Kyle Larson broke the 117-mph barrier in NASCAR Cup Series qualifying Saturday night to score the pole at Richmond Raceway.
One of the last drivers to get on track, Larson bumped Ross Chastain from the top spot with a lap of 117.177mph (23.042s). The reigning Cup Series champion was the only driver to hit that mark.
“Even though I got into [Turn] 1 too hard and a little bit sideways, I am imagining that is where I made up my time,” Larson said. “Just getting in really deep, and I think getting it under control before I got to the exit is probably where I made up the lap time. I don’t know, though. It could be [Turns] 3 and 4. Who knows. I felt like I got in deep — too deep for sure — but it worked out.”
The pole is Larson’s first at Richmond Raceway in 16 starts and third of the season.
Chastain will start second after a lap of 116.883mph. Denny Hamlin (116.485mph) starts third, and William Byron (116.470mph) starts fourth. Alex Bowman (116.384mph) completed the top five.
Martin Truex Jr., the defending race winner, qualified sixth fastest. His best lap was 116.204mph. Cole Custer was seventh at 116.139mph.
Brad Keselowski (116.104mph) was eighth, Erik Jones (116.064mph) ninth, and Ryan Blaney 10th (115.785mph).
Ty Gibbs qualified 14th for 23XI Racing as he again fills in for Kurt Busch. Gibbs ran a lap of 116.792mph.
Championship points leader Chase Elliott qualified 23rd. Elliott’s lap was 115.850mph.
UP NEXT: Federated Auto Parts 400 at 3 p.m. ET Sunday.