Both Stewart-Haas Racing and Ford Performance have found a sweet spot when it comes to qualifying on superspeedways in the NASCAR Cup Series, scoring the pole for Sunday’s YellaWood 500 at Talladega Superspeedway with driver Aric Almirola.
Driving the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang, Almirola was able to secure his second pole of the year with a strong lap of 52.715 seconds (181.656mph), narrowly beating out defending NASCAR Cup Series champion Joey Logano.
Logano, who was eliminated from the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs following Bristol, will start alongside Almirola for Sunday’s 500-mile contest, after posting a lap just four-thousandths slower than that of the eventual polesitter.
Chase Briscoe completed a sweep of the top-three positions for Ford, posting he third-quickest time in the final round of time trials on Saturday, which will allow him to start directly behind his Stewart-Haas teammate.
Kyle Larson was the quickest Chevrolet-backed driver in Saturday’s qualifying and will start in fourth place, while Brad Keselowski continued the Ford Performance party with a starting position inside the top five.
Riley Herbst, a regular in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, matched a career-high sixth-place starting spot at NASCAR’s top-level, as he returns to the seat of a third entry for Front Row Motorsports, carrying the No. 36. Austin Cindric, William Byron, Bubba Wallace, and Ryan Blaney completed the top-10.
Denny Hamlin (12th), Tyler Reddick (13th), Christopher Bell (15th), Martin Truex, Jr. (16th), Chris Buescher (24th), Kyle Busch (25th), and Ross Chastain (32nd) are the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff drivers that failed to advance to the final round of qualifying.
Carson Hocevar, driving the No. 42 for LEGACY MOTOR CLUB, will start from last place in Sunday’s event at Talladega, after failing to post a lap in NASCAR Cup Series qualifying from the 2.66-mile superspeedway.