Harvick wins pole on rainy day at Richmond
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) Rain washed out qualifying at Richmond International Raceway on Friday, giving Kevin Harvick the pole position Sunday for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race based on being the fastest in an abbreviated morning practice session.
Harvick won the pole with a speed of 129.069 mph, edging Joey Logano for the top spot. Logano's speed was 128.694. The top five also includes Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards and hometown favorite Denny Hamlin.
The race, which traditionally has been run on Saturday night, was moved to Sunday afternoon this year and will be the second in a row in the spring at Richmond run on a Sunday. Last year's race was rained out on Saturday night, and Harvick and Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Kurt Busch battled for the victory, with Busch prevailing. Harvick would love to see a repeat this time, with one modification.
''From the way it finished last year, I hope it finishes the same way,'' Harvick said. ''Kurt and I ran very well and had good finishes, obviously. He won the race. Hopefully, we can start building off of where we started and ended last year and try to adapt that to the things we have learned with this style of car this year and have a good day.''
Harvick ran only nine laps in practice before the rain came.
Logano turned 35 laps and credited his team with playing the weather just right.
''We went out there and made our qualifying run off the truck and then focused in on race trim thinking that we weren't going to qualify anyway,'' he said. ''The plan was executed perfectly besides second instead of first.''
Logano's Penske Racing teammate, Brad Keselowski, qualified sixth, followed by Busch, Kasey Kahne, Kyle Busch and AJ Allmendinger.
''A lot of times you think about how this race runs and it is similar to Martinsville and having track position allows you to be more conservative with your car and tires,'' Logano said. ''If you are in the back you don't have the opportunity to save anything. It is nice to start towards the front and get a good pit stall and hit this race hard and see what happens.''
STEWART RETURNS: Tony Stewart will make his season debut Sunday after missing the first eight races while recovering from a back injury. He made 38 laps in practice, the most of anyone, and will start 18th on Sunday. Stewart has won three times in his career at Richmond.
BY THE NUMBERS: Among active drivers, Kyle Busch leads with four victories at Richmond. Hamlin has led the most laps, 1,404, and Harvick has led the most races, 16.