Richmond Qualifying Washed Out

Kyle Larson

The field was set based on speeds in the first practice session Friday. (Photo: Getty Images)

RICHMOND, Va. - Rain forced NASCAR to cancel qualifying for Saturday’s Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway, putting Kyle Larson on the pole.

The field was set based on speeds in the first practice session Friday.

Because qualifying was not held, Larson does not earn entry into the Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway next season. That is only awarded to those who win the pole in a qualifying session.

Larson said he wasn’t sure if he would count this as his first career pole but admitted he was glad he was starting at the front of the field.

Larson will be joined on the front row by Brad Keselowski. Clint Bowyer starts third with Kasey Kahne a season-best fourth. Kevin Harvick starts fifth. He’ll be followed by Brian Vickers, Jamie McMurray, Ryan Truex, Paul Menard and Jimmie Johnson. This is a career-best starting spot for Truex, who had failed to make two races earlier this season.

Among those starting deeper in the field are: Tony Stewart (20th), Jeff Gordon (25th) and Denny Hamlin (28th).

Michael McDowell and Dave Blaney did not make the race.

Larson said he was glad he talked crew chief Chris Heroy into going with a qualifying setup to start the first practice session.

“We came here and tested last year for Goodyear and had a good baseline and was pretty confident with our qualfying trim without getting used to the car yet,’’ Larson said. “Then we switched over to race trim and we were good in that, so excited about that.’’

Larson is just glad to be back racing after the weekend off.

“I hated the break, gosh,’’ Larson said. “You’re so used to flying out on Thursdays to go to the racetrack. It felt like forever just to get to Thursday last week and then had to wait a whole other week to get to this one.

“I was going to go to Devil’s Bowl (Speedway) to watch the (World of) Outlaws race if our team was going to go there and run but didn’t have the tool cart ready, so we didn’t go there,’’ he said. “Their first night is tonight ... at Williams Grove if it doesn’t rain. That break was really long. I wish we didn’t have any breaks. I wish there wasn’t an offseason either.’’

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