Virtually everyone except the pole winner will discount the importance of qualifying at Talladega Super Speedway. On Saturday afternoon, it would be Stewart-Haas Racing and driver Aric Almirola who would be able to claim the bragging rights for their efforts in time-trials on the giant 2.66-mile track. The No. 10 Ford made it into the second round of the session then turned the fastest lap when it counted most to earn the right to lead the field to green on Sunday afternoon in the YellaWood 500.
The 39-year-old native of Tampa, Florida was quick to praise his team as well as their engine builders.
“Just really proud of the crew and all the guys on this 10 team,” Almirola proclaimed in his post qualifying TV interview. “We’ve been working so hard to put speed in these Smithfield Ford Mustangs and Doug Yates obviously brings a ton of horsepower when we come to these types of race tracks. Thank you to all the men and women at Stewart-Haas Racing.”
Almirola will be joined by SHR teammate Chase Briscoe and a total of seven Fords in the top-10 of the starting grid.
The veteran driver and former winner at Talladega pointed out that this has been a difficult season for his organization. He acknowledged the determination shown by the Tony Stewart and Gene Haas-owned operation.
“It’s not secret it’s been a tough year for us,” Almirola explained. “To show that kind of grit and resolve for everybody continuing to grind and work and bring fast cars to the race track, that says a lot about our race team. Just really proud. The driver has a small part to do with it at these places but a lot of it is just the speed built into the cars.”
Starting Lineup: 1. Aric Almirola, 2. Joey Logano, 3. Chase Briscoe, 4. Kyle Larson, 5. Brad Keselowski, 6. Riley Herbst, 7. Austin Cindric, 8. William Byron, 9. Bubba Wallace, 10. Ryan Blaney 11. Kevin Harvick, 12. Denny Hamlin, 13. Tyler Reddick, 14. Austin Dillon, 15. Christopher Bell, 16. Martin Truex Jr., 17. Todd Gilliland, 18. Michael McDowell, 19. Ryan Preece, 20. Alex Bowman, 21. Harrison Burton, 22. Ty Gibbs, 23. Chase Elliott, 24. Chris Buescher, 25. Kyle Busch, 26. Erik Jones, 27. J.J. Yeley, 28. Daniel Suarez, 29. Brennan Poole, 30. Justin Haley, 31. A.J. Allmendinger, 32. Ross Chastain, 33. Ty Dillon, 34. Chandler Smith, 35. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., 36. Corey Lajoie, 37. B.J. McLeod
The race will be shown live by NBC at 2:00pm.
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