TALLADEGA, AL (October 14, 2017)– With a speed of 190.544 mph, six-time Talladega Superspeedway winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. captured his first career Talladega pole in advance of his final career start at the 2.66-mile Superspeedway in tomorrow’s Alabama 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) race.
“It’s nice to be able to get a pole here and hear the fans excitement about it and their appreciation for it,” said Dale Jr., driver of the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet. “We’ve been fighting our teammate, Chase (Elliott) and his group for poles at these tracks for a long time and it’s been a lot of fun to be honest with you, how these two teams have pushed and elevated each other.”
Dale Jr. is the winningest active driver at Talladega this weekend. On Talladega’s all-time wins list, he trails only his father, Dale Earnhardt Sr., who has ten career MENCS victories at the famous 2.66-mile tri-oval.
“This place has meant a lot to me,” said Dale Jr. “It’s awesome to hear those fans happy for us and hopefully we’re going to give them a lot more to cheer about before this weekend is over.”
Dale Jr. was followed by Chase Elliott (190.412 mph), who is looking for his first career MENCS victory in the Alabama 500.
“The best place to be is out front,” said Elliott, driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet. “If you can be out front and get ‘em lined up around the top that’s great. We just want to keep as much of our track position as we can all day long. I think if you’re closer to the front, your chances of finishing are higher than (if you’re) mid-pack.”
The rest of the top five was Joey Logano (190.374 mph), Kurt Busch (190.268 mph) and defending Talladega Superspeedway winner Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (190.170 mph).
As the Alabama 500 polesitter, Dale Jr. knows the multitude of his fans coming to Talladega want to see him score a seventh victory at the iconic facility on Sunday.
“I feel like if I’m in one of the top four positions coming down to 50 to go, I’ve got a real good shot at it,” said Dale Jr. “You think about winning every time you suit-up and get in the car, and you imagine if that’s going to be the day you get a win. This would be a real important one if we could win for all the fans. We certainly owe them a win and it would be great to get them one on Sunday.”
Kligerman Earns Second Talladega Victory in fred’s 250 Powered by Coca-Cola
Parker Kligerman was the leader when the caution flag flew in overtime, giving him the victory in the thrilling fred’s 250 Powered by Coca-Cola NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) playoff race at Talladega. The victory was Kligerman’s second career truck series triumph, both of which have come at NASCAR’s Biggest and Baddest track.
“Just a heck of a show,” said Kligerman, driver of the No. 75 Toyota. “Every move I made was one of those one in a million chances that it was going to work out and it did. To win with this Henderson Motorsports team is absolutely incredible. I have so much trust in (crew chief) Chris (Carrier). I know when we show up we are going to have a very competitive truck that can win races.”
Kligerman led Christopher Bell by less than 0.3 seconds when the caution came out. Myatt Snider rallied from a lap 70 incident to finish a career-best third. Fairhope, Alabama native Grant Enfinger finished fourth with Austin Cindric rounding out the top-five.
Johnny Sauter, driver of the No. 21 Chevrolet, swept Stages One and Two. He finished the race in 12th.
The field for the Round of Six of the NCWTS playoffs is now set. It includes: Bell (3047 points), Sauter 3027 (-20 behind leader), Matt Crafton 3014 (-33), John Hunter Nemechek 3014 (-33), Ben Rhodes 3013 (-34) and Cindric 3007 (-40). Chase Briscoe came into the race fifth in the standings but was eliminated after finishing eight points below the cutoff line. Kaz Grala was also eliminated.
Nemechek began the fred’s 250 Powered by Coca-Cola on the playoff bubble, but raced his way into the Round of Six, despite sustaining damage in a lap 53 wreck. The No. 8 NEMCO Motorsports team worked to repair his machine, knowing he had to finish 13th or better (after Briscoe was locked into a 22nd place finish) to keep his championship hopes alive. Nemechek navigated his way through the last-lap incident and finished sixth, earning him a spot in the second round of the truck series playoffs.
On Sunday, Dale Earnhardt Jr. takes his final laps at NASCAR’s Biggest and Baddest track in the Alabama 500 (1 p.m. CDT), the “Wildcard” second race in the Round of 12 of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs.
Get your tickets for Dale Jr.’s final Talladega stop on the #Appreci88ion Tour at talladegasuperspeedway.com or call the track’s ticket office at 855-518-RACE (7223).
About Talladega Superspeedway
Talladega Superspeedway is NASCAR’s Most Competitive (record of 88 lead changes in 188 laps), highest banked (33 degrees), and longest track (2.66-miles), as well as the most fun and fan-friendly. Talladega offers something for everyone, including hundreds of acres of free camping, amazing kids ticket and college student prices, along with special offers for military members and first responders. The historic venue, built in 1969, is deemed NASCAR’s “Party Capital” thanks to the track’s infamous infield, which features the traditional Saturday Night Concert (featuring Colt Ford Powered by American Ethanol) and the world-renowned Talladega Blvd, home of the Friday night “Big One on the Blvd” party. It’s the site of the most comfortable seats in motorsports, large ISM Vision HD video viewing boards that line the frontstretch and endless pre-race activities for fans on race day, including special kid’s VIP opportunities. The anchor event of Talladega Superspeedway’s fall NASCAR weekend, the Alabama 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) event, the second race in the Round of 12 during the MENCS Playoffs is set for 1 p.m. (CDT) on Sunday, Oct. 15. For more details and ticket information simply log on to www.talladegasuperspeedway.com or call the Talladega Ticket Office at 855-518-RACE (7223).