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Elliott leads the way, wins pole at Talladega as Hendrick sweeps top four spots


Chase Elliott claimed the Busch Pole Award at Talladega Superspeedway Saturday evening while his teammates followed for a Hendrick Motorsports sweep of the top four starting positions.

His qualifying lap of 192.707 mph earned Elliott his fourth pole of the season and his eighth career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series pole. It was his second pole at the 2.66-mile track. Elliott also won the spring race at the track and is hoping for a repeat.

When asked about the odds of winning again, he was optimistic but is not taking anything for granted.

“To me, I feel like our car has pace, which is a good thing,” Elliott replied.

“Typically in these races, cars that have pace tend to kind of set the standard and are able to do some things that you wouldn’t be able to do if your car didn’t have pace. I would much rather have pace on my side than not.

“Can you still win without those little extra things here and there? Yes. But I do think it is a good thing to have if you do. And luckily, I feel like our car does. Hopefully it drives well tomorrow. And, I’m sure as we start the race, we’ll see some gamesmanship being played amongst the manufacturers and I’m sure that’ll form-up very quickly.”

Hendrick Motorsports teammates Alex Bowman (192.552 mph), William Byron (192.258 mph) and Jimmie Johnson (191.566 mph) will follow Elliott in the lineup after qualifying second, third and fourth.

Byron is hoping the teammates can stay up front together.

“I’ve got three teammates behind but then not a lot of Chevrolets back behind that for a little while,” he noted. “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 drivers Aric Almirola, Brad Keselowski, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Clint Bowyer, Ryan Blaney and Joey Logano rounded out the top-10 qualifiers.

Logano spoke about the significance of the car manufacturers working together.

“We’ve got to stay open to doing what our competition is doing and trying to do what they do better than them. That’s what we’ve got to try to do, but it seems like now more than ever the teamwork aspect has really come into play more than it’s ever been,” Keselowski said. “I say teamwork, not just Penske – we’re talking about all the Fords or all the Chevys or Toyotas. Everyone really seems to be committed to each other and it’s really changed the game a lot.”

Of the remaining playoff drivers, Kyle Larson will start 12th, Kevin Harvick 15th, Martin Truex Jr. 18th, Kyle Busch 26th and Denny Hamlin will start in 40th after an engine failure during qualifying.

You can tune into Sunday’s 500 at 2 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Follow @angiecampbell_ for the latest NASCAR news and feature stories.
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Angela Campbell
A native of Charlotte, NC, Angela (Angie) was first introduced to racing by her father. An avid fan of NASCAR, she found a way to combine her love of racing with her passion for writing. Angie is also an award-winning member of the National Motorsports Press Association. Follow her on Twitter @angiecampbell_ for the latest NASCAR news and feature stories.


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