Another week, another NASCAR Cup pole for Ryan Blaney

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA - APRIL 02: Ryan Blaney, driver of the #12 Menards/Richmond Water Heaters Ford, drives during practice for the NASCAR Cup Series Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway on April 02, 2022 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

For the second consecutive race and third time of the seven-race old season, Penske Racing’s Ryan Blaney will start from the Busch Light Pole – earning the top position Saturday in qualifying for Sunday’s Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

Blaney’s No. 12 Penske Racing Racing Ford Mustang turned in a lap of 119.782 mph to take the top position by only .20 over William Byron in the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.

Blaney – who, remarkably, has only a single Top-10 finish in 11 starts at the 0.75-mile Richmond track – was fastest in his first group as well as topping the final qualifying session.

“It means a lot,” Blaney told FS1. “Honestly, I didn’t think I got a very good lap. It was kind of an ugly lap on my end. Really proud of the 12 group.

“Track position means a lot here,” he continued. “Especially how my past history is here, I need all the track position I can get. Good start to the weekend, just got to keep it up and keep tires under it, that’s the biggest thing. We’ll see what tomorrow holds. Should be fun.”

Kyle Busch will start the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota third, alongside Stewart-Haas Racing’s Chase Briscoe. Busch’s six wins at Richmond is most among active drivers and he is one of three former winners to advance to the Top-10 in qualifying.

The Richmond track has historically been a good venue for the Joe Gibbs Racing team, which is still looking for its first victory of the 2022 season. Five different

Gibbs drivers have accounted for eight wins in the last 12 Richmond races.

Petty GMS Racing’s Erik Jones will start fifth, alongside JGR driver Martin Truex Jr., who has won three times in the last five Richmond races. SHR’s Kevin Harvick, another three-time Richmond winner, will start sixth alongside last weekend’s COTA winner, Ross Chastain, driver of the No. 1 Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet. Christopher Bell (No. 20 JGR Toyota) and Aric Almirola (No. 10 SHR Ford) rounded out the Top-10 in qualifying.

Defending race winner, Alex Bowman will start the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 28th in the 37-car field.