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Austin Dillon wins Talladega pole

RCR gets first Xfinity Series win at Talladega too
Saturday, April 27, 2019


Austin Dillon on pole
Austin Dillon on pole

No one expects Austin Dillon to stay out front long once the green flag drops, but Dillon won the Pole Award for the 50th Annual GEICO 500 with a lap of 49.734 seconds, 192.544 mph.

Everyone knows the Chevys have near-zero chance to win unless most of the field wrecks out.

Since the introduction of the Camaro body the Chevrolet cars have stunk up NASCAR and it continues in 2019.

Dillon, celebrating his 29th birthday Saturday, posted a quick time in the No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet in the final round of the single-vehicle, two-round qualifying session at the 2.66-mile Alabama track.

Aric Almirola recorded the second-fastest time at 192.131 mph in the No. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford, with Clint Bowyer in the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford (191.723 mph), Brad Keselowski in the No. 2 Team Penske Ford (191.654 mph), and Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Daniel Hemric in the No. 8 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet (191.436 mph) rounding out the top-five qualifiers.

Notables who failed to advance out of the first knockout round include Kurt Busch (14th), Kevin Harvick (19th), Martin Truex Jr. (20th), Kyle Busch (22nd), Denny Hamlin (23rd) and Erik Jones (27th).

Aric Almirola's Ford will start on the outside of the front row Sunday.

This is Dillon's fifth pole in 203 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series races.This is his second pole and sixth top-10 start in 2019.This is his first pole in 12 races at Talladega Superspeedway.

Almirola (second) posted his sixth top-10 start of 2019 and his fifth in 19 races at Talladega Superspeedway.

Clint Bowyer (third) posted his 10th top-10 start at Talladega Superspeedway. It is his sixth in ten races this season.

Daniel Hemric (fifth) was the fastest qualifying rookie.

Speaking of numbers, Richard Childress is the winningest NASCAR premier series car owner at the 2.66-mile track with 12 victories (tied with Hendrick Motorsports). Nine of those wins came from Dale Earnhardt piloting the No. 3 car.

Dillon is a numbers kind of guy.

On his 29TH birthday, Austin Dillon (left), driver of the No. 3 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing, will start on the pole for the GEICO 500 which will be the 100th race in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at Talladega Superspeedway. The 2.66-mile venue, as well as Richard Childress Racing, are celebrating their 50th anniversary this year.
On his 29TH birthday, Austin Dillon (left), driver of the No. 3 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing, will start on the pole for the GEICO 500 which will be the 100th race in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at Talladega Superspeedway. The 2.66-mile venue, as well as Richard Childress Racing, are celebrating their 50th anniversary this year.

“It feels great,” Dillon said, who turned 29 on Saturday. “It’s RCR’s 50th anniversary, Talladega’s 50th anniversary, and my grandfather takes a lot of pride in these speedway races. To come here and get a pole, we felt like we had a car capable of doing that. We knew that didn’t hurt us, so we just wanted to go out there and do what we did.”

The top-starting spot was extra special since Childress began his Cup career at Talladega Superspeedway in the track’s first-ever Monster Energy Series race in the fall of 1969.

The No. 3 Chevrolet returned to the front of the grid for Sunday’s GEICO 500 after posting a lap of 192.544, with Aric Almirola (No. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford) starting on the outside of the front row. Clint Bowyer (No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford), Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Team Penske Ford), and Daniel Hemric (No. 8 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet) closed out the five fastest cars from the two-round qualifying session.

The green flag will drop on the GEICO 500 tomorrow shortly after 1:00 p.m. CDT. Ticket information for the GEICO 500 and all Talladega Superspeedway events is available on-line at or by calling 855-518-RACE (7223).


In addition to the dozen wins in the Cup Series, RCR has won one of the Gander Outdoor Truck Series, but prior to Saturday, had never won at the 2.66-mile venue in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Tyler Reddick (No. 2 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet) changed that Saturday in the MoneyLion 300 and saw $100,000 flash before his eyes that afternoon.

A short time later, he found himself in Gatorade Victory Lane with the Talladega Superspeedway Hammer and Anvil trophy, and the all-important check in hand.

The series points leader rebounded from both wall contact and a pit road penalty, taking home the Dash 4 Cash $100,000 prize with a frenzied defense of the lead after a late restart that bunched up the field.

