Richmond: Petty Enterprises qualifying report

Denny Hamlin, who is from nearby Chesterfield, Virginia, took the top spot in qualifying for the Crown Royal presents the Dan Lowry 400 at the Richmond International Raceway (RIR). NASCAR veteran Mark Martin and Martin Truex, Jr. round out the ...

Denny Hamlin, who is from nearby Chesterfield, Virginia, took the top spot in qualifying for the Crown Royal presents the Dan Lowry 400 at the Richmond International Raceway (RIR). NASCAR veteran Mark Martin and Martin Truex, Jr. round out the top-three qualifiers.

RIR is the third short track of the season. However, its ¾ mile layout is the biggest and fastest of those types of tracks. It routinely produces the fender-banging, side-by-side racing that makes short track racing one of the most popular disciplines on the circuit.

Bobby Labonte and the No. 43 Dodge team will roll off from the 39th position for tomorrow night's event. The team is sporting the colors of the upcoming movie "Speed Racer," which will hit theaters on May 9. Labonte was happy with his car during the two-hour practice session and was looking for a top-15 start. However he, like other drivers in the qualifying session, failed to find enough grip to lay down a fast lap. The car was good on long runs during practice and that should bode well for the team tomorrow night.

"We just had no grip in qualifying and you can't run a fast lap at Richmond without being able to come up off the corner," said Labonte. "But tomorrow is a night race, so grip should not be a problem. The car was comfortable and good on long runs in practice. It should be good tomorrow night."

Kyle Petty and the No. 45 Paralyzed Veterans of America Dodge will start tomorrow's race from the 42nd position. The No. 45 team went to the Iowa Speedway, a .875-mile oval similar to RIR, early this week to test their setup for this weekend. It paid off as Petty will start his second consecutive race.

"Hopefully this is building some momentum and confidence in this No. 45 team," said Petty. "This is a good team and we're going to work as hard as we can to make these races. This was the first scheduled race for the Paralyzed Veterans of America and I'm thrilled to be able to race their colors tomorrow night because this is their home track."

Saturday night's race will be televised live on FOX and broadcast live on MRN Radio and Sirius NASCAR Channel 128. Pre-race coverage is scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m. EST.

-credit: pe

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Bobby Labonte , Kyle Petty , Martin Truex Jr. , Denny Hamlin , Mark Martin