Brad Keselowski wins pole for playoff race No. 2 at Richmond

Brad Keselowski has three poles in eight races after a 68-race streak without starting first. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Brad Keselowski is on a pole run.

Keselowski entered the July race at New Hampshire without a pole in nearly two years since he started first for the August 2017 race at Michigan. He won the pole for that race, won the pole at Michigan a few weeks later and won the pole Friday for Saturday night’s race at Richmond.

That’s three poles in the span of nine races after going 68 races without one.

“We had phenomenal short-run speed here with the Discount Tire Ford the last two or three years,” Keselowski said. “We haven’t necessarily qualified all that well but when the race comes we get the short runs and we can gain some steam. It showed here in qualifying.

Keselowski finished seventh at Richmond in the spring. Martin Truex Jr. won Sunday’s playoff-opener at Las Vegas with a car that was much better on long runs. Will a short-run car or a long-run car pay off at Richmond on Saturday night?

The safe bet — on the surface — would be a long-run car. There hasn’t been a race at Richmond with more than eight cautions since the spring race at the track in 2013. The race earlier this season had five cautions and the 2018 September race had just three — two for the stage breaks and one for a crash with fewer than 100 laps to go.

Kevin Harvick starts second while Chase Elliott will start third. Kyle Busch, the driver who won in the spring at Richmond, starts fourth while Clint Bowyer starts fifth.

Qualifying results

1. Brad Keselowski

2. Kevin Harvick

3. Chase Elliott

4. Kyle Busch

5. Clint Bowyer

6. Denny Hamlin

7. Aric Almirola

8. Martin Truex Jr.

9. Kurt Busch

10. Jimmie Johnson

11. Michael McDowell

12. Matt DiBenedetto

13. Kyle Larson

14. Daniel Suarez

15. Ryan Blaney

16. Erik Jones

17. Austin Dillon

18. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

19. Ryan Newman

20. Alex Bowman

21. Ryan Preece

22. Daniel Hemric

23. Chris Buescher

24. Paul Menard

25. William Byron

26. Matt Tifft

27. David Ragan

28. Joey Logano

29. Corey LaJoie

30. Bubba Wallace

31. Ty Dillon

32. Ross Chastain

33. JJ Yeley

34. Austin Theriault

35. Reed Sorenson

36. Landon Cassill

37. Spencer Boyd

38. Quin Houff

Playoff standings

1. Martin Truex Jr. [Win at Las Vegas]

2. Kevin Harvick, 2,079 points

3. Joey Logano, 2,075

4. Kyle Busch, 2,063

5. Brad Keselowski, 2,058

6. Chase Elliott, 2,057

7. Denny Hamlin, 2,056

8. Kyle Larson, 2,044

9. William Byron, 2,040

10. Ryan Blaney, 2,039

11. Alex Bowman, 2,037

12. Aric Almirola, 2,033

13. Ryan Newman, 2,027

14. Kurt Busch, 2,019

15. Clint Bowyer, 2,012

16. Erik Jones, 2,007

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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