Saturday, May 5, 2012

Jeff Gordon Takes Cup Pole for Aaron's 499 at Talladega

Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR

Qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Aaron's 499 race at Talladega Superspeedway took place late Saturday morning on the 2.66-mile high-speed oval.

Prevailing in qualifying with his first pole of 2012, Jeff Gordon and the #24 Chevrolet fielded by Hendrick Motorsports clocked a 49.973-second time averaging 191.623 miles per hour. Just 0.034 seconds behind Gordon was the #22 Dodge of AJ Allmendinger. Allmendinger starting 2nd, Marcos Ambrose placed third-fastest and Aric Almirola in 4th are all driver hunting for a first-career Sprint Cup victory. A wide-open race track known for first time victories since Richard Brickhouse won the inaugural 500-mile stock car event, Talladega Superspeedway last played host to Brad Keselowski's first-time win in the series in 2009. As well as searching for a first NASCAR Sprint Cup race win at Talladega Superspeedway, Allmendinger is one of two Dodge Charger stock cars attempting to place the brand in the Alabama victory lane for the first time since 1976. 

This is the second year in a row that Jeff Gordon will lead the field to green in the spring Talladega event and the third straight team a Hendrick Motorsports car starts at the front of this NASCAR Sprint Cup race. Hendrick Motorsports enters the 2012 spring race as the defending winner after Jimmie Johnson was pushed to victory by teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. Still chasing the 200th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win for the organization, Hendrick Motorsports cars behind Gordon are scattered. Kasey Kahne's #5 Chevrolet starts 5th while #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr is positioned 18th ahead of the #48 of Jimmie Johnson in 19th.

NASCAR Sprint Cup driver points leader entering the 10th race, Greg Biffle will start 6th in the Aaron's 499 with the #16 Ford Fusion. Biffle starts one position above Roush Fenway Racing teammate Carl Edwards at Talladega. The 2012 Daytona 500 winning #17 Ford of Matt Kenseth starts 10th behind his teammates seeking to establish two-straight restrictor plate wins in 2012 if he can finish up front at the end of 187 laps. Roush Fenway Racing is chasing their first win at Talladega since Jamie McMurray took the team to a 2009 victory in the fall event.  

2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Talladega Superspeedway
Aaron's 499
Starting Line-up

Pos # Car # Driver Sponsor/Car Make
1 24 Jeff Gordon DuPont Chevrolet
2 22 AJ Allmendinger Shell Pennzoil/AAA Dodge
3 9 Marcos Ambrose Stanley Ford
4 43 Aric Almirola VeriFone Sail Ford
5 5 Kasey Kahne Farmers Insurance Chevrolet
6 16 Greg Biffle 3M/O'Reilly Auto Parts Ford
7 99 Carl Edwards Fastenal Ford
8 14 Tony Stewart Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet
9 55 Michael Waltrip Aaron's Color Your Way Toyota
10 17 Matt Kenseth Best Buy Ford
11 21 Trevor Bayne Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford
12 42 Juan Pablo Montoya Target/Kraft Chevrolet
13 2 Brad Keselowski Miller Lite Dodge
14 39 Ryan Newman Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevrolet
15 56 Martin Truex Jr. NAPA Auto Parts Toyota
16 26 Josh Wise Morristown Driver's Service Ford
17 27 Paul Menard Menards/Turtle Wax Chevrolet
18 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. National Guard/Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet
19 48 Jimmie Johnson Lowe's Chevrolet
20 29 Kevin Harvick Rheem Chevrolet
21 18 Kyle Busch M&M's Toyota
22 11 Denny Hamlin FedEx Express Toyota
23 1 Jamie McMurray Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevrolet
24 15 Clint Bowyer Aaron's/Alabama National Champ Toyota
25 13 Casey Mears GEICO Ford
26 38 David Gilliland Taco Bell Ford
27 30 David Stremme Stock Car Steel and Aluminum Toyota
28 32 Terry Labonte C&J Energy Ford
29 31 Jeff Burton Caterpillar Chevrolet
30 20 Joey Logano Dollar General Toyota
31 78 Regan Smith Furniture Row Chevrolet
32 34 David Ragan Front Row Motorsports Ford
33 51 Kurt Busch Phoenix Construction Services Inc. Chevrolet
34 10 David Reutimann Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevrolet
35 98 Michael McDowell Curb Records Ford
36 97 Bill Elliott NEMCO Motorsports Toyota
37 87 Joe Nemechek AM/FM Energy Wood & Pellet Stoves Toyota
38 36 Dave Blaney Golden Corral Chevrolet
39 23 Robert Richardson Jr. North TX Pipe Toyota
40 83 Landon Cassill Burger King/Dr. Pepper Toyota
41 93 Travis Kvapil Burger King/Dr. Pepper Toyota
42 47 Bobby Labonte Bush's Beans Toyota
43 33 Tony Raines Little Joe's Autos Chevrolet

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