Richmond qualifying rained out, Larson awarded pole


The Sports Network

Richmond, VA ( - A severe thunderstorm rolled through Richmond International Raceway on Friday afternoon, forcing NASCAR to call off qualifying for the Toyota Owners 400.

Qualifying for Saturday night's 400-lap Sprint Cup Series race was scheduled for 5:10 p.m. ET. The Nationwide Series had just wrapped up qualifying for its 250-lap event on Friday night before heavy rain fell on this three-quarter- mile racetrack.

Rookie Kyle Larson earned the pole for the Sprint Cup race since he had the fastest lap overall in the practice sessions held earlier in the day. Teams practiced for two hours during the morning and then one hour in the early afternoon. Larson's best lap was clocked at 126.880 mph during the morning session.

"It's nice starting off from the pole," Larson said. "I don't know if I will count it as my first career pole, but it's still pretty cool to start on the front row."

Brad Keselowski will start alongside Larson on the front row. Clint Bowyer will roll off third, followed by Kasey Kahne, Kevin Harvick, who won the most recent race two weeks ago at Darlington, and Brian Vickers. Harvick also won last year's spring race at Richmond.

Starting seventh through 10th will be: Jamie McMurray, Ryan Truex, who is also a rookie this season, Paul Menard and Jimmie Johnson, the six-time and defending Sprint Cup champion.

Michael McDowell and Dave Blaney did not make the 43-car starting field.

Brian Scott won the pole for the Nationwide race. Scott turned a lap at 122.061 mph for his third career pole in the series, including his second at Richmond. Last September at this track, he started up front and led a career- high 239 laps in a dominating performance before finishing second.

Rookie Dylan Kwasniewski qualified second, followed by Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott, who is also a rookie in the series this year, and Trevor Bayne. Elliott has won the last two Nationwide races and is the current points leader.

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