The ‘Dinger Strikes Back, Beats Former Team For Pole

By Toby Christie (Originally appeared on

What’s black, blue, and weird all over? Not Scott Speed’s hair, not anymore that is.

This week Speed shaved off the hair-do (at the request of his wife Amanda).

“I had to shave the black hair because it was bad luck it seems,” Speed said following qualifying.

Perhaps it has added some kind of aerodynamic advantage, as Speed was very “Speedy” Friday at Phoenix International Raceway. Speed turned a lap of 134.373 mph which was good, but not quite good enough for the pole.

That honor goes to the man who Speed replaced at Red Bull Racing. I’m of course talking about A.J. Allmendinger. “Dinger” got temporary revenge against his former team by cranking out a lap of 134.675 mph, and capturing his first career Sprint Cup Series pole.

After qualifying was over I asked Allmendinger if beating his former team for the pole made it all the more sweet.

“No, I didn’t even think about it at all. I didn’t even notice there was a Red Bull car on the pole,” Allmendinger jokingly replied, “I am not going to lie I told Scott after qualifying that i was either going to run a 26.70 or a 29.0. I didn’t know which one because I was going to drive it down in there and hopefully it stuck.”

Add the fact that Sam Hornish Jr. qualified third, and Marcos Ambrose starts fourth and what you have is the most unpredictable top-four to start a race ever.

The rest of the top-ten is filled with some more familiar names. Dale Earnhardt Jr. will start fifth tomorrow night, followed by Joey Logano, Juan Montoya, Martin Truex Jr., Carl Edwards, and Jeff Gordon.

If you are wondering where point leader Jimmie Johnson is starting, he will roll off from the 16th position. He had a very loose car during his qualifying run.

There are four cars that will be going home this week. Those drivers are: Mike Bliss, Aric Almirola, Brandon Ash, and David Stremme.

Author: Toby Christie

Toby is the Editor of and Social Media Director of all things @TheFinalLap. He is the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly radio show and podcast, and he is the writer and co-host of the Racing Legends podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed the sport as a fan since 1993.

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