RICHMOND, Va. — Friday night’s Virginia 529 College Savings 250 at Richmond Raceway marks Kyle Busch’s 10th-and-final XFINITY Series start of 2017.
And one last chance to end the season a winner in NASCAR’s second-tier series got off to a great start Friday afternoon.
Busch circled around the .75-mile track at 22.638 seconds (119.263 mph) for his 64th career XFINITY pole in his No. 18 NOS Energy Drink Toyota.
“I wish I was holding anything back, I don’t know why we wouldn’t fire off on the first lap any other rounds,” Busch said. “We had to make two laps every single time and obviously, that was not really built into the strategy let’s say but it worked out. Just proud of these guys and everybody on this NOS Energy Drink Camry and being a part of JGR obviously is a good thing and having some fun while we’re here in the XFINITY Series. Might as well go out here and try to score another win tonight and keep racking them up.”
“I’d probably run a heck of a lot more if I could but rules don’t allow it. It’s unfortunate for me not being with the team a little bit more often, a little bit more than we would both like to have. The rules the way they are for next year, that just means that I guaranteed myself two more years so it’s all good.”
Brennan Poole (118.828 mph) was the highest series regular in second, lining up alongside Busch’s Camry for later tonight. Poole qualified consistently in all three rounds before falling short in the final round to knock off the 2015 cup champ.
Row 2 is full of Fords with Brad Keselowski (third) and Cole Custer (fourth). Friday night also features the final time both Keselowski and Kyle Busch fend off in an XFINITY race for 2017. Custer clinched a spot in the XFINITY playoffs last weekend at Darlington and is no stranger to victory lane at RR, scoring a K&N East win at the track in 2014.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. (118.603 mph) completed the top-five while returning to the venue of his last NAScAR win-to-date in April 2016, coming in an XFINITY event. His future teammate and driver William Byron (118.52 mph) joins Earnhardt in the third row with a sixth-place qualifying effort in the No. 9 Axalta Chevrolet. Byron was the last car to go out in the final round before slotting in sixth for Friday night’s race.
“The first time here during qualifying, we couldn’t really re-run like that and the second run, we had to do a re-run and we were really good,” Byron said. “Hopefully that means good things for tonight and can get a win here at Richmond. This is a really slick racetrack for a short track. I told my crew chief it feels different than any other place we race. It feels like a totally different car, different tire, everything because I think it’s so flat.”
“You don’t have that lateral grip to lean on so it makes it where the car feels really heavy, feels terrible at times and you just have to make it the best you can and everyone’s struggling out there.”
Blake Koch (118.369 mph) qualified seventh in the No. 11 LeafFilter Chevrolet as spring Richmond pole-sitter Daniel Hemric was eighth (118.312 mph). Those two series regulars were followed by another in Justin Allgaier (118.208 mph) while Cup interloper Paul Menard (118.074 mph) rounded out the top-10.
The No. 42 team won the spring event at Richmond with Kyle Larson, but Tyler Reddick stepped behind the wheel of the machine for this race and struggled after qualifying 25th in the session.
41 cars took time as Morgan Shepherd was the lone driver to not make the race.
The green flag for Friday night’s Virginia 529 College Savings 250 drops shortly after 7:30 p.m. ET (NBcSN, MRN, SiriusXM ch. 90)
Full qualifying results can be viewed on the next page…