NASCAR Cup Series
Starting Lineup: NASCAR Cup Series Yellawood 500 at Talladega
Sep 30, 2023
Aric Almirola scored his second pole position of the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season, and the sixth pole of his career at Talladega Superspeedway. Almirola will lead Joey Logano and the rest of the field to start Sunday's race.
When you're suffering from a slump in any sport, moral victories are what start to help build the momentum on the path back to the top. For Stewart-Haas Racing, Saturday afternoon was an impactful day at Talladega Superspeedway as Aric Almirola, the driver of the team's No. 10 entry, snagged the pole for Sunday's Yellawood 500.
It was a narrow margin (0.004 sec.), but Almirola had just enough speed to defeat Joey Logano for the pole position. This is the second pole of the season for Almirola, who has yet to announce his plans for the 2024 season.
While poles at superspeedways are nowhere near a guarantee of success in the race, Almirola explains that the pole position brings with it a lot of advantages that can help a driver and team find victory lane if they can avoid the big one in the race.
"Yeah, it does [mean a lot]," Almirola said of the pole. "These races come down to pit stops, really. Track position at the end. So, having a good pit stall, being able to have a clean in and clean out, and stuff like that... That all matters. Just really proud of Drew, and all of the guys on the [No.] 10 team. We've been working so hard to put speed in these Smithfield Ford Mustangs, and Doug Yates, obviously, brings a ton of horsepower."
Stewart-Haas Racing, which saw its lone Playoff contending driver -- Kevin Harvick -- eliminated from Playoff contention at the end of the Round of 16, very easily could have tucked its tail between its legs and phoned it in the rest of the season. However, that's not the SHR way.
Almirola, 39, takes extreme pride in his team continuing to strive for better results despite the trying season, overall.
"It's not a secret, it's been a tough year for us. To show that kind of grit, and resolve, and for everyone to continue to grind and work and bring fast racecars to the race track, that says a lot about our race team."
Logano, who, like Harvick, was eliminated after the opening Round of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, will start alongside Almirola on the starting grid. It's been a frustrating season for Logano, who won the Series championship a season ago.
However, changes to the aerodynamic packages for the Chevrolet and Toyota teams put Logano and his Ford group behind the eight ball to start the season. However, Logano has a fast car for Sunday's race, and he'll now look to take out his frustrations by scoring a victory in Talladega.
Chase Briscoe, another Stewart-Haas Racing Ford driver, will start from the third position.
Kyle Larson was the highest qualifying Playoff driver in fourth. Brad Keselowski will start from inside the top five, while Riley Herbst, Austin Cindric, William Byron, Bubba Wallace, and Ryan Blaney rounded out the top 10 qualifiers.
Chase Elliott, and the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports team, who are still in the hunt for the NASCAR Cup Series Owner's Title, will start from the 23rd position.
Here are the 12 NASCAR Cup Series Playoff drivers and where they will start on Sunday:
Kyle Larson (4th)
Brad Keselowski (5th)
William Byron (8th)
Bubba Wallace (9th)
Ryan Blaney (10th)
Denny Hamlin (12th)
Tyler Reddick (13th)
Christopher Bell (15th)
Martin Truex Jr. (16th)
Chris Buescher (24th)
Kyle Busch (25th)
Ross Chastain (32nd)
Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett, NKP, Courtesy of Ford Performance
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