Talla-Dale-ga: Dale Jr Wins Cup Series Career Pole at Talladega Superspeedway

Lucy Atkinson

Dale Earnhardt Jr sent the hearts of NASCAR fans everywhere soaring yesterday when he scored himself his first ever career pole for the Alabama 500 race at Talladega Superspeedway.

The soon-to-be retired driver has been on the front row for every restrictor plate race this season and he didn’t fail to disappoint. Swooping ’round the final bends and along the straight stretch, the stands went wild as they watched the fan-favorite earn a spot at the top, ahead of today’s race.

The driver of the number 88 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports has won an impressive six races at Talladega Speedway, and fans are hoping that tonight will be his night to win a seventh as he runs this track for the final time as a full-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver.

Buoyed by the fact that he had been gifted the championship-winning race number 2 Rod Osterlund Chevrolet car that his father had once driven by Talladega Speedway, Dale completed NASCAR’s longest track in 50.256 seconds and at a speed of 190.544 mph.

Dale Jr even managed to beat his teammate – Chase Elliott, a playoff contender – by .035 seconds. It was an impressive feat for Dale who hasn’t been running too well this season and to the dismay of fans, didn’t make it into the playoffs for one last time before he hung up his helmet for good.

Earnhardt commented:

“We’ve been fighting our teammate Chase 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, really, all the credit for getting a pole at a place like this goes to the team and goes to the car and the guys that work on it.

I just hold the wheel straight and try not to bounce into the apron, but get as close to it as you can and make sure you run a clean lap.

But there ain’t much to it as a driver. … This place has meant a lot to me. 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 Earnhardt Jr.

Dale also mentioned that he had chills up his spine when he climbed from his noble steed and the crowd erupted into cheers of joy. It was truly a magical moment.

The pressure is definitely on for Dale Jr to run well in this race, and that’s sometimes hard to do, due to the unpredictability of superspeedway restrictor plate races. However, given the success of the Earnhardt family at Talladega and the fact that Dale Jr has run here 34 times now – there’s absolutely no doubt that he will give nothing less than one-hundred percent effort, determination and grit.

We wish him the very best of luck.

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