Earnhardt Jr wins pole at Talladega

Everything happens in NASCAR for a reason. How big was that restrictor plate NASCAR gave Dale Jr. for his final sentimental run at Talladega? Is it big enough to lead every lap on Sunday?
Everything happens in NASCAR for a reason. He never lifted the entire lap so how big was that restrictor plate NASCAR gave Dale Jr. for his final sentimental run at Talladega? Is it big enough to lead every lap on Sunday?

With a speed of 190.544 mph, six-time Talladega Superspeedway winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. captured his first career Talladega pole in advance of his final career start at the 2.66-mile Superspeedway in tomorrow’s Alabama 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) race.

“It’s nice to be able to get a pole here and hear the fans excitement about it and their appreciation for it," said Dale Jr., driver of the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet. “We’ve been fighting our teammate, Chase (Elliott) and his group for poles at these tracks for a long time and it’s been a lot of fun to be honest with you, how these two teams have pushed and elevated each other."

Dale Jr. is the winningest active driver at Talladega this weekend. On Talladega’s all-time wins list, he trails only his father, Dale Earnhardt Sr., who has ten career MENCS victories at the famous 2.66-mile tri-oval.

“This place has meant a lot to me," said Dale Jr. “It’s awesome to hear those fans happy for us and hopefully we’re going to give them a lot more to cheer about before this weekend is over."

Dale Jr. was followed by Chase Elliott (190.412 mph), who is looking for his first career MENCS victory in the Alabama 500.

“The best place to be is out front," said Elliott, driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet. “If you can be out front and get ‘em lined up around the top that’s great. We just want to keep as much of our track position as we can all day long. I think if you’re closer to the front, your chances of finishing are higher than (if you’re) mid-pack."

The rest of the top five was Joey Logano (190.374 mph), Kurt Busch (190.268 mph) and defending Talladega Superspeedway winner Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (190.170 mph).

As the Alabama 500 polesitter, Dale Jr. knows the multitude of his fans coming to Talladega want to see him score a seventh victory at the iconic facility on Sunday.

“I feel like if I’m in one of the top four positions coming down to 50 to go, I’ve got a real good shot at it," said Dale Jr. “You think about winning every time you suit-up and get in the car, and you imagine if that’s going to be the day you get a win. This would be a real important one if we could win for all the fans. We certainly owe them a win and it would be great to get them one on Sunday."

Front Row Quotes

DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 MOUNTAIN DEW CHEVROLET SS – Pole Winner

WHAT’S IT LIKE TO GET A POLE ON YOUR FINAL ATTEMPT AT TALLADEGA?

“We got a pole earlier this year at Daytona. We’ve been fighting our teammate, Chase (Elliott) and his group for poles at these tracks for a long time and it’s been a lot of fun to be honest with you, how these two teams have pushed and elevated each other. Really, all the credit for getting a pole at a place like this goes to the team and goes to the car and the guys that work on it, the engine, the body men; we’ve got an amazing staff back at Charlotte that builds some awesome stuff. I just hold the wheel straight and try not to bounce into the apron, but get as close to it as you can and make sure you run a clean lap. But there ain’t much to it as a driver. This place has meant a lot to me. It’s awesome to hear those fans happy for us and hopefully we’re going to give them a lot more to cheer about before this weekend is over."

[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]HAVE YOU BEEN ABLE TO IMAGINE GOING OUT AT TALLADEGA WITH A WIN?

“Certainly. You think about that every time you suit-up and get in the car, you imagine if that’s going to be the day you get a win. But, this would be a real important one if we could win for all the fans, all year long, we certainly owe them a win and it would be great to get them one on Sunday."

CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 24 NAPA CHEVROLET SS – Qualified 2nd:

YOU WILL START ON THE FRONT ROW, BUT IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU COULD HAVE DONE TO GET THE POLE?

“I don’t think so, but congrats to Dale (Earnhardt Jr.) and the No. 88 team. They do a good job. Our team does great with this stuff. We definitely have a knack for it. We just hope that we can run good tomorrow and it lasts over the long haul. As hot as it is down here I think it’s going to be pretty important and we’ll try to finish this thing. We’ll see."

