Updated: August 30, 2012 6:33AM
INDIANAPOLIS — It’s called the Brickyard 400, but for Denny Hamlin, it might as well be his Daytona 500.
Hamlin’s qualifying lap speed of 182.763 mph earned him the pole for the Brickyard 400 on Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“This is very, very high up on my list of tracks where I want to win,” Hamlin said. “I consider it as high as the Daytona 500, personally.”
It’s Hamlin’s first pole at IMS, and he will start on the first row with Carl Edwards. Joey Logano will start third, Aric Almirola fourth, Greg Biffle fifth and Jimmie Johnson sixth to round out the first three rows.
Hamlin didn’t have much time to savor his pole-qualifying lap. He rushed from a news conference to driver introductions for the inaugural Nationwide Series Indiana 250.
Edwards’ crew chief, Bob Osborne, abruptly stepped down because of health issues after the race July 15 in Loudon, N.H., and was replaced by Chad Norris. Osborne is staying with Roush-Fenway Racing but is moving to a senior-management position.
Edwards wouldn’t elaborate on Osborne’s health but confirmed that Osborne isn’t at the track this weekend.
“Bob had told us he had some issues he was working on, but we didn’t know the extent of it,” Edwards said. “He won’t exactly tell me all the details of what is going on, and it is his issue. As far as I know, he is going to be fine.
“Somebody asked me, ‘What’s it like working with Chad?’ I don’t know. I don’t even know him.”