LEBANON, Tenn. – A rough season got a little bit better Sunday for Aric Almirola when he claimed the pole for the inaugural NASCAR Cup Series race at Nashville Superspeedway.
Almirola claimed the pole for the Ally 400 in a tight qualifying session that saw him edge Kyle Busch by .015 seconds to earn the third NASCAR Cup Series pole of his career at the 1.333-mile concrete oval.
It was a satisfying result for Almirola, who has only managed one top-10 finish in 16 races so far this season for Stewart-Haas Racing.
“The hard part about this year, without qualifying, we got in a wreck early at Daytona and that immediately puts you in a hole,” Almirola said. “Every race thereafter just keeps compounding and last week always haunts you.
“To come and qualify on the 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 harder when you’re off, it’s unbelievable. We’ve been putting in a lot of effort trying to get better.”
Kyle Busch, fresh off his 100th NASCAR Xfinity Series victory Saturday at Nashville Superspeedway, qualified second for Joe Gibbs Racing.
Joey Logano, who has a victory at Nashville Superspeedway in Xfinity Series competition, qualified third. William Byron, Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott, Cole Custer, Alex Bowman, Erik Jones and Ryan Blaney completed the top-10.
The Ally 400 is scheduled to begin shortly after 3:30 p.m. ET and will be broadcast live on NBCSN.