Kasey Kahne will lead the Sprint Cup field to the green flag for the first time at Talladega, after his lap of 50.017s (191.455mph) put him less than a tenth of a second clear of Ryan Newman to claim his third pole of the year.
"I kind of held a line right around the bottom of the track where they told me to go and it worked," shrugged Kahne after setting his qualifying time. "It's my first pole at this track and at this type of a race track so it feels pretty good."
Asked what this meant for him in Sunday's Good Sam Roadside Assistance 500 race, Kahne couldn't resist a quip: "It means I'm going to start first, that's it!" he laughed. "I think it means I will try to lead the first lap and just try to get that extra bonus point. If we are up there we might as well stay there and try to lead the most laps if we can. There will be a lot of lead changes I'd expect.
"I knew we had a fast car yesterday in the draft, it seemed really fast and could kind of go wherever I wanted," he added. "Today when I left the pits it just got up through the gears really quick and just felt good. It felt like the engine was running strong."
Kahne's drafting partner of choice for the restrictor plate running at the 2.66-mile superspeedway so far has been his Hendrick team mate Jeff Gordon, who qualified in sixth place and therefore is well placed to link up with Kahne early in the race itself to make things harder for the opposition.
"Felt good around Jeff Gordon, we were pushing each other and stuff," confirmed Kahne. "Things are good so far ... It just felt comfortable."
"If we can get together with them, great," said Gordon about the prospect of pairing up early with Kahne. "If not we just race and see when and how we can get hooked up with him or somebody."
Gordon started the last Talladega race from pole position, but explained that this hadn't been a realistic possibility this time because of how the running order for qualifying had ended up falling.
"Obviously being on the pole last time we were here we were hoping to be there again, but this late draw and the wind you just can't ever tell what is going to happen," he said. "We didn't get the pole, but it's still up there where we need to be."