Stewart-Haas Racing’s Aric Almirola claimed the pole position for Sunday’s YellaWood 500 with a fast lap of 181.656 mph at Talladega.
The 39-year old Tampa native just bettering the speed of fellow Ford driver and reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion Joey Logano Saturday afternoon by 0.004 seconds.
Almirola’s SHR teammate Chase Briscoe was third fastest and will start on the second row alongside Hendrick Motorsports’ Kyle Larson, the top qualifier among the 12 NASCAR Cup Series Playoff drivers.
“You know these races come down to pit stops really, track position at the end, and so having a good pit stall, a clean-in and clean-out, stuff like that, that all matters,” said Almirola, who won the fall race on the 2.66-mile Talladega high banks in 2018 and gets first pit selection with this pole-winning effort Saturday, his sixth career pole.
“I’m just really proud of all the guys on this 10 team. We’ve been working so hard to put speed in these Smithfield Ford Mustangs and [engine builder] Doug Yates obviously brings a ton of horsepower when we come to these type race tracks.
“It’s not a secret, this has been a tough year for us,” Almirola said of the four-car SHR organization that is still racing for its first win of the season. “So to show that kind of grit and resolve with everyone continuing to grind and work and bring fast race cars to the race track. That says a lot about our race team. Just really proud. The driver has a small
Five of the 12 playoff drivers advanced to second-round qualifying on Saturday. Brad Keselowski, whose six wins at Talladega are most in the field, qualified fifth in his Roush Fenway Keselowski Ford. Hendrick Motorsports’ William Byron, who has already punched his ticket into Round of 8 with a victory last week at Texas Motor Speedway, will start eighth. 23XI Racing’s Bubba Wallace and Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney round out the top 10 positions on Sunday’s starting grid.
Pre-Race Inspection Failures
Three NASCAR Cup Series cars failed pre-race technical inspection twice at Talladega Superspeedway on Saturday afternoon.
The No. 2 Team Penske Ford, No. 38 Front Row Motorsports Ford and No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford each needed a third trip through the inspection line ahead of qualifying for Sunday’s Yellawood 500.
Each of the teams had its car chief ejected from the event: Cody Sauls from the No. 2 Ford driven by Austin Cindric; Lucas Tucker from the No. 38 Ford driven by Todd Gilliland; and Anthony Cardamone from the No. 41 Ford driven by Ryan Preece.
In addition, those three teams also lost their respective ability to choose their pit stalls for Sunday’s race, which marks the second event in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Round of 12.
|1||10||Aric Almirola||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford||52.715||0.000||181.656|
|2||22||Joey Logano||Team Penske||Ford||52.719||0.004||181.642|
|3||14||Chase Briscoe||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford||52.724||0.009||181.625|
|4||5||Kyle Larson||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||52.746||0.031||181.549|
|5||6||Brad Keselowski||RFK Racing||Ford||52.757||0.042||181.511|
|6||36||Riley Herbst||Front Row Motorsports||Ford||52.79||0.075||181.398|
|7||2||Austin Cindric||Team Penske||Ford||52.823||0.108||181.285|
|8||24||William Byron||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||52.926||0.211||180.932|
|9||23||Bubba Wallace||23XI Racing||Toyota||52.934||0.219||180.905|
|10||12||Ryan Blaney||Team Penske||Ford||52.968||0.253||180.788|
|11||4||Kevin Harvick||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford||52.992||—||180.707|
|12||11||Denny Hamlin||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||53.021||0.029||180.608|
|13||45||Tyler Reddick||23XI Racing||Toyota||53.039||0.047||180.546|
|14||3||Austin Dillon||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||53.048||0.056||180.516|
|15||20||Christopher Bell||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||53.052||0.060||180.502|
|16||19||“Martin Truex, Jr.”||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||53.073||0.081||180.431|
|17||38||Todd Gilliland||Front Row Motorsports||Ford||53.085||0.093||180.390|
|18||34||Michael McDowell||Front Row Motorsports||Ford||53.100||0.108||180.339|
|19||41||Ryan Preece||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford||53.105||0.113||180.322|
|20||48||Alex Bowman||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||53.121||0.129||180.268|
|21||21||Harrison Burton||Wood Brothers Racing||Ford||53.128||0.136||180.244|
|22||54||Ty Gibbs||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||53.129||0.137||180.241|
|23||9||Chase Elliott||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||53.142||0.150||180.196|
|24||17||Chris Buescher||RFK Racing||Ford||53.143||0.151||180.193|
|25||8||Kyle Busch||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||53.216||0.224||179.946|
|26||43||Erik Jones||LEGACY MOTOR CLUB||Chevrolet||53.232||0.240||179.892|
|27||51||JJ Yeley||Rick Ware Racing||Ford||53.242||0.250||179.858|
|28||99||Daniel Suarez||Trackhouse Racing||Chevrolet||53.266||0.274||179.777|
|29||15||Brennan Poole||Rick Ware Racing||Ford||53.281||0.289||179.726|
|30||31||Justin Haley||Kaulig Racing||Chevrolet||53.284||0.292||179.716|
|31||16||AJ Allmendinger||Kaulig Racing||Chevrolet||53.341||0.349||179.524|
|32||1||Ross Chastain||Trackhouse Racing||Chevrolet||53.365||0.373||179.443|
|33||77||Ty Dillon||Spire Motorsports||Chevrolet||53.449||0.457||179.161|
|34||13||Chandler Smith||Kaulig Racing||Chevrolet||53.470||0.478||179.091|
|35||47||“Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.”||JTG Daugherty Racing||Chevrolet||53.505||0.513||178.974|
|36||7||Corey LaJoie||Spire Motorsports||Chevrolet||53.731||0.739||178.221|
|37||78||BJ McLeod||Live Fast Motorsports||Chevrolet||53.841||0.849||177.857|
|38||42||Carson Hocevar||LEGACY MOTOR CLUB||Chevrolet||0.000||—||0.000|