Aric Almirola finally had something good happen Sunday morning as he grabbed the pole for the Ally 400 at Nashville Superspeedway.
Almirola was the second driver on track during single-car qualifying. The pole-winning pace from the Stewart-Haas Racing driver was 161.992mph (29.557 seconds).
The lap that got it done.
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) June 20, 2021
“That’s the hard part of this year without qualifying – we got in a wreck early at Daytona, and immediately it puts you in a hole,” Almirola said. “Every race thereafter just keeps compounding and last week always haunts you; you can’t ever start fresh the next week because you’re starting deep in the field, and then we’ve had a lot of other trouble, so we’re buried in points, and we continue to start in the back, and it’s so hard to build any momentum off that.
“Finally, a good weekend. Last weekend at Texas (finishing eighth in the All-Star Race) and then here, to come and qualify on pole, just so proud of all the guys on this team, everybody back at the shop, all the guys and girls at SHR, they’ve been working so hard. You work so much harder when you’re off, it’s unbelievable, but we’ve been putting in a lot of effort trying to get better and just happy for all of our partners.”
It is Almirola’s third career pole in the NASCAR Cup Series. Ranking 28th in the point standings, Almirola has one top-10 finish on the season.
Kyle Busch joins Almirola on the front row after qualifying second. Busch ran a fast lap of 161.910mph.
Joey Logano qualified third at 161.850mph. William Byron qualified fourth at 161.691mph and teammate Kyle Larson completed the top five at 161.495mph.
Chase Elliott qualified sixth at 161.093mph, Cole Custer seventh at 160.930mph, Alex Bowman eighth at 160.612mph, Erik Jones ninth at 160.483mph, and Ryan Blaney 10th at 160.472mph.
The Richard Petty Motorsports team of Jones will have some fender work to do before the race. Jones caught the wall with the right rear of his Chevrolet coming off Turn 4 during his qualifying lap.
Points leader Denny Hamlin qualified 13th with a lap of 160.107 mph.
After chasing his car up the track in Turn 1, a slow lap of 154.795 mph puts Martin Truex Jr. 35th on the starting grid.
UP NEXT: Ally 400 at 3:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.