Sprint Cup qualifying at ‘Dega cancelled; Almirola on pole

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Rain has caused the cancellation of today’s Sprint Cup qualifying session at Talladega Superspeedway, and with that, Richard Petty Motorsports’ Aric Almirola will be on pole for tomorrow’s Camping World RV Sales 500 as the field will be set by practice speeds from the first practice session on Friday.

Almirola topped the first of two Friday practices with a lap at 202.000 miles per hour in the No. 43 Ford Fusion. Right behind him was Richard Childress Racing’s Jeff Burton at 201.897 mph, and so, those two drivers – both of whom are not part of this year’s Chase for the Sprint Cup – will make up the front row for the sixth race of this year’s post-season.

Marcos Ambrose (first practice speed: 201.876 mph) and Martin Truex Jr. (201.855 mph) will make up the second row, followed by the quickest Chaser in the first practice, Roush Fenway Racing’s Carl Edwards (201.604 mph) and teammate Greg Biffle (201.341) in Row 3. Talladega spring winner David Ragan, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jamie McMurray and Casey Mears round out the Top 10 of the grid.

Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth, the top two combatants in the Chase going into Sunday, will start 11th and 12th respectively in Row 6. Kenseth holds a slim four-point advantage over Johnson. Kevin Harvick, currently third in the standings at 29 points behind Kenseth, will have to start toward the back in 33rd position, while last week’s winner at Charlotte, Brad Keselowski, will go off from 13th position.