Kyle Busch, Ryan Blaney on front row for Friday’s NNS race at Richmond


Kyle Busch will start from the pole in Friday night’s Virginia 529 College Savings 250 at Richmond International Raceway.

Busch earned the top starting spot with a speed of 120.903 mph in an abbreviated qualifying session Friday afternoon that included two rain delays that resulted in red-flag conditions.

With Sprint Cup qualifying coming up shortly after, NASCAR officials decided to shorten the two qualifying sessions to just one 30-minute session.

“The last couple of times we’ve been here, we haven’t been as good as we wanted to be,” Busch told ESPN. “We’ll see if we can keep it up front from where we start.”

Ryan Blaney will start on the outside pole with a qualifying speed of 120.498 mph.

Blaney has won two races in the last two weeks, the NNS race at Bristol two weeks ago, and last week’s Camping World Truck Series last weekend at Atlanta.

“I think we have a great Ford Mustang for tonight,” Blaney said. “It’s nice to be starting on the front row and knowing we have a little more speed in it.”

The Busch-Blaney front row is the same as the front row for the Bristol NNS race two weeks ago.

NNS points leader Chase Elliott was third-fastest and the only other driver over 120.155 mph, and Kyle Larson was fourth-fastest (119.941 mph).

Brian Scott saw his bid for a third straight NNS pole at Richmond fall short, managing only the fifth-fastest speed at 119.931 mph.

Sixth through 10th were Matt Kenseth (119.713 mph), Brendan Gaughan (119.591), Ty Dillon (119.554), Trevor Bayne (119.532) and Dylan Kwasniewski (119.495).

Other key drivers included Kevin Harvick (15th-fastest at 119.342), followed by Elliott Sadler (119.305) and Regan Smith (119.279).

A total of 42 drivers made qualifying attempts. Failing to qualify were Joey Gase (115.385 mph) and Josh Reaume (114.650).

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