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NASCAR Cup: Brad Keselowski wins pole at Richmond

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA – SEPTEMBER 20: Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Discount Tire Ford, drives his car during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond Raceway on September 20, 2019 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

By AMANDA VINCENT

Brad Keselowski made a lap around Richmond (Va.) Raceway on Friday in 21.229 seconds for an average lap speed of 127.185 mph to claim the pole for Saturday night’s Fedrated Auto Parts 400. His pole didn’t become official until Saturday afternoon, upon completion of post-qualifying/pre-race inspection. It’s Keselowski’s third Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series pole of the season and the second of his career at Richmond.

“Richmond is one of those tracks that, practice, the track has so much different grip than it does in qualifying,” Keselowski said. “I’m not sure it’s a great indicator to do those things and maybe even fall behind doing that, because you adjust to conditions that aren’t realistic when qualifying does come. Regardless of that, we had an amazing lap. The car drove very, very well, and we’ve had exceptional short-run speed here the last few times and again this weekend, but then, the races seem to be playing out with long runs, so if we can just hold on with the short-run speed we have on the long runs, we’ll be in good shape for this weekend.”

Ford swept the front row of the starting grid, as Kevin Harvick was second in qualifying, even though he was more than half of a second slower than Keselowski.

“It’s really just about protecting yourself at this point, and starting in the front of the field sets you up good to score some points in stage one and get a good pit stall selection,” Harvick said. “It gets everything going, and it’s really survive and advance, and the more points that you can gather, the better off that you’re gonna be. If we can put ourselves in a good position to get through the weekend and make the Roval a lot different to race, just because of the fact that you know where you stand, hopefully, you can put yourself in a position where you know where you stand when you leave here.”

Playoff drivers made up the top-nine in qualifying speeds on Friday, with Chase Elliott and Kyle Busch claiming second-row spots on the starting grid. The fastest non-playoff driver was Jimmie Johnson in 10th.

Reigning Cup Series champion and Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano posted the slowest qualifying lap among playoff drivers in 28th.

Toyotas were the class of qualifying early. When Martin Truex Jr. went out eighth out 38 qualifiers, he claimed the provisional pole, and Matt DiBenedetto and Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Erik Jones were second and third to him for a Toyota top-three. That trio were separated somewhat by the time Busch went out 19th and took the provisional pole.

Elliott and Harvick also spent brief moments atop the scoring pylon late in the session before Keselowski was the third to last driver to make his qualifying attempt.

By the end of the qualifying session, Truex dropped to eighth, DiBenedetto 12th and Jones 16th.

Below, is the provisional starting grid for Saturday’s Federated Auto Pars 400 at Richmond Raceway:

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Posted by on September 21, 2019. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,Monster Energy NASCAR Cup,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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