Elliott wins second straight Daytona 500 pole

Just hours after finishing 7th in the Advance Auto Parts Clash, Chase Elliott has won his second consecutive Daytona 500 pole. It is his third Cup pole and the 211th total pole for Hendrick Motorsports.

Elliott dominated the two rounds of qualifying on Sunday alongside HMS teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. He recorded a lap speed of 192.308 miles per hour (mph) in the first round to propel him to the top of the charts over Ty Dillon, followed by Earnhardt setting a speed of 192.267 mph, a 0.041 difference. In the 12-driver second round, Earnhardt led the field with a speed of 192.864 mph until Elliott surpassed him with 192.872.

“I didn’t think my lap was that good,” Elliott stated after the first round. “It surprised me. I didn’t expect to go fast, so that’s a good thing.”

The pole marks Elliott’s third of his Cup Series career and the third straight Daytona 500 pole for crew chief Alan Gustafson, whose driver Jeff Gordon won it in 2015 followed by Elliott in 2016 and 2017. With his second consecutive pole in the race, Elliott becomes the first driver to record consecutive 500 poles since Ken Schrader’s three straight from 1988–1990; prior to Schrader, his father Bill Elliott also accomplished the feat with three-in-a-row from 1985–1987. It is also Hendrick Motorsports’ tenth pole in the Daytona 500.

Qualifying began with Jeffrey Earnhardt, driving the #33 for Circle Sport – The Motorsports Group, being the first car on track. His lap speed of 184.767 mph placed him in 41st of 42 cars, but his team possesses a charter that would guarantee him a spot in the Daytona 500. Of the six open teams that needed to qualify on speed, the #75 Beard Motorsports car of Brendan Gaughan and the #7 Tommy Baldwin Racing vehicle of Elliott Sadler were able to lock themselves in with speeds of 189.294 and 188.561, respectively. With their qualifying efforts, 2017 will mark Gaughan’s first Daytona 500 since 2004 and Sadler’s first since 2012.

In addition to Elliott and Earnhardt, the twelve drivers who advanced to the final round included Clint Bowyer, Martin Truex Jr., Matt Kenseth, Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch, Ryan Newman, Kasey Kahne, Kevin Harvick and Ty Dillon. Dillon was the lone rookie to advance; Daniel Suárez and Erik Jones qualified 15th and 20th, while Corey LaJoie qualified 40th. Three of the four Hendrick cars advanced to the second round; Jimmie Johnson, who wrecked out of the Clash earlier in the day, fell short with a 14th-place run (191.898 mph). Clash winner Joey Logano qualified 17th with a speed of 191.779 mph.

Unlike other NASCAR races, the Daytona 500 starting grid is not determined by just the qualifying system. Besides the front row, the remaining 38 spots are based on the results of the Can-An Duels. Depending on how one finishes in their assigned Duel, they can start the Daytona 500 from a different starting spot than they had qualified on Sunday. The Duels will be held on Thursday, February 23.

Race results

POS. CAR # DRIVER MANUFACTURER BEST SPEED (MPH) BEST TIME GAP
1 24 Chase Elliott Chevrolet 192.872 46.663 Leader
2 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet 192.864 46.665 –0.002
3 2 Brad Keselowski Ford 192.691 46.707 –0.044
4 14 Clint Bowyer Ford 192.571 46.736 –0.073
5 78 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota 192.308 46.8 –0.137
6 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota 192.213 46.823 –0.16
7 4 Kevin Harvick Ford 192.189 46.829 –0.166
8 5 Kasey Kahne Chevrolet 192.09 46.853 –0.19
9 20 Matt Kenseth Toyota 192.016 46.871 –0.208
10 31 Ryan Newman Chevrolet 191.996 46.876 –0.213
11 18 Kyle Busch Toyota 191.767 46.932 –0.269
12 13 Ty Dillon Chevrolet 191.453 47.009 –0.346
13 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Ford 192.004 46.874 –0.211
14 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 191.898 46.9 –0.237
15 19 Daniel Suárez Toyota 191.877 46.905 –0.242
16 42 Kyle Larson Chevrolet 191.804 46.923 –0.26
17 22 Joey Logano Ford 191.779 46.929 –0.266
18 21 Ryan Blaney Ford 191.746 46.937 –0.274
19 6 Trevor Bayne Ford 191.718 46.944 –0.281
20 77 Erik Jones Toyota 191.693 46.95 –0.287
21 27 Paul Menard Chevrolet 191.534 46.989 –0.326
22 41 Kurt Busch Ford 191.42 47.017 –0.354
23 1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet 191.396 47.023 –0.36
24 10 Danica Patrick Ford 191.318 47.042 –0.379
25 43 Aric Almirola Ford 190.99 47.123 –0.46
26 3 Austin Dillon Chevrolet 190.973 47.127 –0.464
27 34 Landon Cassill Ford 190.335 47.285 –0.622
28 47 A. J. Allmendinger Chevrolet 190.283 48.298 –0.635
29 32 Matt DiBenedetto Ford 190.054 47.355 –0.692
30 95 Michael McDowell Chevrolet 189.721 47.438 –0.775
31 37 Chris Buescher Chevrolet 189.422 47.513 –0.85
32 38 David Ragan Ford 189.402 47.518 –0.855
33 75 Brendan Gaughan Chevrolet 189.294 47.545 –0.882
34 72 Cole Whitt Ford 189.107 47.592 –0.929
35 15 Michael Waltrip Toyota 189.08 47.599 –0.936
36 7 Elliott Sadler Chevrolet 188.561 47.73 –1.067
37 55 Reed Sorenson Toyota 187.332 48.043 –1.38
38 96 D. J. Kennington Toyota 186.819 48.175 –1.512
39 23 Joey Gase Toyota 185.543 48.428 –1.765
40 83 Corey LaJoie Toyota 185.246 48.584 –1.921
41 33 Jeffrey Earnhardt Chevrolet 184.767 48.71 –2.047
42 51 Timmy Hill Chevrolet 184.102 48.886 –2.223

Featured image courtesy of Motor Racing Network

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