Chase Elliott wins pole at Talladega

Chase Elliott
Chase Elliott

Numerologists doubtless will have a field day with the front row for Sunday’s GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway (on FOX at 1 p.m. ET, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

Touring the 2.66-mile race track in 49.704 seconds (192.661 mph) during Saturday's time trials, Chase Elliott put the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet on the pole, making the 20-year-old rookie driver two-for-two at restrictor-plate superspeedways.

In his first qualifying run as a full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver, Elliott won the pole for the season-opening Daytona 500.

The pole was the sixth at Talladega for the No. 24, the first five having been recorded by Jeff Gordon, who retired after the 2015 season and turned the car over to Elliott.

And the pole run came roughly 30 years after Elliott's father, Bill Elliott, earned the top starting spot for the spring Talladega race with a lap at 212.229 mph, before restrictor plates were introduced at the superspeedways.

Coincidentally, Bill Elliott also won the pole for the Daytona 500 in 1986.

"This is definitely a special place," Chase Elliott said after his pole-winning run. "It's cool to get it done today. This is a team effort, and those guys and everybody at the No. 5 and No. 24 shop, in particular, and everybody at Hendrick Motorsports and the Hendrick engine department and obviously (sponsor) NAPA Auto parts.

[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]"But, man, this is cool. Those guys do such a good job. And as I said in Daytona, this had nothing to do with me. This is the car that we had. This is the same car we had in Daytona. They brought another fast one here."

The car Elliott beat for the pole, the No. 3 Chevrolet driven by Austin Dillon (192.424 mph), also has a noteworthy history at Talladega. Driving the No. 3 for owner Richard Childress, Dillon’s grandfather, the late Dale Earnhardt collected nine of his 10 Talladega victories and all three of his Talladega poles.

"There's a lot of history here with Dale and RCR," Dillon said. "A lot of good stuff happened with RCR here, so hopefully we can continue that streak of good runs for RCR here. We’ve got a car capable of doing that, obviously, with the qualifying effort, and I'd love for it to be my first Cup win."

Dale Earnhardt Jr., who has never won a pole at NASCAR's biggest oval track but has six race wins on his resume here, qualified third at 192.293 mph. Matt Kenseth (192.181 mph) claimed the fourth position on the grid, followed by Jimmie Johnson (192.116 mph) and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (192.089 mph).

The only other driver to top 192 mph was seventh-place starter Brad Keselowski (192.008 mph), a three-time Talladega winner.

Ty Dillon qualified the No. 14 Chevrolet for Tony Stewart and earned the 14th starting spot, but Stewart will start Sunday’s race and will have to drop to the rear for the green flag because of the driver change. The plan is for Stewart, who returned to action last Sunday at Richmond after injuring his back during the offseason, to turn the car over to Dillon during the first caution of the race.

Note: Josh Wise failed to make the 40-car field.

Results

Pos. Car # Driver Manufacturer Sponsor Speed Time Behind
1 24 Chase Elliott Chevrolet NAPA Auto Parts 192.661 49.704 Leader
2 3 Austin Dillon Chevrolet Dow – Energy & Water / Intellifresh 192.424 49.765 0.061
3 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr Chevrolet Nationwide 192.293 49.799 0.095
4 20 Matt Kenseth Toyota Dollar General 192.181 49.828 0.124
5 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's 192.116 49.845 0.141
6 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr Ford Fifth Third Bank Ford Fusion 192.089 49.852 0.148
7 2 Brad Keselowski Ford Miller Lite 192.008 49.873 0.169
8 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Express 191.954 49.887 0.183
9 19 Carl Edwards Toyota Arris 191.819 49.922 0.218
10 27 Paul Menard Chevrolet Moen / Menards 191.812 49.924 0.22
11 5 Kasey Kahne Chevrolet Farmers Insurance 191.789 49.93 0.226
12 78 Martin Truex Jr Toyota Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats 191.581 49.984 0.28
13 6 Trevor Bayne Ford Advocare Ford Fusion 191.566 49.988 0.284
14 14 Ty Dillon Chevrolet 191.509 50.003 0.299
14 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops 191.509 50.003 0.299
15 31 Ryan Newman Chevrolet Caterpillar 191.298 50.058 0.354
16 16 Greg Biffle Ford Ford EcoBoost Ford Fusion 191.191 50.086 0.382
17 18 Kyle Busch Toyota Skittles Marvel 191.164 50.093 0.389
18 41 Kurt Busch Chevrolet Monster Energy 191.039 50.126 0.422
19 21 Ryan Blaney Ford Motorcraft / Quick Lane Tire + Auto Center 190.921 50.157 0.453
20 13 Casey Mears Chevrolet GEICO 190.772 50.196 0.492
21 44 Brian Scott Ford Twisted Tea 190.73 50.207 0.503
22 22 Joey Logano Ford Shell Pennzoil 190.382 50.299 0.595
23 43 Aric Almirola Ford Fresh From Florida 190.26 50.331 0.627
24 42 Kyle Larson Chevrolet Target 190.166 50.356 0.652
25 7 Regan Smith Chevrolet Golden Corral Chevrolet 190.109 50.371 0.667
26 32 Bobby Labonte Ford RIMROCK DEVLIN 189.966 50.409 0.705
27 34 Chris Buescher Ford Love’s Travel Stops / CSX-Play it Safe 189.925 50.42 0.716
28 47 AJ Allmendinger Chevrolet Kroger / Hungry Jack / Crisco 189.921 50.421 0.717
29 4 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Busch Fishing Chevrolet SS 189.8 50.453 0.749
30 1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet McDonald's 189.729 50.472 0.768
31 95 Michael McDowell Chevrolet Thrivent Financial 189.519 50.528 0.824
32 38 Landon Cassill Ford FR8 Auctions 189.47 50.541 0.837
33 55 Michael Waltrip Chevrolet Peak & BlueDEF Toyota Camry 189.313 50.583 0.879
34 15 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet AccuDoc Solutions 189.025 50.66 0.956
35 83 Matt DiBenedetto Toyota Dustless Blasting 189.01 50.664 0.96
36 98 Cole Whitt Toyota RticCoolers.com 188.961 50.677 0.973
37 10 Danica Patrick Chevrolet Aspen Dental 188.954 50.679 0.975
38 46 Michael Annett Chevrolet Pilot Flying J 188.478 50.807 1.103
39 35 David Gilliland Ford Shaw's Southern Belle Seafood 188.467 50.81 1.106
40 23 David Ragan Toyota Schluter Systems 187.636 51.035 1.331

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