Aric Almirola claimed his second career pole on Saturday after rain washed out qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway. The rain out forced officials to set pole position based on practice speeds.
Almirola and teammate at Richard Petty Motorsports, Marcos Ambrose, both posted high speeds on Friday after realizing that their was a chance for rain. The two racers hooked up in the draft to post the fastest practice times possible. That strategy worked as Almirola posted a lap speed of 202 mph and Ambrose finished in third at 201.876.
Following behind was Jeff Burton with a speed of 201.987.
After NASCAR’s Talladega pole was announced Aric Almirola said, “We knew there was a small chance for rain. We thought it would be a good idea to put up a good lap, just in case it did rain. We had a plan, we stuck to it and it worked out. Anytime you can start up front under any circumstances, that’s a good thing.”
Almirola won his last pole position in May 2012 during the 600-mile Charlotte Motor Speedway. He finished that race in 16th place.
NASCAR officials at Talladega on Saturday attempted to use high-powered dryers to clear up the wet track. However, rain continued throughout the day with a truck race scheduled for the afternoon.
The Talladega pole position is a welcomed surprise for Almirola. His team just lost crew chief Todd Parrott. He was suspended indefinitely by NASCAR for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy. Following the suspension Almirola said, “It was not something we expected by any means. It’s definitely something that caught us all off guard. Todd Parrott is a good person, a good crew chief and a good friend of mine. A lot of people are rallying around him to get through this difficult time. But we still have a job to do. We’ve got to go out and race and do the best we can.”
Chase leader Matt Kenseth will start from the 12th spot and 2nd place Sprint Cup contender Jimmie Johnson will rev up in the 11th position. The only entry eliminated from the 43-car field was Sam Hornish Jr.
Are you surprised that no other races accounted for a rain delay during practice runs? Whose your favorite to win Sunday’s race at Talladega Superspeedway?