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NASCAR Cup: Chase Elliott leads Hendrick top-four in Talladega qualifying

TALLADEGA, ALABAMA – OCTOBER 12: Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Night Vision Chevrolet, poses with the Pole Award after posting the quickest lap during qualifying for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series 1000Bulbs.com 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 12, 2019 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

By AMANDA VINCENT

A 49.692-second/192.707 mph lap in Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series qualifying at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway garnered Chase Elliott the pole starting spot for Sunday’s 1000Bulbs.com 500, the second race in the second round of the 2019 Cup Series playoffs. It is his fourth pole of the season and his eighth-career pole, his second at Talladega.

“We had a really fast NAPA Night Vision Camaro, there,” Elliott said. “It was really faster than I was expecting it to be today, which is nice. And Alan (Gustafson, crew chief) and our team do such a good job at these places. Really, Hendrick, as a whole, and our body shop and our engine shop doing the job that they do coming to these places and have fast race cars and really, it’s kind of on them. So I’m really proud of the effort. It was a tough week last week, obviously, so it’s just nice to come back and get a pole. Obviously, it’s a long race and anything can happen. So we’ve got to take advantage of a good pit pick, and we’ll go to work from there and see what happens.”

Elliott led a Hendrick Motorsports domination of qualifying. HMS claimed the top-four positions on the starting grid. Alex Bowman claimed second to start alongside Elliott on the front row. Meanwhile, William Byron and Jimmie Johnson claimed the second-row starting positions. Elliott, Bowman and Byron were the only drivers among the 40 making qualifying attempts to post laps over 192 mph.

“I’ve got three teammates behind you, but then, not a lot of Chevrolets back behind that for a little while. So there are a bunch of other guys stacked in between us, so we’ll see. I’m sure these games will be played pretty early. And, hopefully, we can stay up front and grab some stage points and, hopefully, get a win.”

Ford took the other six starting positions inside the top-10. The best of the rest was Aric Almirola in fifth. Other top-10 qualifiers included Brad Keselowski in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in seventh, Clint Bowyer eighth, Ryan Blaney ninth and Joey Logano in 10th.

Ryan Newman went out early, seventh, and sat on the provisional pole until Aric Almirola went out 25th in the qualifying order to take the provisional top spot. Elliott went out two cars later to take the provisional pole and hold it through the remainder of the session.

Byron went out 29th and Johnson 32nd to join Elliott inside the top-three. Bowman, then, made his attempt right after Johnson and moved two of his teammates each down a position on the grid.

Denny Hamlin was the worst qualifier Saturday. He wound up last after an engine problem.

“Broke an engine halfway down the backstretch,” Hamlin told the Motor Racing Network.

All four Joe Gibbs Racing teammates were outside the top-10 at the end of qualifying. Erik Jones was best of the JGR group in 11th, the highest-qualifying Toyota driver. Martin Truex Jr. wound up 18th and Kyle Busch 26th.

Below, is the complete starting grid for the 1000Bulbs.com 500 at Talladega Superspeedway:

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Posted by on October 12, 2019. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,Monster Energy NASCAR Cup,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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