NASCAR Cup Series driver Aric Almirola on Saturday edged a fellow Ford driver to claim the pole position for Sunday’s YellaWood 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.
Almirola, a 38-year-old who remains undecided if he’ll return to the circuit next season, turned a hot lap of 181.656 mph, beating Joey Logano by 0.004 seconds. Almirola, a non-playoff pilot, won the 2018 fall event at the 2.66-mile asphalt track. It’s his sixth career pole.
“You know these races come down to pit stops really, track position at the end and so having a good pit stall, a clean-in and clean-out, stuff like that, that all matters,” Almirola said, as reported by NASCAR.com.
Chase Briscoe, Almirola’s teammate at Stewart-Haas Racing, will start third Sunday, while Kyle Larson, the highest-starting Round of 12 driver, begins on the outside of the second row.
Almirola and Briscoe are positioned to give SHR’s four-machine garage its first win this season.
“It’s not a secret, this has been a tough year for us,” Almirola said. “So to show that kind of grit and resolve with everyone continuing to grind and work and bring fast race cars to the race track. That says a lot about our race team.”
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) September 30, 2023
3 Top Drivers Need To Rally At Dega
Entering the second of three Round of 12 events, three veterans – and two former Cup champions – see turnaround efforts at Talladega.
For Ryan Blaney, his track record suggests he could rally from being 11 points below the cutoff line. Since 2017, the No. 12 Ford pilot has led laps during nine of his past 10 appearances at the 2.66-mile asphalt track. In 2019, Blaney won by 0.007 seconds.
Kyle Busch, the two-time series titleholder, enters Sunday 17 points behind No. 8-ranked Kyle Larson, but captured the checkered flag during the spring event at Dega.
Larson may be in line to advance to the next round, but he has struggled at Talladega. The 2021 Cup champ registered just three top-10 finishes in his past 17 starts. Entering Sunday, Larson leads No. 9 Bubba Wallace by just two points and No. 10 Tyler Reddick by three. The No. 5 Chevrolet driver had a strong car at Texas Motor Speedway, but wrecked and finished P31. Larson needs a clean ride Sunday.
— NASCAR on NBC (@NASCARonNBC) September 29, 2023
Starting Lineup for NASCAR Cup Series’ YellaWood 500
Here is a look at the lineup for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series’ YellaWood 500 at Talladega Superspeedway:
Starting Position, Driver, Car No., Team
- 1, Aric Almirola, 10, Stewart-Haas Racing
- 2, Joey Logano, 22, Team Penske
- 3, Chase Briscoe, 14, Stewart-Haas Racing
- 4, Kyle Larson, 5, Hendrick Motorsports
- 5, Brad Keselowski, 6, RFK Racing
- 6, Riley Herbst, 36, Front Row Motorsports
- 7, Austin Cindric, 2, Team Penske
- 8, William Byron, 24, Hendrick Motorsports
- 9, Bubba Wallace, 23, 23XI Racing
- 10, Ryan Blaney, 12, Team Penske
- 11, Kevin Harvick, 4, Stewart-Haas Racing
- 12, Denny Hamlin, 11, Joe Gibbs Racing
- 13, Tyler Reddick, 45, 23XI Racing
- 14, Austin Dillon, 3, Richard Childress Racing
- 15, Christopher Bell, 20, Joe Gibbs Racing
- 16, Martin Truex Jr., 19, Joe Gibbs Racing
- 17, Todd Gilliland, 38, Front Row Motorsports
- 18, Michael McDowell, 34, Front Row Motorsports
- 19, Ryan Preece, 41, Stewart-Haas Racing
- 20, Alex Bowman, 48, Hendrick Motorsports
- 21, Harrison Burton, 21, Wood Brothers Racing
- 22, Ty Gibbs, 54, Joe Gibbs Racing
- 23, Chase Elliott, 9, Hendrick Motorsports
- 24, Chris Buescher, 17, RFK Racing
- 25, Kyle Busch, 8, Richard Childress Racing
- 26, Erik Jones, 43, Legacy Motor Club
- 27, JJ Yeley, 51, Rick Ware Racing
- 28, Daniel Suarez, 99, Trackhouse Racing
- 29, Brennan Poole, 15, Rick Ware Racing
- 30, Justin Haley, 31, Kaulig Racing
- 31, AJ Allmendinger, 16, Kaulig Racing
- 32, Ross Chastain, 1, Trackhouse Racing
- 33, Ty Dillon, 77, Spire Motorsports
- 34, Chandler Smith, 13, Kaulig Racing
- 35, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., 47, JTG Daugherty Racing
- 36, Corey LaJoie, 7, Spire Motorsports
- 37, BJ McLeod, 78, Live Fast Motorsports
- 38, Carson Hocevar, 42, Legacy Motor Club
— TobyChristie.com (@TobyChristieCom) September 30, 2023