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Austin Dillon tops Almirola to win Cup pole at Talladega

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Austin Dillon tops Almirola to win Cup pole at Talladega
By:
Apr 27, 2019, 10:20 PM

Austin Dillon helped bookend a successful day at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway for Richard Childress Racing.

Not long after RCR driver Tyler Reddick won the Xfinity Series race Saturday afternoon, Dillon won the pole for Sunday’s GEICO 500.

Dillon’s average lap speed in the final round of qualifying (192.544 mph) just edged Aric Almirola (192.131 mph).

The pole is Dillon’s second of the 2019 season and fifth of his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career.

“This is a great starting position,” said Dillon, who turned 29 years old Saturday. “Starting position is one thing but finishing the race tomorrow is the big thing. We’ve got to go out there and gain as many points as we can.

“The great thing is we have a fast car. So, we just need to keep this momentum building.”

Dillon said he felt he spun his tires in the first round, which may have cost him a little speed but not in the final round.

“I took a different approach (in the final round) getting up to speed and I think it helped it jump up there a little bit more to get (Almirola). I hope that’s what it was,” he said.

“I think the race is going to be wild. You can get such big runs on the guy in front of you. You better hope that the guy behind you getting that run makes a good move and doesn’t take you out of the race.”

Whatever Dillon’s result Sunday, his No. 3 Chevrolet team could still face a severe penalty from NASCAR after inspectors confiscated the rear deck lid off his car on Friday.

Clint Bowyer was third, Brad Keselowski was fourth and Dillon’s teammate, Daniel Hemric, completed the top-five.

Rounding out the top 12 starters are Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ryan Blaney, Joey Logano, Alex Bowman, Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott and Michael McDowell.

Round 1

Almirola, who won this race a year ago, led the way in the first round of qualifying with an average lap speed of 192.324 mph.

Austin Dillon was second (192.108 mph) and Keselowski was third (191.336 mph). Hemric and Bowyer completed the top-five.

Also advancing to the final round were Blaney, McDowell, Larson, Stenhouse, Bowman, Logano and Elliott.

“It seems like in the past, cars go a little quicker in the second round,” Elliott said. “We’ll see what happens and then go to work for tomorrow.”

Among those who failed to advance were all four Joe Gibbs Racing drivers – Kyle Busch, Erik Jones, Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. Truex was the best of the bunch and will line up 20th in Sunday’s race.

Also failing to advance were Kurt Busch, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Bubba Wallace and Jeffrey Earnhardt.

Kurt Busch’s No. 1 Chevrolet failed pre-qualifying inspection twice and saw the team’s car chief ejected for the weekend. Busch will also lose 15 minutes of practice time next weekend at Dover, Del.

Cla # Driver Manufacturer Time Gap Mph
1 3 United States Austin Dillon  Chevrolet 49.734   192.544
2 10 United States Aric Almirola  Ford 49.841 0.107 192.131
3 14 United States Clint Bowyer  Ford 49.947 0.213 191.723
4 2 United States Brad Keselowski  Ford 49.965 0.231 191.654
5 8 United States Daniel Hemric  Chevrolet 50.022 0.288 191.436
6 17 United States Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  Ford 50.037 0.303 191.378
7 12 United States Ryan Blaney  Ford 50.080 0.346 191.214
8 22 United States Joey Logano  Ford 50.112 0.378 191.092
9 88 United States Alex Bowman  Chevrolet 50.164 0.430 190.894
10 42 United States Kyle Larson  Chevrolet 50.193 0.459 190.784
11 9 United States Chase Elliott  Chevrolet 50.201 0.467 190.753
12 34 United States Michael McDowell  Ford 50.251 0.517 190.563
13 13 United States Ty Dillon  Chevrolet 50.310 0.576 190.340
14 1 United States Kurt Busch  Chevrolet 50.316 0.582 190.317
15 38 United States David Ragan  Ford 50.344 0.610 190.211
16 41 Mexico Daniel Suarez  Ford 50.419 0.685 189.928
17 21 United States Paul Menard  Ford 50.421 0.687 189.921
18 36 United States Matt Tifft  Ford 50.447 0.713 189.823
19 4 United States Kevin Harvick  Ford 50.450 0.716 189.812
20 19 United States Martin Truex Jr.  Toyota 50.482 0.748 189.691
21 48 United States Jimmie Johnson  Chevrolet 50.519 0.785 189.552
22 18 United States Kyle Busch  Toyota 50.593 0.859 189.275
23 11 United States Denny Hamlin  Toyota 50.596 0.862 189.264
24 6 United States Ryan Newman  Ford 50.614 0.880 189.197
25 24 United States William Byron  Chevrolet 50.699 0.965 188.879
26 95 United States Matt DiBenedetto  Toyota 50.817 1.083 188.441
27 20 United States Erik Jones  Toyota 50.821 1.087 188.426
28 43 United States Darrell Wallace Jr.  Chevrolet 50.870 1.136 188.245
29 62 United States Tyler Reddick  Chevrolet 51.170 1.436 187.141
30 47 United States Ryan Preece  Chevrolet 51.269 1.535 186.780
31 37 United States Chris Buescher  Chevrolet 51.374 1.640 186.398
32 00 United States Landon Cassill  Chevrolet 51.382 1.648 186.369
33 81 United States Jeffrey Earnhardt  Toyota 51.432 1.698 186.188
34 15 United States Ross Chastain  Chevrolet 51.800 2.066 184.865
35 96 United States Parker Kligerman  Toyota 52.081 2.347 183.867
36 32 United States Corey Lajoie  Ford 52.100 2.366 183.800
37 27 United States Reed Sorenson  Chevrolet 52.184 2.450 183.505
38 77 United States Justin Haley  Chevrolet 52.197 2.463 183.459
39 52 Stanton Barrett  Chevrolet 52.984 3.250 180.734
40 51 Cody Ware  Ford 53.148 3.414 180.176
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Rear deck lid of Austin Dillon's No. 3 car taken by NASCAR

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The battle lines are clearly drawn for Sunday's Talladega race

The battle lines are clearly drawn for Sunday's Talladega race
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About this article

Series NASCAR Cup
Event Talladega
Author Jim Utter