Chase Elliott, Erik Jones, Daniel Suarez and Jimmie Johnson, who all initially qualified in the top 10 for Saturday night’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Richmond Raceway, will start from the rear after their respective cars failed pre-race inspection Saturday.
Jones had earned his first front-row starting position of the season in Friday night’s Busch Pole Qualifying with a best lap of 124.081 mph around the .75-mile short track, good for second behind Kevin Harvick. Elliott was slated to start seventh after a speed of 123.153 mph.
Suarez was close behind Elliott at 122.610 mph, good for ninth on the board, and Johnson had initially qualified 10th at 122.166 mph.
Those times all were disallowed after the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet (of Elliott), No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet (of Johnson), No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota (of Jones) and No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford (of Suarez) failed pre-race inspection Saturday afternoon ahead of the series’ ninth race of the season (7:30 p.m. ET, FOX).
Additional failures outside of the top 10 are: the No. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford of Aric Almirola (had qualified 15th), the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota of Denny Hamlin (had qualified 18th), the No. 36 Front Row Motorsports Ford of Matt Tifft (had qualified 20th) and the No. 66 Motorsports Business Toyota of Joey Gase (had qualified 36th).
The No. 9 of Elliott, No. 11 of Hamlin and No. 36 of Tifft all failed a second time, meaning each team will have a crew member ejected. All cars that fail must go through inspection again, with additional penalties on the line should the cars fail multiple instances.
Richmond is an enhanced at-track weekend, meaning that all Monster Energy Series cars were impounded Friday after qualifying, then put through inspection once the garage opened Saturday. A single failure during an enhanced weekend results in the qualifying time being disallowed, putting those cars at the rear of the field.
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Kevin Harvick’s No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford passed inspection, and he officially is the Busch Pole Award winner.