DO HANDLING ISSUES IN THE PACK CONCERN YOU AT ALL?

“No, until we get the race started and kind of see what kind of aero situations you’re in, it’s not doing to drive good regardless of however it is. When you get in those strange aero situations you don’t have a lot of air on your car and you’re tucked-up tight behind somebody, so those are the spots you have to watch out for. And I think anyone is susceptible to getting into a bad place there if the pieces align bad for you. We’ll hopefully stay out of positions like that and try to finish this thing."

Results

Pos Car Driver Team Time Speed
1 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Mountain Dew Chevrolet 50.256 190.544
2 24 Chase Elliott (P) NAPA Chevrolet 50.291 190.412
3 22 Joey Logano Shell Pennzoil Ford 50.301 190.374
4 41 Kurt Busch Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford 50.329 190.268
5 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (P) SunnyD Ford 50.355 190.170
6 2 Brad Keselowski (P) Miller Lite Ford 50.360 190.151
7 14 Clint Bowyer Haas Automation Ford 50.459 189.778
8 48 Jimmie Johnson (P) Lowe's Chevrolet 50.460 189.774
9 21 Ryan Blaney (P) Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford 50.488 189.669
10 6 Trevor Bayne Liberty National Ford 50.491 189.658
11 5 Kasey Kahne Farmers Insurance Chevrolet 50.501 189.620
12 42 Kyle Larson (P) First Data Chevrolet 50.602 189.242
13 10 Danica Patrick Aspen Dental Ford 50.640 189.100
14 19 Daniel Suarez # Camping World Toyota 50.678 188.958
15 11 Denny Hamlin (P) FedEx Ground Toyota 50.715 188.820
16 18 Kyle Busch (P) M&M's Caramel Toyota 50.725 188.783
17 1 Jamie McMurray (P) Cessna Chevrolet 50.725 188.783
18 3 Austin Dillon American Ethanol Chevrolet 50.746 188.705
19 20 Matt Kenseth (P) DEWALT FLEXVOLT Toyota 50.757 188.664
20 27 Paul Menard Knauf/Menards Chevrolet 50.767 188.626
21 78 Martin Truex Jr. (P) Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Toyota 50.788 188.548
22 4 Kevin Harvick (P) Busch Light Outdoors Ford 50.828 188.400
23 77 Erik Jones # 5-hour ENERGY Extra Strength Toyota 50.863 188.270
24 47 AJ Allmendinger Kroger ClickList Chevrolet 50.875 188.226
25 13 Ty Dillon # GEICO Chevrolet 50.877 188.219
26 43 Aric Almirola Smithfield Ford 50.932 188.015
27 31 Ryan Newman Caterpillar Chevrolet 50.957 187.923
28 37 Chris Buescher Bush's Chili Beans Chevrolet 50.966 187.890
29 95 Michael McDowell K-Love Radio Chevrolet 51.040 187.618
30 34 Landon Cassill Love's Travel Stops/CSX Play It Safe Ford 51.098 187.405
31 7 Justin Marks(i) Golden Corral/Katerra Chevrolet 51.101 187.394
32 32 Matt DiBenedetto Can-Am/Kappa Ford 51.168 187.148
33 38 David Ragan Juice Batteries Ford 51.321 186.590
34 33 Jeffrey Earnhardt Hulu Chevrolet 51.434 186.180
35 75 Brendan Gaughan(i) Beard Oil Distributing Chevrolet 51.652 185.395
36 15 Mark Thompson(i) Phoenix Air Chevrolet 51.787 184.911
37 23 Joey Gase(i) Dr Pepper Toyota 51.928 184.409
38 72 Cole Whitt RTIC Chevrolet 51.935 184.384
39 83 Gray Gaulding # Dustless Blasting Toyota 52.379 182.821
40 55 DJ Kennington Dirt and Rock Toyota 52.484 182.456

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