MENCS: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Scores Alabama 500 Pole at Talladega

Dale Earnhardt Jr. will lead the field to green on Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway in the No. 88 Mountain Dew Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports. Earnhardt Jr. posted a 50.256, 190.544 mph. lap in the final round of qualifying to score his 15th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series pole.

“We got a pole earlier this year at Daytona. We’ve been fighting our teammate, Chase (Elliott) and his group for poles at these tracks for a long time and it’s been a lot of fun to be honest with you, how these two teams have pushed and elevated each other,” said Earnhardt Jr. after earning the pole. “Really, all the credit for getting a pole at a place like this goes to the team and goes to the car and the guys that work on it, the engine, the body men; we’ve got an amazing staff back at Charlotte that builds some awesome stuff.  I just hold the wheel straight and try not to bounce into the apron, but get as close to it as you can and make sure you run a clean lap. But there ain’t much to it as a driver. This place has meant a lot to me. It’s awesome to hear those fans happy for us and hopefully we’re going to give them a lot more to cheer about before this weekend is over.”

Earnhardt Jr. comes into the Alabama 500 looking to score the first win since his last in 2015 at Phoenix International Raceway in November. If he accomplishes the feat on Sunday, Earnhardt Jr. will have amassed seven total victories across 35 starts at the 2.66-mile oval.

“Certainly. You think about that every time you suit-up and get in the car, you imagine if that’s going to be the day you get a win,” said Earnhardt Jr. when asked how much a win tomorrow would mean. “But, this would be a real important one if we could win for all the fans, all year long, we certainly owe them a win and it would be great to get them one on Sunday.”

Chase Elliott will be the highest starting NASCAR Playoff driver in second. Elliott, Earnhardt Jr’s teammate, posted a 50.291, 190.412 mph. in the final round. The Georgia native finished round one sitting third on the leaderboard behind Joey Logano.

“I don’t think so, but congrats to Dale (Earnhardt Jr.) and the No. 88 team,” said Elliott when asked what else he could’ve done during his lap. “They do a good job. Our team does great with this stuff. We definitely have a knack for it. We just hope that we can run good tomorrow and it lasts over the long haul. As hot as it is down here I think it’s going to be pretty important and we’ll try to finish this thing. We’ll see.”

Elliott enters the Alabama 500 coming off of two consecutive second-place finishes at Dover and Charlotte. Through 30 events this season, he holds nine top five and 17 top 10 finishes as he looks to capture his first career win in the series.

Joey Logano will round out the top three starters on Sunday afternoon. Logano posted a 50.301, 190.374 mph. in the final round. In round one of qualifying, Logano sat second on the leaderboard behind leader Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. enters Talladega Superspeedway with plenty of momentum on Sunday. Stenhouse will try and go three for four on plate tracks this season as he won at Talladega in May and at Daytona in July. The Mississippi native will start fifth.’

Stenhouse Jr’s teammate Trevor Bayne also had a solid qualifying effort for Roush Fenway Racing. Bayne, with a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory at Daytona in 2011, will start 10th on Sunday.

Kyle Larson, one of the championship contenders,  will round out the top 12 starters.

See where your favorite NASCAR Playoff driver will start:

POS

CAR

DRIVER

2

24

Chase Elliott

5

17

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

6

2

Brad Keselowski

8

48

Jimmie Johnson

9

21

Ryan Blaney

12

42

Kyle Larson

15

11

Denny Hamlin

16

18

Kyle Busch

17

1

Jamie McMurray

19

20

Matt Kenseth

21

78

Martin Truex Jr.

22

4

Kevin Harvick


There were no DNQs as 40 drivers appeared on the weekend entry list at Talladega.

Brett Winningham

Brett has been following the sport of NASCAR since the beginning of the 2006 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. Since Brett was 13, he has had a passion of chasing a job in sports that not many get the opportunity of doing. He has been in the NASCAR media since the middle of the 2010 season. Since then, he has been a part of many racing podcast shows to improve his talents. You can find him on twitter @NASCAR_Brett.