Tyler Reddick
Tyler Reddick

Runner-up finisher Gray Gaulding (No. 08 SS Green Light Racing) posted his best-ever result in the XFINITY Series, earning a top-five in his first NXS race at Talladega. Christopher Bell (No. 20 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing), Chase Briscoe (No. 98 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford), and Austin Cindric (No. 22 Team Penske Ford) rounded out the top five.

“Hell of a job by all of our guys at Richard Childress Racing,” a jubilant Reddick said after the race. “I tried to take us out of this race so many times and somehow we got back in the mix, got back in the lead. We had a great day.”

Jeffrey Earnhardt, driver of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, was poised to make a run at his first NASCAR XFINITY Series victory until he was caught up in a multi-car accident on Lap 110 which brought out a brief red flag. Earnhardt, who started seventh, was able to continue but finished 26th.

Reddick, who collected his fourth career XFINITY series victory on Saturday, also won the race’s opening stage. Noah Gragson (No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet) picked up his first-ever XFINITY series stage win and finished 11th after finding trouble of his own on lap 86.

Great tickets to Sunday’s GEICO 500 still remain, so make the trek to NASCAR’s Most Competitive track and witness history – the 100th race at Talladega in NASCAR’s top division. For ticket information, log onto, call 855-518-RACE (7223), or go by the main ticket office located at the International Motorsports Hall of Fame (located just outside of Turn 4, or other ticket offices outside the frontstretch near the track’s interactive Fan Zone.

Geico 500 Qualifying Round 2

13Austin DillonDow Chevrolet49.734192.5440.0000.000
210Aric AlmirolaSmithfield Ford49.841192.1310.1070.107
314Clint BowyerToco Warranty Ford49.947191.7230.2130.106
42Brad KeselowskiSnap On Ford49.965191.6540.2310.018
58Daniel Hemric #Caterpillar Chevrolet50.022191.4360.2880.057
617Ricky Stenhouse JrFifth Third Bank Ford50.037191.3780.3030.015
712Ryan BlaneyMenards/Knauf Ford50.080191.2140.3460.043
822Joey LoganoMoneyLion Ford50.112191.0920.3780.032
988Alex BowmanNationwide Chevrolet50.164190.8940.4300.052
1042Kyle LarsonClover Chevrolet50.193190.7840.4590.029
119Chase ElliottMountain Dew/Little Caesar's Chevrolet50.201190.7530.4670.008
1234Michael McDowellLove's Travel Stops Ford50.251190.5630.5170.050

Geico 500 Qualifying Round 1

110Aric AlmirolaSmithfield Ford49.791192.3240.0000.000
23Austin DillonDow Chevrolet49.847192.1080.0560.056
32Brad KeselowskiSnap On Ford50.048191.3360.2570.201
48Daniel Hemric #Caterpillar Chevrolet50.083191.2030.2920.035
514Clint BowyerToco Warranty Ford50.115191.0810.3240.032
612Ryan BlaneyMenards/Knauf Ford50.124191.0460.3330.009
734Michael McDowellLove's Travel Stops Ford50.135191.0040.3440.011
842Kyle LarsonClover Chevrolet50.178190.8410.3870.043
917Ricky Stenhouse JrFifth Third Bank Ford50.204190.7420.4130.026
1088Alex BowmanNationwide Chevrolet50.218190.6890.4270.014
1122Joey LoganoMoneyLion Ford50.220190.6810.4290.002
129Chase ElliottMountain Dew/Little Caesar's Chevrolet50.246190.5820.4550.026
1313Ty DillonGEICO Chevrolet50.310190.3400.5190.064
141Kurt BuschMonster Energy Chevrolet50.316190.3170.5250.006
1538David RaganShriners Hospital for Children Ford50.344190.2110.5530.028
1641Daniel SuarezCoca-Cola Orange Vanilla Ford50.419189.9280.6280.075
1721Paul MenardQuick Land Tire & Auto Center Ford50.421189.9210.6300.002
1836Matt Tifft #Surface Suncreen/Tunity Ford50.447189.8230.6560.026
194Kevin HarvickBusch Beer Flannel Ford50.450189.8120.6590.003
2019Martin Truex JrBass Pro Shops Toyota50.482189.6910.6910.032
2148Jimmie JohnsonAlly Chevrolet50.519189.5520.7280.037
2218Kyle BuschM&M's Chocolate Bar Toyota50.593189.2750.8020.074
2311Denny HamlinFedEx Express Toyota50.596189.2640.8050.003
246Ryan NewmanAcorns Ford50.614189.1970.8230.018
2524William ByronHertz Chevrolet50.699188.8790.9080.085


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