Michael McDowell at Talladega Superspeedway. (HHP/Chris Owens)

McDowell Speeds To Talladega Pole Position

Michael McDowell will start on pole for Sunday’s Geico 500 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway in an all-Ford front row.

The Front Row Motorsports driver topped the final round of qualifying with a fastest speed of 182.022 mph, edging Team Penske’s Austin Cindric by 0.082 seconds.

“It’s great. For us at Front Row, when we went to Daytona and sat on the front row we’re like, ‘Hey we’ve got something here.’ I kind of backed that up at Atlanta with getting the pole and I think we all felt that pressure knowing that we were so strong at Atlanta and Daytona to come here to Talladega and try to repeat and have a really good starting spot,” McDowell said. “The guys put a lot of energy and effort into all of the little extra details that it takes on these superspeedways to get that speed, so excited for tomorrow.

“I feel really good about what we’ve been able to do this year with our superspeedway program, not just with speed but racing well. I think Todd has led the most laps at the superspeedways this year and we’ve been up front a lot, so it was a great team effort and I’m excited to try to get a Dark Horse Mustang into victory lane. It’s a good week for it,” McDowell continued.

This week Mustang celebrated 60 years and had an awesome event in Charlotte. I wasn’t there. I was actually in Oklahoma at Love’s, but this is a good week for us to get a win and get the first one of the season and we’ve got a lot of great Mustangs starting up there with us. We just have to execute our plan and strategy and make it all work.”

McDowell’s teammate Todd Gilliland qualified third with Richard Childress Racing teammates Kyle Busch and Austin Dillon rounding out the top five.

Martin Truex Jr. led the way for Toyota in sixth, with Joey Logano and Chris Buescher following him.

Last week’s winner at Texas Motor Speedway, Chase Elliott, starts ninth. Christopher Bell qualified 10th on the grid.

Kyle Larson will start at the rear of the field due to unapproved adjustments to the roof rails of his No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet prior to qualifying. He was not allowed to qualify.