In a retirement season where little has gone right for him, Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be starting from pole position for today’s Alabama 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. Despite having won at Talladega six times before, this is his first-ever pole position at the track.
Earnhardt lapped the 2.66-mile superspeedway in just 50.256 seconds with an average lap speed of 190.544 mph.
Earnhardt told the Associated Press just how special this pole position was:
This place has meant a lot to me. It’s awesome to hear those fans happy for us and hopefully we’re going to give them a lot more to cheer about before this weekend is over.
Earnhardt’s last win was in 2015 and he failed to make the playoffs this year, so he told the AP that he feels like he owes his fans another win before he retires. He only has six races left until the season is over, and Alex Bowman takes over Hendrick Motorsports’ No 88 car.
Maybe this week’s gift of his father’s race car lifted his spirits somehow. Racing on “Dale Earnhardt Jr. Day” certainly can’t hurt, either. Either way, it’s good to see Dale Jr. doing Dale Jr. things like kicking ass at restrictor plate tracks.
Today’s race starts at 2:00 p.m. ET on NBC.