RICHMOND, Va. — Matt Kenseth didn’t wait long to get his pole award back.
The Joe Gibbs Racing driver stripped of his pole award from last week at Kansas in a raft of penalties levied by NASCAR this week, set a track record with a lap at 130.334 mph Friday at Richmond International Raceway.
Kenseth edged JGR teammate Brian Vickers by 0.005 seconds to claim only the 10th top starting position of his career in 481 starts. Vickers, who held the previous qualifying record at 129.983, is filling in for injured JGR driver Denny Hamlin.
In what has been a hard week for the JGR stable because of the hammer-like quality of the penalties imposed by NASCAR, the results were welcome news. Kyle Busch, the third driver for the team, qualified eighth.
“When you only win nine poles in 14 years, you’re pretty darned fired up for all of them,” Kenseth said. “For sure, that was one of our goals for this weekend was to come here, sit on the pole and kind of quiet down at least part of the noise.”
NATIONWIDE SERIES: In Richmond, Va., Brad Keselowski ducked underneath Kyle Busch to take the lead with 10 laps to go and win the ToyotaCare 250.
Keselowski had to hold off a final charge from Kevin Harvick, but after Harvick closed within a few car lengths, Keselowski kept him at bay and slightly expanded his margin in the final laps to win the three-way dual among some of NASCAR’s most aggressive drivers.
The victory was the 21st of Keselowski’s career in the series and second on the 0.75-mile oval.
Harvick was followed across the finish line by Busch, whose streak of three consecutive victories in the series came to an end, and Brian Vickers and Regan Smith.