Brad Keselowski once went 68 races between Busch Pole Awards. He’s now won three in the last nine Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races. On Friday, Keselowski circled the Richmond (VA) Raceway with a top speed of 127.185 mph in his No. 2 Ford to earn his 17th pole of his career and first on the .75-mile short track since 2014.
In fact, that pole in 2014 led to a race win too.
Keselowski, was the 36th of 38 qualifiers on Friday evening and it paid dividends for his sixth top three starting spot in the last 11 Cup races. The speed though somewhat shocked Keselowski as he said that they didn’t do a mock qualifying run in either of the two practice sessions early on in the day either.
He bested Kevin Harvick who turned in a speed of 126.559 mph in his No. 4 Ford. It was Harvick’s fourth top three starting spot in the last six races.
Chase Elliott will start third in his No. 9 Chevrolet. The Hendrick Motorsports driver qualified with a time of 126.194 mph en route to his first top five starting spot since his pole at Watkins Glen.
Kyle Busch (126.103 mph) and Clint Bowyer (126.068 mph) rounded out the top five.
Playoff drivers grabbed the top nine starting spots with Denny Hamlin, Aric Almirola, Martin Truex Jr. and Kurt Busch starting sixth through ninth on Saturday night.
Jimmie Johnson was the top non playoff driver as he qualified 10th in his No. 48 Chevrolet.
Federated Auto Parts 400 Starting Lineup
Row 1: Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick
Row 2: Chase Elliott, Kyle Busch
Row 3: Clint Bowyer, Denny Hamlin
Row 4: Aric Almirola, Martin Truex Jr.
Row 5: Kurt Busch, Jimmie Johnson
Row 6: Michael McDowell, Matt DiBenedetto
Row 7: Kyle Larson, Daniel Suarez
Row 8: Ryan Blaney, Erik Jones
Row 9: Austin Dillon, Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Row 10: Ryan Newman, Alex Bowman
Row 11: Ryan Preece R, Daniel Hemric R
Row 12: Chris Buescher, Paul Menard
Row 13: William Byron, Matt Tifft R
Row 14: David Ragan, Joey Logano
Row 15: Corey LaJoie, Bubba Wallace
Row 16: Ty Dillon, Ross Chastain
Row 17: JJ Yeley, Austin Theriault
Row 18: Reed Sorenson, Landon Cassill
Row 19: Spencer Boyd, Quin Houff