First Pole for Scott

Brian Scott

Scott will make his fifth career series start in Sunday's race. (Photo: Getty Images)

Starting Lineup| Qualifying Results

TALLADEGA, Ala. - Nobody wanted to be first. So they waited on pit road. Or they coasted around the track, waiting for others to do the work. At times, it was better to be slow than fast.

Such was the bizarro case of Sprint Cup qualifying Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway, which ended with Brian Scott winning the pole for the Aaron's 499, Jeff Gordon talking about the intensity on the track and Dale Earnhardt Jr. suggesting a different way to determine the starting lineup.

“It just wasn’t much fun,’’ said Earnhardt, who starts 30th. “I’d like to do some heat races or something, maybe. That would be a little bit funner than this.’’

And even when it was over, more happened. NASCAR announced that the times for Kasey Kahne and Martin Truex Jr. were disallowed. Kahne’s car did not meet the minimum weight requirement, and Truex’s car did not meet minimum height requirement that is used for restrictor-plate tracks. Both will start at the rear of the 43-car field Sunday.

It was the front that was most surprising, though.

“Who would have thought that?’’ Scott said after his lap of 198.290 mph earned his first career Cup pole.

Yes, even at a track known for bizarre incidents, few would have predicted that Joe Falk’s Circle Sport Racing team - which is aligned with Richard Childress Racing - would have won the pole.

It was part of the RCR conglomeration, which will start at the front. RCR’s Paul Menard starts second with AJ Allmendinger third. Allmendinger drives for JTG Daugherty, which is aligned with RCR. Casey Mears - whose Germain Racing also is aligned with RCR - qualified fourth with RCR drivers Austin Dillon fifth and Ryan Newman sixth.

But the wild day left drivers with varied opinions.

“I don’t know if anybody can really quite capture how intense that is,’’ said Jeff Gordon, who starts 11th. I’m telling you, it’s just nerve-racking. You’re trying to make all the right decisions as well as not wreck.’’

Said Danica Patrick, who starts seventh: “It was an experience.”

Brad Keselowski said “it wasn’t too crazy, but it was crazy enough to be fun.

“It’s hard because everybody wants to lag and nobody wants to go because the speed is at the back and not the front.’’

With the draft, it is better to be trailing a group of cars and use the draft to gain speed. Thus, teams tried to run well behind a pack and catch them by the time they got to the start/finish line to post as fast a lap as possible.

The question is what’s the reward for this? It’s much easier to move from the back to the front in restrictor-plate racing than at other tracks, making starting spots mean less.

“Right now the reward is so small eventually you’re going to get to a point in time when teams and drivers aren’t going to risk their equipment,’’ said Keselowski, who starts 13th.

A possible solution? Keselowski said give the pole winner at least one point.

“Right now there’s nothing,’’ he said. “That doesn’t make it worth hanging your car out and wrecking it.’’

Another question is what will happen with this format at Daytona International Speedway in July. That track is not as wide as Talladega.

We can do it,’’ Gordon said. “We’ve just got to find a way how to navigate through it. Just like Nationwide (Friday), you can’t be riding half speed in the middle lane. You either have got be in the middle lane or outside and leave that middle lane for cars coming by. That’s easier said than done. At the end of the first session I had a big run and we came up on a pack of cars and we were five wide trying not to wreck.’’

Related Topics:

NASCAR Sprint Cup, Brian Scott

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