NASCAR Starting Lineup for Saturday's Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway

Brad Keselowski leads another Ford sweep of the front row

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series heads back east to Virginia this weekend with its postseason chase for the championship at full speed. The Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond Raceway is the second of three races before the playoff field gets cut from 16 to 12 eligible drivers.

 

The sport's higher-speed package will be used this weekend, a combination that's led to exceptionally clean racing for this short track. The last two races at RIR have seen just four cautions outside of stage breaks; only two cars failed to finish in the spring. Multiple grooves at this 0.75-mile oval lead to plenty of room for drivers to race side by side, making it act more like a cookie-cutter intermediate.

 

Playoff drivers, as you'd expect, led the way in qualifying; the top driver ineligible for the championship was Jimmie Johnson all the way back in 10th. Brad Keselowski earned the pole for Team Penske while last week's top qualifiers, Stewart-Haas Racing, placed their three playoff teams inside the top seven.

 

Thirty-eight cars showed up to qualify this weekend for 40 spots. That meant every driver who attempted to qualify made the field.

 

1. Brad Keselowski (P)

2. Kevin Harvick (P)

3. Chase Elliott (P)

4. Kyle Busch (P)

5. Clint Bowyer (P)

6. Denny Hamlin (P)

7. Aric Almirola (P)

8. Martin Truex Jr. (P)

9. Kurt Busch (P)

10. Jimmie Johnson

11. Michael McDowell

12. Matt DiBenedetto

13. Kyle Larson (P)

14. Daniel Suarez

15. Ryan Blaney (P)

16. Erik Jones (P)

17. Austin Dillon

18. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

19. Ryan Newman (P)

20. Alex Bowman (P)

21. Ryan Preece

22. Daniel Hemric

23. Chris Buescher

24. Paul Menard

25. William Byron (P)

26. Matt Tifft

27. David Ragan

28. Joey Logano (P)

29. Corey Lajoie

30. Bubba Wallace

31. Ty Dillon

32. Ross Chastain (i)

33. JJ Yeley (i)

34. Austin Theriault

35. Reed Sorenson

36. Landon Cassill (i)

37. Spencer Boyd (i)

38. Quin Houff

 

  • (i) Ineligible to collect Cup Series points
  • (P) Playoff Driver
  • Failed to Qualify – None

 

QUALIFYING NOTES

  • Keselowski’s third pole of the season is the most for him since 2015. The last Cup race he won from the pole was at Richmond in 2014, dominating the race by leading 383 of 400 laps.
  • Kevin Harvick (2nd) just missed his third straight pole at Richmond. He’s finished in the top five three straight races here.
  • Chase Elliott (3rd) was the fastest Chevrolet. He’s still searching for the first short-track win of his Cup career (140 starts).
  • Kyle Busch (4th) was the fastest Toyota. It’s his best starting spot since Watkins Glen in August.
  • Clint Bowyer (5th) has his third straight top-5 start.
  • Ryan Preece (21st) was the highest-qualifying rookie.
  • Joey Logano (28th) qualified the slowest of all the playoff drivers. It’s the worst qualifying effort for him at Richmond in his Cup career (22 starts).
  • JJ Yeley (33rd) moves back into the No. 52 for Rick Ware Racing this week. He’s driven the Nos. 52, 53 and 54 in the last month depending on sponsorship.
  • Austin Theriault (34th) rejoins Rick Ware Racing for the first time since Michigan in August (No. 51). His sponsor, Bangor Savings Bank, signed a multi-race extension with RWR this week.
  • Spencer Boyd (37th) is also back with RWR for the first time since Michigan. Saturday night will be just his second Cup Series start.
  • Quin Houff (38th) returns to Premium Motorsports to continue a limited Cup schedule of roughly half the races (his last start was Bristol).

 

NASCAR RACE BREAKDOWN

Race: Federated Auto Parts 400

Track: Richmond Raceway (Richmond, Va.)

Date: Saturday, Sept. 21

Time: 7:30 p.m. ET

TV: NBCSN

Radio: MRN, SIRIUS XM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 400 laps (300 miles)

Stage 1: 100 Laps

Stage 2: 100 Laps

Final Stage: 200 Laps

 

PRE-RICHMOND NEWS

Justin Allgaier gauges his chances for a NASCAR Xfinity Series championship in the latest Frontstretch Podcast before Dustin Albino and Mike Neff preview the Cup race at Richmond.

Event Date: 
Sunday, September 15, 2019 - 19:00
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