E.A. Sports Today

Elliott grabs pole

NASCAR’s most popular driver turns fast lap of 192.707 to sit on pole for chance for season sweep at Talladega

Race fans enjoy the offerings of Big Bill’s Social Club, the centerpiece of the Talladega Garage Experience.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today
 
TALLADEGA – Anything can happen at Talladega. It’s one of the few tracks where a driver can win the race regardless where he starts.
 
But Chase Elliott is feeling pretty good about his prospects for completing a rare season sweep at the track when he won the pole for Sunday’s 1000Bulbs.com 500 Saturday.
 
Elliott, the winner of the spring’s GEICO 500, posted a fast lap of 192.707 for his eighth career Monster Energy Cup pole, fourth this season and second at Talladega. 
 
Alex Bowman grabbed the outside pole with a 192.552.
 
“I feel like our car has pace, which is a good thing,” Elliott said. “Typically in these races cars that have pace tend to kind of set the standard and are able to do some things you wouldn’t be able to do if your car didn’t have pace. So, I would much rather have it on my side than not.
 
“Can you still win without those little extra things here and there? Yes. But I do think it is a good thing to have if you do and luckily I feel like our car does. Hopefully it drives well tomorrow and I’m sure as we start the race we’ll see some gamesmanship being placed among the manufacturers and I’m sure that will pull them up very quickly.”
 
A win Sunday would give Elliott a Talladega season sweep his two-time Talladega-winning father Bill Elliott never attained despite his status as one of the greatest superspeedway racers in the sport.
 
During Talladega’s 50 years there have been seven season sweeps – Pete Hamilton (1970), Buddy Baker (1975), Darrell Waltrip (1982), Dale Earnhardt (1990 and 1999), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2002) and Jeff Gordon (2007).
 
Elliott credits the April win to avoiding the inevitable wrecks and cooperating with fellow Chevy drivers.
 
“We made a pretty conscious effort with our manufacturer to try and do a better job of working together,” Elliott said. “It worked at Talladega. Hopefully it works out (again).”
 
William Byron (192.258) and Jimmie Johnson (191.566) landed on the second row.

1000Bulbs.com 500 Lineup

Row 1Chase ElliottAlex Bowman
Row 2William ByronJimmie Johnson
Row 3Aric AlmirolaBrad Keselowski
Row 4Ricky Stenhouse Jr.Clint Bowyer
Row 5Ryan BlaneyJoey Logano
Row 6Erik JonesKyle Larson
Row 7Ryan NewmanPaul Menard
Row 8Kevin HarvickMatt Tifft
Row 9David RaganMartin Truex Jr.
Row 10Daniel SuarezAustin Dillon
Row 11Ty DillonMichael McDowell
Row 12Chris BuescherKurt Busch
Row 13Landon CassillKyle Busch
Row 14Bubba WallaceBrendan Gaughan
Row 15Daniel HemricRyan Preece
Row 16Matt DiBenedettoParker Kligerman
Row 17Corey LaJoieRoss Chastain
Row 18Blake JonesJoey Gase
Row 19Austin TheriaultReed Sorenson
Row 20Spencer BoydDenny Hamlin
Race fans get an up-close look at teams working on Monster Energy Cup cars, one of the perks of the Talladega Garage Experience. The top 22 teams are positioned on either side of Big Bill’s Social Club.

All photos by Jonathan Fordham

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