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Qualifying report

McDowell wins Talladega Cup pole as Ford sweeps top three

Michael McDowell will lead an all-Ford front row in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup race at Talladega after earning his second consecutive superspeedway pole.

McDowell, whose first career pole came earlier this season at Atlanta Motor Speedway, was fastest in both rounds on Saturday, winning the pole with an average lap speed of 182.022 mph over fellow Ford driver Austin Cindric (181.739 mph).

In three superspeedway races this season, McDowell has started second, first and now second. He was involved in a wreck in the season-opening Daytona 500 and finished eighth at Atlanta.

“I’m just so proud of everybody at Front Row Motorsports. It’s a total team effort,” said McDowell, whose only Cup win came in the 2021 Daytona 500. “We got the front row at Daytona and the pole at Atlanta. We just got that taste of it like, ‘Hey, we can do this.’

“A lot of effort goes into it. The Mustang celebrated 60 years this week so it’s cool to be able to the pole for them. We just got to get a Mustang in Victory Lane tomorrow.

“There’s a lot of good cars starting up front with us, a lot of teammates. Hopefully, we can do all the things we need to do and execute. We got the speed, now we need to put it all together.”

McDowell’s Front Row Motorsports teammate, Todd Gilliland, ended up third fastest (181.401 mph), Kyle Busch was fourth and the top Chevrolet and Austin Dillon fifth.

Completing the top 10 starting lineup are Martin Truex Jr. (the top Toyota), Joey Logano, Chris Buescher, Chase Elliott and Christopher Bell.

CLA DRIVER # MANUFACTURER LAPS TIME INTERVAL MPH
1 M. McDowellFRONT ROW MOTORSPORTS 34 Ford 1

52.609

  182.022
2 A. CindricTEAM PENSKE 2 Ford 1

+0.082

52.691

0.082 181.739
3 T. GillilandFRONT ROW MOTORSPORTS 38 Ford 1

+0.180

52.789

0.098 181.401
4 K. BuschRICHARD CHILDRESS RACING 8 Chevrolet 1

+0.254

52.863

0.074 181.147
5 A. DillonRICHARD CHILDRESS RACING 3 Chevrolet 1

+0.360

52.969

0.106 180.785
6 M. Truex JrJOE GIBBS RACING 19 Toyota 1

+0.383

52.992

0.023 180.707
7 J. LoganoTEAM PENSKE 22 Ford 1

+0.435

53.044

0.052 180.529
8 C. BuescherRFK RACING 17 Ford 1

+0.510

53.119

0.075 180.274
9 C. ElliottHENDRICK MOTORSPORTS 9 Chevrolet 1

+0.513

53.122

0.003 180.264
10 C. BellJOE GIBBS RACING 20 Toyota 1

+0.589

53.198

0.076 180.007

Round 1

McDowell led an impressive first round for Ford with an average lap speed of 181.567 mph.

Busch ended up second quickest (180.782 mph) while McDowell’s teammate, Gilliland, was third (180.679 mph).

Ford drivers Cindric and Logano rounded out the top five.

Also advancing to the final round were Truex, Dillon, Bell, Buescher and Elliott, who grabbed the final transfer spot while the last car to qualify.

Prior to the start of the first round, NASCAR announced that the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet of Kyle Larson would not be allowed to participate in qualifying.

The team was penalized for making an unapproved adjustment to the roof rails of the car while it was being pushed to the grid.

Without taking part in qualifying, Larson will lose pit selection and in essence, have to start from the rear of Sunday’s race.

