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Kyle Larson starts first after Richmond qualifying is washed out

NASCAR: Toyota Owners 400-Practice
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Apr 25, 2014; Richmond, VA, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Kyle Larson (42) during practice for the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway. (Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports)

Rookie Kyle Larson will start first in the Sprint Cup Series for the first time Saturday night at Richmond, but it's not because of qualifying.

Friday's qualifying session was rained out and the field was set by speeds from the day's first practice session. Since Larson was on top of the charts in it, he's now got the top spot in the race.

It's the first time in 2014 that rain has halted Sprint Cup Series qualifying. Three races have been delayed by rain.

Larson's first career NASCAR pole came in the Nationwide Series earlier this year at Bristol. He finished second in that race. His highest start in the Cup Series this year had been an 8th at Phoenix.

The starting spot puts him in a good position to net his fifth top 10 in the last six races. After finishing 10th at Bristol, Larson finished second at Fontana, fifth at Texas and eighth at Darlington.

The rainout of qualifying didn't hurt Team Penske's front row run, however. Brad Keselowski will start alongside Larson on the front row. Clint Bowyer starts third, Kasey Kahne is fourth and Kevin Harvick, the defending champion of this race last year, starts fifth.

Jimmie Johnson starts 10th, while Matt Kenseth starts 12th and Dale Earnhardt Jr. starts 13th. Michael McDowell and Dave Blaney will miss the race.

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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