It’s been a long time, but Roush Fenway Racing and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. are climbing up the Cup Series ladder once again.
Stenhouse earned just his second Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career pole and first since his rookie season of 2013 Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway. In qualifying late Saturday afternoon, he positioned a surging RFR to be a contender for Sunday’s GEICO 500.
The fifth-year driver won the pole for the Talladega event with a speed of 191.547 MPH, beating outside pole sitter Dale Earnhardt Jr. by 0.2 seconds. It’s his first pole at a restrictor plate track and the first for RFR since Greg Biffle earned one at Daytona last July.
“The culture at our shop is just different,” Stenhouse said after earning the front row spot. “The guys want to work there. They want to show up to work and work harder. They’re seeing that working harder is making different results for us, so it’s been a blast for Trevor [Bayne] and myself to drive these race cars each week.”
In the 12-car second round, Stenhouse whooped the field, followed by Earnhardt Jr. (190.780 MPH), Brad Keselowski (190.427 MPH), Matt Kenseth (190.177 MPH), and teammate Trevor Bayne (190.155 MPH).
He also led the 41-car first round with a speed of 190.833 MPH. Earnhardt Jr. (190.400 MPH), Keselowski (190.234 MPH), Chase Elliott (190.196 MPH), and Bayne (189.910 MPH) rounded out the top-five speeds.
For Earnhardt, it was his first ever front row starting spot at Talladega after 33 previous attempts. He’ll try and rally a rabid fan base behind him Sunday while posting a victory that would earn a spot in the NASCAR playoffs.
DJ Kennington, driving a limited schedule for Gaunt Brothers Racing, was the lone car that failed to qualify. His No. 96 Toyota was 38th fastest overall, over three-tenths behind the next unchartered car (BK Racing’s Corey Lajoie).
NASCAR used a single-car qualifying format, rather than its usual group one and it worked well. There were no major crashes or mechanical failures during either session.
Stenhouse, Earnhardt, and 38 other drivers will battle on the high banks of Talladega Superspeedway tomorrow in the GEICO 500. Coverage starts Sunday at 2 ET on FOX.
Full Results | Starting Lineup
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Oh Lordy!!!!! Has little Ricky been put under protective custody as he did not bow to RALPH III?
The latest lame ass promo’s has been DALEDEGA…good freaking God, so lord help the winner! LOL. Pushing the Earnhardt deal, pushing it, pushing it.. EVERYWHERE! EARNHARDT COUNTRY..etc. BARF! He wins great..whatever. Just shut up with the freaking BS hype!
I feel sorry for the probably-now-unemployed official that got the restrictor plates mixed up and put the wrong one on Stenhouse’s car! That one was supposed to go on the number 88 Chevrolet, not the number 17 Ford!
What happened to NASCAR?
Why do they try to charge a family of 4 almost a thousand dollars to see a race in Chicago?
(Eg; Fan pass)
$100.00 a night for a campsite near the racetrack?
Swat teams looking in your cooler?
Removal of grandstands?
Everyone watching Talladega just waiting for “the big wreck, not who’s dominating, which is almost impossible with the rules now.
New racetracks are a bore…
Loudon is useless.
Homestead is a cure for insomnia