Birthday Pole For Sadler

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TALLADEGA, Ala. - Elliott Sadler will start from the pole on his 31st birthday as he took the top spot in qualifying for Sunday's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway with a lap of 188.511 mph.

Sadler was driving the same car he collected his previous best qualifying effort of the season with when he set the third fastest lap at Daytona in February.

"We knew coming down here we were going to be close," Sadler said. "We made about a 20-lap run in race trim yesterday and we thought man this is a good as we are going to get it."

It was Sadler's seventh career pole and first since Charlotte last fall, 14 races ago, when he won his fourth pole of the 2005 season.

Drivers that went out later in the session had to battle high winds, which picked up as the day went on.

"I told the guys when we rolled off today we were in good shape. Going early was an advantage because it was not as windy," said Sadler, who went out eighth of 49 cars.

Tony Stewart gave Chevrolet a top-five starting spot after recording the second fastest lap at 187.658 mph.

"I didn't think we were going to run that quick -- especially with the way the wind was gusting," Stewart said.

Carl Edwards, last October's winner Dale Jarrett and Kurt Busch (top Dodge) rounded out the top five.

Joe Nemechek, Greg Biffle, Jamie McMurray, Sterling Marlin and Mark Martin completed the first ten qualifiers.

Defending race winner Jeff Gordon will start 14th, while five-time Talladega winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. will roll off 27th.

David Stremme and Michael Waltrip, who both needed to qualify on time, turned in good runs qualifying 17th and 21st, respectively.

"My right foot was shaking so bad," Stremme said. "It wasn’t because it was on the floor. It was just making it in. I really think our team is turning it around here."

Morgan Shepherd, Stanton Barrett, Mike Wallace, Chad Blount, Brent Sherman and Kenny Wallace failed to qualify for the 188-lap race.

Television coverage of Sunday's Aaron's 499 will begin at 1:30 p.m. (ET) live on FOX. MRN Radio will also cover the event starting at 1:15 p.m. (ET).

        

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