Keselowski Garners Provisional Pole At Richmond

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Keselowski Garners Provisional
Brad Keselowski in action Friday at Richmond Raceway. (HHP/Harold Hinson photo)

RICHMOND, Va. – Brad Keselowski snapped Kevin Harvick’s qualifying streak at Richmond Raceway on Friday evening ahead of the Federated Auto Parts 400.

Keselowski garnered the provisional pole at the three-quarter-mile oval with a lap of 21.229 seconds (127.185 mph) in the No. 2 Discount Tire Ford Mustang.

The Michigan native and Team Penske driver was more than a tenth of a second faster than Kevin Harvick, who was seeking his third straight Richmond pole and led much of the session but ended up second (21.334/126.559) in the final rundown.

“I didn’t know what to expect,” Keselowski admitted. “We didn’t do a qualifying run in practice, but we’ve had phenomenal short run speed here with our Discount Tire Ford the last two or three years here and haven’t necessarily qualified all that well. But when the race comes, we get the short runs and we can really make some steam … and it showed that here in qualifying.

“I hope we have the long run speed (on Saturday), because I think there are going to be a lot of long runs for the race, but certainly qualifying up front and getting the first pit stall (and) those things to go with it is really great for our chances tomorrow,” he added. “It’s really exciting to get our third pole this year. We went all last year without a pole and this year we’ve got three. I’m proud of my team for that.”

Friday’s qualifying results will be finalized following pre-race inspection on Saturday afternoon.

Behind Keselowski and Harvick, Chase Elliott was the fastest Chevrolet driver in third, followed by the Toyota of Kyle Busch, which will line up fourth. Busch has won two of the last three Richmond Cup races.

Clint Bowyer completed the top five, ahead of Denny Hamlin, Aric Almirola, Martin Truex Jr. and Kurt Busch. Playoff drivers will occupy the first nine positions when the green flag drops Saturday night.

Jimmie Johnson was the top non-playoff driver in qualifying, and will start 10th.

Defending series champion Joey Logano was the lowest of the 16 playoff drivers on speed Friday. He’ll roll off a distant 28th in Saturday’s 400-lap, 300-mile event.

The Federated Auto Parts 400 goes green Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. ET, with live coverage on NBCSN, the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.

QUALIFYING RESULTS: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series; Richmond Raceway; Sept. 20, 2019

  1. #2 – Brad Keselowski
  2. #4 – Kevin Harvick
  3. #9 – Chase Elliott
  4. #18 – Kyle Busch
  5. #14 – Clint Bowyer
  6. #11 – Denny Hamlin
  7. #10 – Aric Almirola
  8. #19 – Martin Truex Jr.
  9. #1 – Kurt Busch
  10. #48 – Jimmie Johnson
  11. #34 – Michael McDowell
  12. #95 – Matt DiBenedetto
  13. #42 – Kyle Larson
  14. #41 – Daniel Suarez
  15. #12 – Ryan Blaney
  16. #20 – Erik Jones
  17. #3 – Austin Dillon
  18. #17 – Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  19. #6 – Ryan Newman
  20. #88 – Alex Bowman
  21. #47 – Ryan Preece
  22. #8 – Daniel Hemric
  23. #37 – Chris Buescher
  24. #21 – Paul Menard
  25. #24 – William Byron
  26. #36 – Matt Tifft
  27. #38 – David Ragan
  28. #22 – Joey Logano
  29. #32 – Corey LaJoie
  30. #43 – Bubba Wallace
  31. #13 – Ty Dillon
  32. #15 – Ross Chastain
  33. #52 – J.J. Yeley
  34. #51 – Austin Theriault
  35. #77 – Reed Sorenson
  36. #00 – Landon Cassill
  37. #53 – Spencer Boyd
  38. #27 – Quin Houff