NASCAR: Ryan Blaney Wins Pole Position for Sunday’s Richmond Raceway Cup Series Race

by Caitlin Berard
(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

The 7th NASCAR race of the season is upon us, with the Toyota Owners 400 taking place tomorrow afternoon. Ahead of the green flag, drivers competed in qualifying sessions to determine the starting order of the field for Sunday’s race. And for the second consecutive week and third time this season, NASCAR driver Ryan Blaney scored the fastest average lap speed in qualifying, putting him on the pole at the Richmond Raceway.

What to Know:

  • The Toyota Owners 400 Cup Series race takes place in the Richmond Raceway this Sunday
  • Cup Series drivers competed in qualifying sessions to determine race lineup
  • Ryan Blaney won pole position, meaning he will lead the field on Sunday

NASCAR Driver Ryan Blaney Claims Pole Position at Richmond Raceway

Ryan Blaney has the hot hand in NASCAR qualifying laps this season, scoring no less than three poles in seven Cup Series races. The driver showed promise in the practice laps, running the most laps and ranking third in average speed. He then kicked it up a notch in qualifying, hitting 119.782 mph and claiming 1st position.

The Toyota Owners 400 marks the fourth straight race in which Ryan Blaney has started second or better. “This means a lot, you know,” Blaney said in his post-qualifying interview. “Honestly, I didn’t think I got a very good lap. It was kind of an ugly lap on my end but I did have speed.”

“Track position means a lot here,” the No. 12 driver continued. “With my past history here, I can use all the track position I can get. It’s a great start to the weekend. We just need to keep it up and keep the tires under this thing and we’ll see what tomorrow holds.”

In 11 career NASCAR Cup starts at Richmond, Ryan Blaney has never finished better than 10th. Though he doesn’t express a lot of confidence in his performance this year, he hopes tomorrow’s Toyota Owners 400 will be the race in which his luck at Richmond changes.

“I will say it’s definitely not been my best place at all,” Blaney said. “I’ve struggled here for years. I still don’t feel that I’m great here at all or very good. We’ve worked very hard at that to do better here.”

What to Expect at the Richmond Raceway

Sunday’s Toyota Owners 400 in the Richmond Raceway marks the first short track race of the 2022 season. Despite its mere 0.75 miles in length, the Richmond Raceway allows drivers to reach blistering speeds, earning it the reputation of a short track that races like a superspeedway.

Along with the Toyota Owners 400 Cup Series race and the Go Bowling 250 Xfinity Series race, the Richmond Raceway is also the first track in the Dash 4 Cash incentive program. Throughout the 4-race event, four Xfinity Series drivers are given the chance to win a $100,000 prize each week.

This week’s competitors include Noah Gragson, AJ Allmendinger, Austin Hill, and Sam Mayer. However, the latter three are at a disadvantage, as Gragson is the reigning Dash 4 Cash champion. The No. 9 driver is only driver in history to win 3 out of 4 prizes in a single season.