Youth over experience was the order of the day at Talladega Superspeedway Saturday. Chase Elliott, in his first trip to NASCAR’s biggest speedway in a Sprint Cup car, grabbed the pole Saturday and for the second time in his brief Sprint Cup career will lead the field to the green Sunday. Elliott’s first career pole came in the season opening Daytona 500.
“Like I said in Daytona, this is all team guys,” Elliott said. “This had nothing to do with me and they have brought a fast car back.”
Elliott went out 11th of 12 cars in final round of two rounds of qualifying and put down a lap of 49.70 seconds, 192.66 mph for his second career Sprint Cup pole in just 14 starts. Austin Dillon driving the iconic number 3 car for Richard Childress Racing came up just short as the last driver out in the final round and will roll off second Sunday. Dale Earnhardt Jr. wheeling the same car he won with here last year will start third followed by Matt Kenseth and Jimmie Johnson.
The pole for young Elliott came on an historic day at Talladega. On April 30, 1987, Elliott’s famous father Bill ran the fastest qualifying lap in NASCAR history, 212.809, a record that stands to this day.
“That is pretty special,” Elliott said. “This has always been a special place to him and certainly great to be here and have the opportunity in Sprint Cup.”
Dillon led the first of two rounds of qualifying that consisted of single car, single lap runs. Elliott was second. As the two young drivers raced to the top of the board to advance several NASCAR veterans struggled. Chief among them were Kyle and Kurt Busch along with Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick. Kyle will start 17th, Kurt beside him in 18th; Logano will start 22nd, Harvick 29th.
“We just didn’t have a ton of speed in single car runs,” Logano said. “I guess we didn’t really expect it though…Overall it is what it is at this point and we will move forward. I think I have a good Shell Pennzoil Ford for the race. It drafted well yesterday and handles really well. That is always nice when you are here and it is hot out. You want a car that can handle in a pack of three or four cars and then you don’t mind getting pushed around. Look for the old 22 to be aggressive as normal.”
Ty Dillon subbing for Tony Stewart and the driver who will take over Sunday for Stewart after Stewart starts the race, qualified 14th.
“I’m really comfortable in the car,” the younger of the Dillon brothers said. “The interior of the racecar is based off of my preferences. Tony, I think he is kind of dealing with it for the time he is in the car. Excited for tomorrow, it’s going to be a different deal for us. The car is really fast. That makes it even more fun.”
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will start sixth, Brad Keselowski seventh and Denny Hamlin, the only driver to advance to the final round of qualifying this season will start 8th. Carl Edwards and Paul Menard round out the top 10. The full lineup can be found here.
Josh Wise was the only driver not to qualify for Sunday’s race. The GIECO 500 will get the green flag just after at 1:00 p.m. ET Sunday with live coverage on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.