Kevin Harvick will start from the pole in the Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond Raceway, giving his Stewart-Haas Racing group a pick-me-up after wrecking out of the playoff opener last weekend.
The quick lap for Harvick was 121.880mph, earning him his third pole of the season and his second at Richmond, where he has three career wins. It is also the 24th pole of his career.
“We didn’t do any qualifying runs,” Harvick said of the two practice sessions run on Friday. “Our Jimmy John’s Ford, we ended our last race run [and] I was really happy with the car. Didn’t know what we had for qualifying, but just a huge credit to the race team for putting a qualifying setup underneath it, and obviously, Aric [Almirola] came here and tested, and kind of had a baseline for where we needed to shoot for for targets and things like that.”
Virginia native Denny Hamlin will join Harvick on the front row. Hamlin’s best lap was 121.847mph.
Martin Truex Jr. will start third following a lap of 121.529mph. Completing the top five were Ryan Blaney at 121.397mph and Daniel Suarez at 121.381mph.
Stewart-Haas Racing teammates Kurt Busch (121.256mph) and Almirola (120.968mph) will start sixth and seventh. Brad Keselowski, who will go for his fourth straight win Saturday night, will start eighth after a lap of 120.849mph.
Erik Jones qualified ninth at 120.849mph, and Kyle Larson will start 10th at 120.822mph. Larson is the defending race winner.
Cole Custer earned a career-best qualifying effort in 11th after running 120.751mph. Richmond will be Custer’s third career Cup Series start with Rick Ware Racing.
And the last driver to make the final round of qualifying, playoff driver Kyle Busch, will start 12th.
Four playoff drivers failed to advance to the final round of qualifying: Joey Logano will start 13th, Alex Bowman 14th, and two other Hendrick Motorsports drivers, Chase Elliott and Jimmie Johnson, will start 19th and 22nd, respectively.
The lowest-qualifying playoff drivers were Clint Bowyer in the 25th position and Austin Dillon in the 28th position. Neither driver made it out of the first round of qualifying.
UP NEXT: Federated Auto Parts 400 at 7:30 p.m. ET Saturday.