Gilliland lands first Cup pole at Talladega

David Gilliland making just his eighth start for Robert Yates Racing and ninth Cup series start, has earned his first career pole. The No. 38 Ford Fusion also sat on the pole for the spring event at Talladega Superspeedway, but with former driver...

David Gilliland making just his eighth start for Robert Yates Racing and ninth Cup series start, has earned his first career pole. The No. 38 Ford Fusion also sat on the pole for the spring event at Talladega Superspeedway, but with former driver Elliott Sadler behind the wheel.

"Todd (Parrott, crew chief) and the guys just prepared a great car," said Gilliland who charted a lap of 191.712 mph. "They threw a curveball at us this morning with the restrictor plate, and Doug Yates wasn't worried at all. He put the super-tune on it he told me and the thing ran great. I'm just real proud of the guys. The M&M's Ford Fusion has run good all weekend. It's a pleasure to drive one of their cars, especially here. They've got a great track record here and it's just a pleasure to drive one."

Gilliland's teammate Dale Jarrett will join him on the front row after posting a lap of 191.516 mph.

"We have a great program," said Jarrett who is leaving RYR at the end of this season. "We always have at Robert Yates Racing for these types of tracks. This looks like a totally new place and feels that way."

The Yates Ford's were the only two cars to break the 191-mph mark. Earlier today NASCAR switched to a smaller restrictor plate to reduce speeds here which topped 198-mph in practice.

Jimmie Johnson's No. 48 Hendrick was third. He toured the 2.66-mile track at 190.400 mph.

"I still think we are in position to race our way back into this," said Johnson who sits eighth in points. "We are losing time and losing points.but I don't know what to expect out there.I am hoping to finish this thing clean."

Jeff Gordon and Greg Biffle complete the top five.

"It was a really nice lap," said Biffle. "The Yates-Roush engine certainly means a lot to us. I know that everybody has worked really hard on that program..to see two Yates cars on top of the board is really a salute to our engine program and how good it is."

Forty-nine drivers attempted to qualify for the forty-three car field. Failing to make the show were Chad Chaffin, Todd Bodine, Hermie Sadler, Kirk Shelmerdine, Kevin Lepage and Travis Kvapil.

Notably, point leader Jeff Burton will take the green flag from the 34th starting spot.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton , Jeff Gordon , Dale Jarrett , Todd Bodine , Greg Biffle , Kevin Lepage , Jimmie Johnson , Hermie Sadler , Kirk Shelmerdine , Chad Chaffin , David Gilliland , Robert Yates , Elliott Sadler , Travis Kvapil
Teams Yates Racing