Ala. - Step into the Talladega Time Machine, please.
Elliott led the single-car qualifying pack to win the pole
for Sunday’s Geico 500. Consider it a nice homage to his
father, Bill Elliott, who set the all-time NASCAR
qualifying record of 212.809 mph here on April 30, 1987,
to capture the Winston 500 pole at Talladega.
is definitely a special place,” Chase Elliott said.
“It’s cool to get it done today.”
connective tissue to NASCAR’s past greats did not stop
there. No. 24 is on the pole. No. 3 will be second in
line, as Austin Dillon starts alongside Elliott.
throwback move to the days of Jeff Gordon (24) and Dale
Earnhardt Sr. (3).
this is cool,” Elliott said. “Those guys do such a
good job. And as I said in Daytona, this had nothing to do
with me. This is the car that we had. This is the same car
we had in Daytona. They brought another fast one here.”
— a rookie replacing Gordon on the iconic No. 24 this
season — led the first three laps at Daytona, but his
car took a spin off Turn 4 and nose-dived into the infield
grass on the Daytona International Speedway after the 18th
obviously, is to stick around for the finish.
obviously I have a lot to learn,” Elliott said. “The
race last time at Daytona didn’t go so good. Hopefully
for me, I’ll just try to take what I learned and try to
cut down those dumb mistakes that I made in the Daytona
500 this year and just try to be smarter.”
Elliott’s fifth top-10 start this season, as he tries to
nudge his way toward the Top 10 in the Cup standings. He
currently stands 11th.
Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Dale Earnhardt Jr., will
start third in his favorite restrictor-plate car he has
nicknamed “Amelia” (after Amelia Earhart). Chevy now
has the top three qualifying positions, trying to offset
the recent dominance of the Joe Gibbs Racing team.
will be looking for first Cup win, driving for Richard
would be huge,” he said. “There’s a lot of history
here from Dale and RCR. Good stuff happens for RCR
Elliott’s qualifying speed of 192.424 mph is reflective
of an evolving NASCAR business model with a premium on
safety. Not long after Bill Elliott’s record-run, NASCAR
mandated restrictor plates at its super speedways in
Talladega and Daytona.
plates cut down on the speed, but that only makes the
chaos more manageable. Everyone talks about the Big One
leading up to the races here, and those expectations are
to a lottery feel in every race, with winners and losers
predicated on who can manage to avoid the pile of cars
flying all over the track after some misguided move by
somebody scrambling to the front.
lonesome loser was Joey Logano, whose car got turned
around, slammed into the wall and flipped on the last lap
of the Xfinity race. Logano was all right, even though his
car was in shambles.
what it is,” Logano said. “That is speedway racing. If
you put 40 cars in a pack going 200 mph racing for a win
we are going to crash. Let’s be honest. It is exciting
though and our cars are really safe. That is the hardest
hit I have ever taken.
we hit hard, yeah the ego is a little hurt but I am OK.”
will be ready in a Cup car on Sunday, along with 39 other
drivers. The smart money may be on one of the dominant
Chevys or Toyotas, but the Talladega Shuffle is only a
plenty who can win this race,” Gordon, now an analyst
with Fox Sports, said. He wasn’t trying to be diplomatic
or condescending. He was 100 percent right.
Elliott starts at front with a nostalgic touch, but as
always, it’s avoiding the pinch that matters.