Chase Elliott On The Pole For Talladega Superspeedway’s GEICO 500by Hunter Thomas April 30, 2016 0 comments
TALLADEGA, Ala. – Chase Elliott won the Coors Light 21 means 21 Pole Award on Saturday afternoon at Talladega Superspeedway.
Elliott’s pole sitting lap for Sunday’s GEICO 500 was a run of 49.704 seconds at 192.661 mph. The effort is only his second career pole in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. He sat on the pole earlier this year for the Daytona 500. In fact, the car that Elliott is running this weekend is the same one that he piloted at Daytona International Speedway back in February.
“Well, obviously I have a lot to learn,” Elliott said. “The race last time at Daytona didn’t go so good. Hopefully for me, I’ll just try to take what I learned and try to cut down those dumb mistakes that I made in the Daytona 500 this year and just try to be smarter. We have a great pit box, which I think is big here for pit road and track position. It’s so important at the end of the day. The first thing is making to the end and obviously I didn’t do a very good job of that in February. So, I think that’s our first goal is to try to get to the end of the race; and if we can get there, just try to be smart.”
Austin Dillon will start alongside of Elliott on Sunday. The runner-up effort marks Dillon’s fifth top-10 start this season and only his second at Talladega Superspeedway. Dillon was the fastest during Round 1 of qualifying and yesterday, he was 18th in first practice and ninth in final practice.
“The No. 24 car has won all the poles the last two years at speedways it seems like,” Dillon said. “To be that close to him and we know we can get a little better here and there, but that is just the big pick up. I think we qualified 24th here the last race. Huge pick up for us and we are excited for the race.”
Starting third will be six-time Talladega Superspeedway winner, Dale Earnhardt Jr. He now has 15 top-10 starts at the track; however, the third place effort is only his second top-10 this season. Earnhardt Jr. was seventh in Round 1 of qualifying. In opening practice on Friday, Earnhardt Jr. was 32nd on the speed chart, but he jumped up to seventh in final practice.
“We picked up a little bit,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “I was just talking with Kasey (Kahne) about our lines and what we did different. We think we saw a little bit out there that makes a difference. We were able to pick up a little bit. It’s hard to move forward in the second round at speedways. Usually what you’ve got in the first round is what you’ve got in the second round, but we jumped a couple of guys and got a better starting spot.”
Joe Gibbs Racing’s Matt Kenseth and Hendrick Motorsports’ Jimmie Johnson will round out the top-five, followed by Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin, Carl Edwards and Pail Menard.
The GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway will broadcast live on FOX and the Motor Racing Network (MRN) at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday.
Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images