Richmond, Va. • Matt Kenseth didn't wait long to get his pole award back.
The Joe Gibbs Racing driver stripped of his pole award from last week at Kansas in a raft of penalties levied by NASCAR this week, set a track record with a lap at 130.334 mph Friday at Richmond International Raceway.
Kenseth edged JGR teammate Brian Vickers by 0.005 seconds to claim only the 10th top starting position of his career in 481 starts. Vickers, who held the previous qualifying record at 129.983, is filling in for injured JGR driver Denny Hamlin.
In what has been a hard week for the JGR stable because of the hammer-like quality of the penalties imposed by NASCAR, the results were welcome news.
"When you only win nine poles in 14 years, you're pretty darned fired up for all of them," Kenseth said. "For sure, that was one of our goals for this weekend was to come here, sit on the pole and kind of quiet down at least part of the noise."
The run again qualified Kenseth for next year's Sprint Unlimited exhibition race for pole winners only.
When he addressed the penalties on Thursday, Kenseth said he planned to talk, then put the matter behind him.
"I think almost every person that I've talked to has been very supportive," he said. "I just kind of left it behind me. I'm just going to let the appeals process work out and see what happens. Whatever it is it is. We'll have to deal with the consequences then and move on. For now, it's just business as usual."
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