Three weeks ago Denny Hamlin got on NASCAR's bad side for complaining about the sport's new Gen-6 race car.
On Friday, Hamlin won the pole position for Sunday's Sprint Cup Series race at the two-mile Auto Club Speedway in Fontana.
Hamlin turned a lap of 187.451 mph in his No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota to earn the first starting spot in Sunday's Auto Club 400.
"I knew my lap was really good," Hamlin said. "Our car was just exceptional."
Greg Biffle qualified second, reigning Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski was third, and Hamlin teammate Kyle Busch was fourth.
But because Biffle and Keselowski both had their Ford engines changed before qualifying, they'll have to start at the rear of the 43-car field when the race begins.