Aric Almirola qualified on the pole in the No. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford at Talladega Superspeedway and will lead the field to green for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series YellaWood 500. It was his sixth Cup Series career pole and his first this season.
As he reflected on the importance of winning the pole, Almirola said, “I think it’s something you care about probably when you get older, I guess – when you look back and tell your grandkids you were somebody. You’re like, ‘Look here. Here are my stats,’ I guess. But, for me in my spot with where I’m at in my life and my career, I chalk it up as mission accomplished.
“We show up at the racetrack every week and your goal is to be fastest in practice and then after that, it’s to be fastest in qualifying and then after that, it’s to win the race and if you don’t achieve any of those things, it’s mission not accomplished.
“I am of course appreciative and get excited, but I get more excited for the team than I do for my stat total. It’s rewarding for Drew and all the guys on my team. It’s rewarding for the men and women back at the shop. It is a morale boost when you show up and you have a fast race car and you qualify on the pole.”
Team Penske’s Joey Logano will join Almirola on the front row as Ford dominated the final qualifying round with seven entries in the top 10. Chase Briscoe (Ford) will start third, as Kyle Larson (Chevrolet) and Brad Keselowski (Ford) round out the top five.
Completing the top 10 were Ford drivers Riley Herbst (sixth) and Austin Cindric (seventh) followed by William Byron (Chevrolet) in eighth, Bubba Wallace (Toyota) in ninth and Ryan Blaney in the No. 12 Team Penske Ford.
As the Cup Series heads into the second race of the Round of 12, seven of the Playoff drivers will start outside the top 10 including Denny Hamlin (12th) Tyler Reddick (13th), Christopher Bell (15th), Martin Truex Jr. (16th), Chris Buescher (24th), Kyle Busch (25th) and Ross Chastain (32nd).
Sunday’s YellaWood 500 is scheduled for 2 p.m. ET on NBC with radio coverage by MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.