Austin Dillon claims Busch Pole award at Talladega

Austin Dillon earned the Busch Pole Award at Talladega Superspeedway and will lead the field to green for Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series GEICO 500.

Dillon drove his No. 3 Chevrolet at a lap speed of 192.544 mph winning his first pole at Talladega. It was his second pole this season and the fifth of his Cup Series career.

But it was particularly significant for a number of other reasons. Dillon turned 29-years-old Friday and his team, Richard Childress Racing, is celebrating their 50th anniversary in the sport as Talladega commemorates their 50th year as a NASCAR track.

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It was also Richard Childress Racing’s first pole at Talladega in 25 years, since Dale Earnhardt earned the pole for the team in 1994.

“I’m a numbers kind of guy,” Dillon said, “and you correlate all those numbers together – it’s the 50th anniversary for RCR, 50th for Talladega. Talladega is where RCR kind of started in 1969. I’m pumped to be here in the No. 3 car. Danny Stockman (crew chief) and the boys did a great job building a fast car and you want to go out there and make some noise and they did that. I give all the credit to those guys. Tomorrow it’s up to us to keep that car up front and hopefully make a real iconic win for RCR and everyone here at Talladega.”

Stewart-Haas Racing’s Aric Almirola will start second in Sunday’s race after a 192.131 mph lap.

“I think we got pretty close to backing up what we ran in the first round there but I felt like the wind picked up a little bit more. I don’t know if that was it or what the case was. All in all, it was a great run for us,” Almirola said. “I am happy about starting on the front row with good track position to start the race and a good pit stall. All those things matter.”

Clint Bowyer, Brad Keselowski and Daniel Hemric round out the top five starting positions.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will start sixth, followed by Ryan Blaney, last year’s winner Joey Logano, Alex Bowman, Kyle Larson, rounding out the top 10.

Tune into the GEICO 500 Sunday at 2 p.m. ET on FOX with radio coverage provided by MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Follow @angiecampbell_ for the latest NASCAR news and feature stories.

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