on Saturday, edging road course stalwart Tyler Reddick.

Hamlin earned the 38th pole of his career by turning a lap in 77.719 seconds in his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. Reddick will start up front alongside him Sunday after turning a lap in 77.812 seconds in his 23XI Racing Toyota.

Chase Elliott qualified in 10th in his return from a one-race suspension. NASCAR's Most Popular Driver missed last week's race for deliberately wrecking Hamlin in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Hamlin never won the pole in his first 16 career races at Sonoma. He also has never won on the winding, hilly track in wine country, although he finished second to Tony Stewart in 2016.

Reddick has won three of the past five road course races on the Cup schedule. The Northern California-born racer finished 19th and 35th in his two starts at Sonoma over the previous two seasons.

Michael McDowell qualified in third, earning his second top-10 start at Sonoma and his second top-10 start this season. Christopher Bell was fourth and AJ Allmendinger fifth.

Defending Sonoma champion Daniel Suárez qualified in ninth, right behind Martin Truex Jr. Ty Gibbs was the highest-qualifying rookie in sixth.

The race is the first of four road course contests in the next 10 races for the Cup Series.