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, won the pole for tonight’s Toyota Owner’s 400 with a track-record lap of 130.334 mph Friday at Richmond (Va.) 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 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.”
Keselowski rallies in Nationwide race
Brad Keselowski ducked underneath Kyle Busch to take the lead with 10 laps to go and won the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Richmond International Raceway.
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 duel among some of NASCAR’s most aggressive and daring drivers.
Patrick to Gilliland: Stick to racing
David Gilliland thinks Danica Patrick should “shut up and race.” Patrick wants Gilliland to race her the same way he races other drivers.
Patrick vented over her in-car radio Sunday at Kansas about the way Gilliland was racing her, which led to Gilliland’s sharp post-race reply. On Friday, Patrick wasn’t backing down from her belief Gilliland races her differently than others.
“I watched him move over and let someone by, so no, I don’t think he does and that’s what makes me mad,” Patrick said at Richmond International Raceway.
She then added Gilliland is “getting more attention for this than he deserves.”