Chase Elliott gets another plate pole at Talladega
Chase Elliott celebrates the Geico 500 pole at Talladega Superspeedway on April 30, 2016 (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR).
By AMANDA VINCENT
Chase Elliott took his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series restrictor-plate race pole record to two for two on Saturday by claiming the pole for Sunday’s Geico 500 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, the second of four restrictor-plate races on the 2016 schedule. Elliott also was the pole sitter for the season-opening Daytona 500 in February.
“It’s, obviously, really special,” Elliott said. “They were just telling me that on this day 30 years ago, I think, Dad set the record here. That’s pretty special. This has always been a special place to him and, certainly, great to be here and have the opportunity in Sprint Cup, Hendrick Motorsports, NAPA Auto Parts to come be a part of this weekend. Like I said in Daytona, this is all team guys. This had nothing to do with me, and they have brought a fast car back. This is our same car that we ran at Daytona.”
Elliott’s father, NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott, set the Talladega track qualifying record 29 years earlier, to the day — April 30, 1987. While the Elder Elliott’s lap speed in 1987 was over 200 mph, Chase Elliott’s pole-winning lap on Saturday clocked in at 192.661 mph/49.704 seconds.
His latest pole continues Hendrick Motorsport pole at the plate track of Daytona and Talladega, as HMS has claimed all Sprint Cup poles at the two tracks since 2014.
Elliott will be joined on the front row by Austin Dillon. Elliott and Dillon also were the fastest two drivers in round one of the two-round session of single-car qualifying, but in the first round, Dillon was fastest with a 49.669-second/192.796 mph lap.
“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.”
Here’s the complete starting grid for the Geico 500 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway:
Row 1 — Chase Elliott (No. 24 Chevrolet), Austin Dillon (No. 3 Chevrolet)
Row 2 — Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 88 Chevrolet), Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Toyota)
Row 3 — Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Chevrolet), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (No. 17 Ford)
Row 4 — Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Ford), Denny Hamlin (No. 11 Toyota)
Row 5 — Carl Edwards (No. 19 Toyota), Paul Menard (No. 27 Chevrolet)
Row 6 — Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Chevrolet), Martin Truex Jr. (No. 78 Toyota)
Row 7 — Trevor Bayne (No. 6 Ford), Ty Dillon (No. 14 Chevrolet)
Row 8 — Ryan Newman (No. 31 Chevrolet), Greg Biffle (No. 16 Ford)
Row 9 — Kyle Busch (No. 18 Toyota), Kurt Busch (No. 41 Chevrolet)
Row 10 — Ryan Blaney (No. 21 Ford), Casey Mears (No. 13 Chevrolet)
Row 11 — Brian Scott (No. 44 Ford), Joey Logano (No. 22 Ford)
Row 12 — Aric Almirola (No. 43 Ford), Kyle Larson (No. 42 Chevrolet)
Row 13 — Regan Smith (No. 7 Chevrolet), Bobby Labonte (No. 32 Ford)
Row 14 — Chris Buescher (No. 34 Ford), A.J. Allmendinger (No. 47 Chevrolet)
Row 15 — Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Chevrolet), Jamie McMurray (No. 1 Chevrolet)
Row 16 — Michael McDowell (No. 95 Chevrolet), Landon Cassill (No. 38 Ford)
Row 17 — Michael Waltrip (No. 55 Toyota), Clint Bowyer (No. 15 Chevrolet)
Row 18 — Matt DiBenedetto (No. 83 Toyota), Cole Whitt (No. 98 Toyota)
Row 19 — Danica Patrick (No. 10 Chevrolet), Michael Annett (No. 46 Chevrolet)
Row 20 — David Gilliland (No. 35 Ford), David Ragan (No. 23 Toyota)