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Matt Kenseth takes pole for NASCAR's final race before playoffs

RICHMOND, Va. — Matt Kenseth ran a fast lap of 122.421 mph Friday and won the pole for tonight's Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond Raceway.

This is the last Monster Energy Cup race drivers have to make the 16-driver NASCAR playoffs that begin next week in Chicago. Kenseth is 15th in points, but he is without the victory that would guarantee him a playoff spot.

Kenseth is two points behind Chase Elliott and one point ahead of Jamie McMurray for the final three spots, and with 13 drivers winning races this season, that gives them the next three spots based on the point standings.

Denny Hamlin (122.277) starts on the outside of the front row, with Kurt Busch and Kyle Larson on the second row.

Among other drivers needing to win to ensure a playoff spot, Joey Logano starts 12th, Clint Bowyer 13th, Daniel Saurez 16th and Dale Earnhardt Jr. 21st.

XFINITY: Brad Keselowski ran down Kyle Busch with 16 laps to go and won at Richmond Raceway. Keselowski's pass came in heavy lapped traffic and marked the third time he'd used a superior car to catch Busch on a long run. The final green-flag run lasted 89 laps, giving Keselowski his 36th career series victory and fourth in 17 starts at Richmond. "He's a great racer, and when you can race with him, you know you're having a good day," Keselowski said. Elliott Sadler clinched his second consecutive regular-season championship with a fifth-place finish. The regular season ends next weekend in Chicago, then the top 12 contest the first playoff in the series.

Matt Kenseth takes pole for NASCAR's final race before playoffs 09/08/17 [Last modified: Friday, September 8, 2017 11:05pm]
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