Christopher Bell wins Xfinity Richmond pole; Dale Earnhardt Jr. qualifies 2nd

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Christopher Bell will start first for tonight’s Xfinity race at Richmond Raceway (7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN) after posting a top qualifying speed of 118.990 mph around the short track.

The pole is Bell’s fourth of the year.

“That was a very stressful qualifying session,” Bell told NBCSN. “Out of our four wins this year we haven’t won from the pole. Hopefully we can break that streak tonight.”

The rookie will be joined on the front row by Dale Earnhardt Jr., who qualified second with a speed of 118.896 mph.

Earnhardt is making his first and only start of the year.

“Man, I almost got the pole, that would’ve been cool,” Earnhardt told NBCSN. “I was talking to my teammate up there in the booth, Jeff Burton, about watching these guys lay back in qualifying at some of these tracks like Darlington and so forth. I’m like, ‘I’ve never tried that before.’ I’d be too nervous, right? I might screw up. I thought I’ve got nothing to lose here, so I tried going easy in that first round. … Ran it just fast enough and maybe saved a little bit of our tire to be able to run better.”

The top five is completed by Ross Chastain, Cole Custer and Justin Allgaier.

Elliott Sadler qualified 13th for his last start at his home track.

He was followed by Tyler Reddick, Spencer Gallagher and Michael Annett.

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