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In want of a playoff spot subsequent week and a spot to drive subsequent 12 months, Matt Kenseth stormed to the pole place for Saturday evening’s Federated Auto elements 400 at Richmond Raceway (7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN).

Kenseth coated the .75-mile distance in 22.055 seconds (122.421 mph) within the ultimate spherical of Friday’s knockout qualifying session to edge Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin (122.277 mph) for the highest beginning spot by .026 seconds.

The Coors Mild Pole Award was Kenseth’s second of the season – each coming at Richmond – his third on the “D”-shaped quick observe and 20th of his profession.

Winless within the Monster Power NASCAR Cup Sequence thus far this season, Kenseth is one in all three drivers who can safe a berth within the postseason on factors.

Kenseth will exit his journey at JGR on the finish of the season and to this point has not introduced plans for subsequent 12 months. However Friday’s pole run was an emphatic assertion that the 45-year-old continues to be fast.

“The third spherical, it didn’t really feel pretty much as good, however fortunately it was quick sufficient,” mentioned Kenseth, who’s driving the No. 20 Hurricane Harvey Reduction Toyota within the ultimate regular-season race. “We missed the stability just a little bit there, nevertheless it was quick sufficient to get the pole…

“I’m hoping for the most effective. I believed we had been at our greatest this morning (in observe) when the observe was the good and the cleanest. Because it received hotter, we ran worse. So I suppose that provides me hope that we’ll have velocity tomorrow evening.”

Hamlin’s ultimate lap produced a greater consequence than the driving force anticipated when he ran it.

“I believed it will be just a little worse than it ended up,” mentioned Hamlin, final week’s winner at Darlington raceway. “I didn’t drive the laps pretty much as good as I in all probability may have and doubtless gotten the pole. Both approach, a very good run. We improved each spherical.

“And, clearly, we’re hoping for lengthy green-flag runs. That’s sometimes the place I excel at this race observe. All in all, a fairly good day.”

Kurt Busch certified third, adopted by Kyle Larson, Martin Truex Jr., Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch. All three drivers, together with Kenseth, who could make the playoff of factors superior to the ultimate spherical on Friday. Chase Elliott will begin ninth and Jamie McMurray 11th.

Two drivers who should win on Saturday to say a playoff spot additionally cracked the highest 12. Regardless of lacking the primary hour of Friday’s ultimate observe due to pre-qualifying and pre-race inspection failures final week at Darlington, Erik Jones certified 10th.

Joey Logano, whose April 30 win at Richmond was encumbered by penalty, grabbed the 12th spot on the grid.

“We simply had an excessive amount of fall-off,” mentioned Logano, who was third quickest within the first spherical. “The primary run was virtually the quickest automobile, inside a pair hundredths (of a second), after which the following run we had been a tenth-and-a-half off, after which subsequent run three-tenths off.

“An excessive amount of fall off from run to run. I don’t know that I fully perceive why, however that’s the place we are going to begin, so it doesn’t a lot matter now.”

Nonetheless, Logano isn’t discounting his possibilities to barge into the playoff with a victory.

“I’m cautiously optimistic,” he mentioned. “I believe we’re OK. Our long-run velocity seemed to be OK. I don’t assume we’re lights-out quick, however I believe we’re shut sufficient that we will definitely make it attention-grabbing on everybody.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. certified 21st for his ultimate begin at Richmond within the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.

The pole was the 20th of Kenseth’s Cup profession, and his third at Richmond. Picture by Getty Photos for NASCAR

Monster Power NASCAR Cup Sequence Qualifying Outcomes Federated Auto Components 400

Richmond Raceway

Richmond, Virginia

Friday, September eight, 2017

1. (20) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 122.421 mph.

2. (11) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 122.277 mph.

three. (41) Kurt Busch, Ford, 122.266 mph.

four. (42) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 122.006 mph.

5. (78) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 121.984 mph.

6. (four) Kevin Harvick, Ford, 121.737 mph.

7. (18) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 121.529 mph.

eight. (17) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 121.507 mph.

9. (24) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 121.474 mph.

10. (77) Erik Jones #, Toyota, 121.343 mph.

11. (1) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 121.125 mph.

12. (22) Joey Logano, Ford, 120.941 mph.

13. (14) Clint Bowyer, Ford, 121.874 mph.

14. (21) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 121.775 mph.

15. (2) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 121.726 mph.

16. (19) Daniel Suarez #, Toyota, 121.726 mph.

17. (5) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 121.572 mph.

18. (6) Trevor Bayne, Ford, 121.556 mph.

19. (10) Danica Patrick, Ford, 121.201 mph.

20. (48) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 121.147 mph.

21. (88) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 121.065 mph.

22. (47) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 120.795 mph.

23. (43) Aric Almirola, Ford, 120.407 mph.

24. (37) Chris Buescher, Chevrolet, 120.187 mph.

25. (32) Matt DiBenedetto, Ford, 121.655 mph.

26. (27) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 121.616 mph.

27. (31) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 121.600 mph.

28. (95) Michael McDowell, Chevrolet, 121.392 mph.

29. (38) David Ragan, Ford, 121.392 mph.

30. (34) Landon Cassill, Ford, 121.359 mph.

31. (three) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 121.261 mph.

32. (13) Ty Dillon #, Chevrolet, 121.109 mph.

33. (83) Corey LaJoie #, Toyota, 120.735 mph.

34. (23) Grey Gaulding #, Toyota, 120.182 mph.

35. (72) Cole Whitt, Chevrolet, 120.171 mph.

36. (55) Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, 120.123 mph.

37. (33) Jeffrey Earnhardt, Chevrolet, 119.713 mph.

38. (15) Derrike Cope, Chevrolet, 118.162 mph.

39. (51) BJ McLeod(i), Chevrolet, 116.934 mph.

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