Daytona Beach, Fla – For the second straight year, Chase Elliott drove his No. 24 Chevrolet to the pole for the Daytona 500. As happy as he is that he’s 2-for-2 in Daytona 500 qualifying sessions, he’s hoping this year ends much differently than last.
Elliott, crashed early on in last year’s race and finished a disappointing 37th. But, it’s not just him that’s struggled in the ‘500 as a pole sitter. Nine times has the pole sitter gone on to win the Daytona 500, that’s the most out of any other starting position. But, the last one to do so, was Dale Jarrett in 2000.
Yes, it’s been 17 years now since the pole sitter won the Daytona 500 and in fact, other than Jeff Gordon doing so the year prior in 1999, it hasn’t been done since Chase’s father Bill Elliott won the Daytona 500 from the pole in 1985 and again in 1987.
So in 31 years, that feat has been accomplished just four times.
But, if Elliott is to win on Sunday (1 p.m. ET/FOX/MRN) he would be the second youngest winner in the 59 year history of the race. Just Trevor Bayne (20 years old) in 2011 would be younger. The next youngest is Joey Logano being 24-years old when he won in 2015.
This year, Elliott can definitely do so as he now has the experience and knowledge to know what to expect. The only thing against him is the new curse of the pole winners for the race.
Also, Hendrick cars struggled with getting loose off of Turn 4 a year ago which saw not just Elliott but Dale Earnhardt Jr. both crash in similar fashion in last year’s race. Mix in Jimmie Johnson having troubles twice with Turn 4 in the Clash this past Sunday, and you can see why Elliott needs more of a handling car than speed.
If they can find that mix, watch out for Elliott on Sunday.