Dale Earnhardt Jr. Wins Pole At Richmond

By Christy Valdez

Dale Earnhardt Jr. will lead the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series field to the green flag in the final race prior to the chase in Richmond.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the pole in Friday’s Sprint Cup Series qualifying session at Richmond International Raceway by posting a speed of 127.023 mph in 21.256. Earnhardt will be joined on the front row by his Hendrick Motorsports teammate and wild card hopeful Jeff Gordon.

Regan Smith, Clint Bowyer, and Jimmie Johnson round out the top five starting positions.

Hendrick Motorsports will began the Federated Auto Parts 400 under the lights at Richmond with three of the top five starting spots.

In a race that will decide the final two drivers who will qualify into the 2012 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, two wild card hopefuls qualified into the top ten. Gordon will be in the front row and Joey Logano will start eighth. Just outside of the top ten other wild card hopefuls Ryan Newman qualified 14th and Kyle Busch in 15th. Kasey Kahne and Marcos Ambrose  will start outside of the top 20 in 21 and 22 respectively.

Busch will return to Richmond as the defending winner from the spring race. The spring race win has kept Busch within the wild card contenders.

During Friday’s Sprint Cup Series qualifying session 45 cars attempted to qualify into Saturday nights race. J.J Yeley and Mark Green failed to make the race.

Closing out the top ten for Saturday nights race are Mark Martin, Denny Hamlin, Logano, Martin Truex Jr., and Brad Keselowski.

Follow Christy Valdez on Twitter @Knowursports and on Facebook at On The Sidelines With Christy

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