Larson beats Elliott to Richmond Cup pole for all-Hendrick front row

Larson beats Elliott to Richmond Cup pole for all-Hendrick front row

Larson, who was fastest in Saturday’s practice, went out early in the final round of Saturday’s qualifying and paced the session with an average lap speed of 120.332 mph.

Elliott, who went out last of the 10 cars, went second-fastest on his first of two laps (120.321 mph), but couldn’t gain any speed on his second lap leaving him sharing the front row with Larson.

The pole is Larson’s first of the season and 17th of his career and also comes in a race he won one year ago.

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“That definitely helps for sure – the No. 1 pit stall means a lot,” Larson said. “Happening to be in Group A and the sun coming out a little bit helped also.

“Chase got real close there, so I was a little nervous. It’s good to be on the pole. We’ll see if it translates to tomorrow’s race.”

Ross Chastain ended up third fastest (120.059 mph), fellow HMS driver Alex Bowman was fourth and Bubba Wallace rounded out the top five.

Completing the top 10 starting lineup are Todd Gilliland, Martin Truex Jr., Ty Gibbs, Austin Cindric and his Penske teammate Joey Logano.

Round 1 / Group B

Elliott sent a blistering pace in the first round with an average lap speed of 122.095 mph – the fastest lap of the day at the time.

Wallace ended up second fastest (121.742 mph) and Cindric was third (121.704 mph).

Also moving on to the final round of qualifying from Group B were Gilliland and Truex.

Among those who failed to advance were Denny Hamlin, last weekend’s race winner William Byron and Kyle Busch.

Round 1 / Group A

Logano led the way in the first group with an average lap speed of 120.897 mph.

Gibbs – the last car to go out – ended up second quick (120.795 mph) while Larson was third (120.762 mph).

Also advancing to the final round were Chastain and Bowman.

Among those who failed to move on were Chris Buescher, John Hunter Nemechek and reigning series champion Ryan Blaney.

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