Rain, practice speed puts Kevin Harvick on Richmond pole
Kevin Harvick in the garage at Richmond International Raceway on April 22, 2016 (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR).
By AMANDA VINCENT
Rain and severe weather at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway on Friday forced the cancellation of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying on Friday. As a result, the starting grid for Sunday’s Toyota Owners 400 was set based on lap times from an abbreviated practice session held Friday morning before rain hit the race track.
Before the stoppage of on-track activity, Kevin Harvick posted a fast lap of 20.919 seconds/129.069 mph, the fastest of the practice session; therefore, Harvick will start Sunday’s race from the pole. He’ll share the front row with Joey Logano.
“We had decided to come into the weekend and approach qualifying a little bit different just for the way that the race tracks have been and the timing of our practices and things,” Harvick said. “So, we decided to go an try to take advantage of being the first car on the race track, which is usually a pretty big advantage here when the track is green and doesn’t have a lot of rubber on it. And so, it worked out today.”
Also starting in the top-10 will be Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski, Kurt Busch, Kasey Kahne, Kyle Busch and A.J. Allmendinger.
Worth noting — Tony Stewart will line up in row nine Sunday, starting from the 18th position for his first race of his final season as a Sprint Cup Series driver.
Forty-one drivers were on the entry list for the Toyota Owners 400, one more driver than what is needed for a full race field. As a result, Cole Whitt was left on the outside looking in as the one driver not receiving a starting spot for Sunday’s race.
Here is the complete starting grid for the Toyota Owners 400:
Row 1 — Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Chevrolet), Joey Logano (No. 22 Ford)
Row 2 — Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Chevrolet), Carl Edwards (No. 19 Toyota)
Row 3 — Denny Hamlin (No. 11 Toyota), Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Ford)
Row 4 — Kurt Busch (No. 41 Chevrolet), Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Chevrolet)
Row 5 — Kyle Busch (No. 18 Toyota), A.J. Allmendinger (No. 47 Chevrolet)
Row 6 — Austin Dillon (No. 3 Chevrolet), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (No. 17 Ford)
Row 7 — Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Toyota), Ryan Newman (No. 31 Chevrolet)
Row 8 — Kyle Larson (No. 42 Chevrolet), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 88 Chevrolet)
Row 9 — Trevor Bayne (No. 6 Ford), Tony Stewart (No. 14 Chevrolet)
Row 10 — Greg Biffle (No. 16 Ford), Brian Scott (No. 44 Ford)
Row 11 — Danica Patrick (No. 10 Chevrolet), Martin Truex Jr. (No. 78 Toyota)
Row 12 — Chase Elliott (No. 24 Chevrolet), Aric Almirola (No. 43 Ford)
Row 13 — Casey Mears (No. 13 Chevrolet), Paul Menard (No. 27 Chevrolet)
Row 14 — Jamie McMurray (No. 1 Chevrolet), Landon Cassill (No. 38 Ford)
Row 15 — Ryan Blaney (No. 21 Ford), David Ragan (No. 23 Toyota)
Row 16 — Josh Wise (No. 30 Chevrolet), Michael McDowell (No. 95 Chevrolet)
Row 17 — Chris Buescher (No. 34 Ford), Regan Smith (No. 7 Chevrolet)
Row 18 — Reed Sorenson (No. 55 Chevrolet), Matt DiBenedetto (No. 83 Toyota)
Row 19 — Ryan Ellis (No. 93 Toyota), Jeffrey Earnhardt (No. 32 Ford)
Row 20 — Clint Bowyer (No. 15 Chevrolet), Michael Annett (No. 46 Chevrolet)