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

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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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Todd LeDuc advances two positions in Monster Jam Power Rankings

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Neil Elliott held onto the top spot in the Monster Jam Power Rankings, but he has a new driver sniffing his exhaust as Todd Leduc advanced two positions to second this week.

The Stadium Series Green continues to hold the advantage in the Power Rankings with Elliott topping the chart, Morgan Kane in fourth, and Ryan Anderson eighth, but there is an equitable distribution among the other series throughout the field.

Notably, Leduc and his Monster Energy truck in the Stadium Series Red closed the gap with a 38-point overall victory at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, MN. Leduc achieved his win through consistency, pocketing the overall without winning a single individual event. Leduc’s best session was a second-place finish to Mike Vaters II in Overkill Evolution by .001 points.

Meanwhile on the West Coast, Elliott rambled on. Elliott won his sixth skills challenge in seven contests so far. That contributed to his 35 points for the event at PETCO Park in San Diego and allowed him to hold onto the No. 1 slot in the Monster Jam Power Rankings.

Colton Eichelberger also held station. Third last week, he entered the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on a mission in the Triple Threat Series Central. He topped the event points in all four events with timed race wins in each session, ATV race wins in three of the four, three wins in the speedster obstacle course, two freestyle wins and one win in the donut competitions.

MORE: Ryan Anderson and the anatomy of a Monster Jam freestyle run

Morgan Kane and Grave Digger had a rough night. He was ousted from the racing event in Round 2 by Max-D and Elliott. He failed to win either of the other two competitions of the night and ended with 29 points, which was a distant third to Ryan Anderson’s Son-Uva Digger (37) and Max-D (35).

Brandon Vinson moved up to the fifth position with three wins in the Triple Threat Series West. During the weekend he earned seven session wins, including a sweep of the speedster obstacle course and two victories in the two-wheel skills challenge.

Tom Meents debuted on the Monster Jam Power Rankings in 10th by winning the overall in back to back nights of the Stadium Series Yellow. The Saturday show can be seen Feb. 22 at 11:30 p.m. on NBCSN (click here for streaming). The highlight of Meents’ weekend were race wins on Saturday and Sunday, defeating Coty Saucier in a Monster Energy truck on Night 1 and Eric Swanson in Obsessed on Night 2.

Power Rankings

1. Neil Elliott–same
2. Todd LeDuc–up 2
3. Colton Eichelberger-same
4. Morgan Kane–down 2
5. Brandon Vinson–up 1
6. Tyler Menninga–up 1
7. Coty Saucier–down 2
8. Ryan Anderson–same
9. Linsey Read–up 1
10. Tom Meents-new for 2020

Upcoming TV Schedule (All showings on Eastern time on NBCSN)

Oakland: February 22 (Saturday); 11:30 p.m.
Miami: March 1 (Sunday); 12 a.m.
Jacksonville: March 9 (Monday); 6 p.m.
Detroit: March 21 (Saturday); 11 p.m.
Las Vegas: March 28 (Saturday); 7 p.m.
Santa Clara: April 11 (Saturday); 7 p.m.
Philadelphia: April 17 (Friday); 2:30 p.m.
Denver: April 25 (Saturday); 6:30 p.m.
Monster Jam World Finals Racing: May 9 (Saturday); 5 p.m.
Monster Jam World Finals: May 19 (Tuesday); 4 p.m.
Monster Jam World Freestyle: May 20 (Wednesday); 12 a.m.
Monster Jam World Finals: June 20 (Saturday); 2:30 p.m.