NASCAR at Richmond 2017 Qualifying Results: Matt Kenseth Lands Pole Position

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistApril 28, 2017

RICHMOND, VA - APRIL 28:  Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Circle K Toyota, practices for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway on April 28, 2017 in Richmond, Virginia.  (Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images)
Sarah Crabill/Getty Images

Matt Kenseth will start on the pole at the Toyota Owners 400 after winning Friday's qualifying.

The No. 20 car posted a time of 22.300 seconds in the final round of the Coors Light qualifying at Richmond International Raceway. His top speed reached 121.076 miles per hour.

Ryan Blaney will join him on the front row after his second-place finish, with Martin Truex Jr. starting in third place. 

Here are the top qualifiers from Friday's action:

Coors Light Qualifying Results at Richmond
1Matt Kenseth2022.300
2Ryan Blaney2122.341
3Martin Truex Jr.7822.373
4Rick Stenhouse Jr.1722.412
5Joey Logano2222.429
6Kevin Harvick422.439
7Kyle Busch1822.468
8Clint Bowyer1422.473
9Kurt Busch4122.495
10Jamie McMurray122.558
11Daniel Suarez1922.672
12Dale Earnhardt Jr.8822.689
Eliminated After Round 2
13Ryan Newman3122.557
14Chase Elliott2422.562
15Brad Keselowski222.562
16Denny Hamlin1122.563
17Jimmie Johnson4822.568
18Kyle Larson4222.617
19Kasey Kahne522.646
20Erik Jones7722.699
21Danica Patrick1022.709
22AJ Allmendinger4722.758
23Chris Buescher3722.797
24Ty Dillon1323.072

Kenseth seemingly took it easy through the first two rounds, doing just what was necessary to advance. He was in eighth in the first round and sixth in the second, but then he turned it on when he needed to earn his first pole of the year.

It took just four laps in three rounds to secure the pole.

Fox Sports captured the winning performance:


Watch: @MattKenseth claims the pole for Sunday's #ToyotaOwners400 at @RIRInsider. #NASCARonFS1 @JoeGibbsRacing https://t.co/FzZxUzP7xX

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Blaney should also be proud of his consistency to end up in second place once again. Per Nick DeGroot of Motorsport.com, it's the third time he will start on the front row this year.

Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick were the best in the first round of qualifying, which featured little drama, as noted by Jeff Gluck:

Jeff Gluck @jeff_gluck

Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick tied for the fastest lap in Round 1 of quals; no big names missed the cut.

There were some bigger names who missed out on advancing in the second round.

Brad Keselowski ended up in 15th place, while points leader Kyle Larson will start in 18th after a relatively disappointing showing.

Jimmie Johnson hasn't excelled in qualifying and ended up in 17th place, although he didn't seem to mind afterward, via Team Lowe's Racing:

Team Lowe's Racing @LowesRacing

After Rd. 2, @JimmieJohnson says the car was just different on scuffs than stickers. "Let's line them up and race and I'll be just fine."

He has won two races already this season, including last week's Food City 500, which means fans shouldn't worry too much about the veteran driver.

A few notable names fell behind in the final round after seemingly accepting their fates.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. ended up in 12th place with a lap that was slower than he provided earlier in the night. Kyle Busch, who has had a lot of success at Richmond in the past, ended up in seventh place.

Meanwhile, Logano fell to fifth place after sitting in first after each of the first two rounds.

These top competitors will try to use their qualifying to launch them toward success in Sunday's race. The Toyota Owners 400 is set for 2 p.m. ET with each driver hoping to move up the standings to catch Larson.

With last year's champion, Carl Edwards, no longer competing, this is really anybody's race.

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