Chase Elliott, driver of the #24 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, won the Coors Light 21 means 21 Pole Award at Talladega Superspeedway for the 47th Annual GEICO 500. Elliott had a top speed of 192.661 mph, rounding the track in 49.704 seconds scoring the 208th Cup pole for Hendrick Motorsports.
This is Elliott’s second career pole in 15 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races in his rookie season; he won the pole at Daytona International Speedway for the season opener, both tracks are restrictor-plate tracks. Chase’s father Bill Elliott, former series champion and Hall of Fame inductee holds the qualifying track record at 212.809 mph set on this day in 1987, in the pre-restrictor-plate-era at Talladega, eight years before Chase was born.
“It had nothing to do with me,” Elliott said crediting his crew. “This is the same car we had at Daytona. It didn’t come home in one piece. They had to fix it. Pit selection is very important and I think that becomes a big factor at the end of the day when you come down pit road with a big group of cars and being able to have that first box is big.”
Elliott wrecked early in the Daytona 500, bringing out the first caution on Lap 18, his crew would repair the #24 Chevrolet with Elliott returning to the track 40 laps down gaining experience, ultimately he would finish 37th at Daytona.
Austin Dillon, who topped the speed charts during Round 1 of qualifying, will start alongside Elliott in the #3 Dow Energy &Water/Intellifresh Chevrolet. Followed by six-time Talladega winner and defending race winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. in third. Matt Kenseth will start in fourth with Jimmie Johnson rounding out the top five.
Earnhardt Jr. said his strategy for Sunday was simple. “We’d love to lead every lap. And that’s what we’re going to try to do.”
Just like Elliott’s Daytona car, Earnhardt Jr.’s car needed extensive repairs following Daytona. But the car nicknamed ‘Amelia’ returned to the track at Talladega, Earnhardt Jr. has garnered two victories with the racecar that has been his primary car for the past five restrictor plate tracks.
The GEICO 500 event will begin at 1 p.m. ET with race coverage on FOX.