CLA DRIVER # MANUFACTURER LAPS TIME INTERVAL MPH
1 M. McDowellFRONT ROW MOTORSPORTS 34 Ford 1

52.741

  181.567
2 K. BuschRICHARD CHILDRESS RACING 8 Chevrolet 1

+0.229

52.970

0.229 180.782
3 T. GillilandFRONT ROW MOTORSPORTS 38 Ford 1

+0.259

53.000

0.030 180.679
4 A. CindricTEAM PENSKE 2 Ford 1

+0.279

53.020

0.020 180.611
5 J. LoganoTEAM PENSKE 22 Ford 1

+0.286

53.027

0.007 180.587
6 M. Truex JrJOE GIBBS RACING 19 Toyota 1

+0.307

53.048

0.021 180.516
7 A. DillonRICHARD CHILDRESS RACING 3 Chevrolet 1

+0.345

53.086

0.038 180.387
8 C. BellJOE GIBBS RACING 20 Toyota 1

+0.379

53.120

0.034 180.271
9 C. BuescherRFK RACING 17 Ford 1

+0.381

53.122

0.002 180.264
10 C. ElliottHENDRICK MOTORSPORTS 9 Chevrolet 1

+0.427

53.168

0.046 180.108
11 R. PreeceSTEWART-HAAS RACING 41 Ford 1

+0.434

53.175

0.007 180.085
12 A. BowmanHENDRICK MOTORSPORTS 48 Chevrolet 1

+0.442

53.183

0.008 180.058
13 W. ByronHENDRICK MOTORSPORTS 24 Chevrolet 1

+0.444

53.185

0.002 180.051
14 B. Wallace23XI RACING 23 Toyota 1

+0.445

53.186

0.001 180.047
15
T. GibbsJOE GIBBS RACING
54 Toyota 1

+0.467

53.208

0.022 179.973
16 H. BurtonWOOD BROTHERS RACING 21 Ford 1

+0.470

53.211

0.003 179.963
17 S. van GisbergenKAULIG RACING 16 Chevrolet 1

+0.485

53.226

0.015 179.912
18 T. Reddick23XI RACING 45 Toyota 1

+0.521

53.262

0.036 179.790
19 D. HemricKAULIG RACING 31 Chevrolet 1

+0.557

53.298

0.036 179.669
20 J. NemechekLEGACY MOTOR CLUB 42 Toyota 1

+0.565

53.306

0.008 179.642
21 R. BlaneyTEAM PENSKE 12 Ford 1

+0.579

53.320

0.014 179.595
22 B. KeselowskiRFK RACING 6 Ford 1

+0.581

53.322

0.002 179.588
23 D. HamlinJOE GIBBS RACING 11 Toyota 1

+0.666

53.407

0.085 179.302
24
A. AlfredoBEARD MOTORSPORTS
62 Chevrolet 1

+0.670

53.411

0.004 179.289
25 D. SuarezTRACKHOUSE RACING 99 Chevrolet 1

+0.673

53.414

0.003 179.279
26 C. BriscoeSTEWART-HAAS RACING 14 Ford 1

+0.714

53.455

0.041 179.141
27 J. HaleyRICK WARE RACING 51 Ford 1

+0.737

53.478

0.023 179.064
28 E. JonesLEGACY MOTOR CLUB 43 Toyota 1

+0.739

53.480

0.002 179.058
29 J. BerrySTEWART-HAAS RACING 4 Ford 1

+0.746

53.487

0.007 179.034
30
Z. SmithSPIRE MOTORSPORTS
71 Chevrolet 1

+0.791

53.532

0.045 178.884
31 C. LajoieSPIRE MOTORSPORTS 7 Chevrolet 1

+0.802

53.543

0.011 178.847
32 R. ChastainTRACKHOUSE RACING 1 Chevrolet 1

+0.849

53.590

0.047 178.690
33 R. Stenhouse JrJTG DAUGHERTY RACING 47 Chevrolet 1

+0.945

53.686

0.096 178.371
34 C. WareRICK WARE RACING 15 Ford 1

+0.979

53.720

0.034 178.258
35
C. HocevarSPIRE MOTORSPORTS
77 Chevrolet 1

+1.026

53.767

0.047 178.102
36 N. GragsonSTEWART-HAAS RACING 10 Ford 1

+1.070

53.811

0.044 177.956
37 B. McLeodLIVE FAST MOTORSPORTS 78 Chevrolet 1

+1.549

54.290

0.479 176.386
38 K. LarsonHENDRICK MOTORSPORTS 5 Chevrolet 0

 

 

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