DAYTONA BEACH, Fla – For the first time of his career, Chase Elliott will have to race for something in the Can-Am Duels. The Hendrick Motorsports driver has won the last two Daytona 500 poles, the only two times he’s been in the field for the Great American Race too. But, despite making it to the final round of qualifying from a sunny Daytona International Speedway on Sunday afternoon, Elliott didn’t become the first driver in nearly 30 years to win three straight ‘500 poles.
But, his teammate Alex Bowman picked up where Elliott left off. Bowman, in his first full season in the No. 88 Chevrolet won the pole for next Sunday’s 60th annual Daytona 500 (2:30 p.m. ET/FOX/MRN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). The Arizona native last raced in the ‘500 in 2014, as he didn’t qualify for the race in 2015 and wasn’t in Daytona in 2016. He replaces Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the No. 88 entry and will give that team their fifth straight restrictor plate front row start. Earnhardt, started second in last year’s ‘500 and was on the pole for July’s Coke Zero 400. He also won the pole in the fall at Talladega.
Now, Bowman gives Hendrick their fourth straight Daytona 500 pole award and Chevy their sixth in-a-row and 10th in the last 11 years.
Bowman, turned a lap of 195.644 mph in the final round, as his car was by far the most superior in qualifying trim. He beat Denny Hamlin with authority for his second career Cup pole.
Hamlin, set a speed of 195.092 mph in his No. 11 Toyota to earn his first career Daytona 500 front row start. He was impressed with that run too because he didn’t think they had much qualifying speed in it. Boy was he happily wrong by that.
Toyota still has never won a ‘500 pole though.
The entire top seven of the qualifying results was all Hendrick and Joe Gibbs Racing dominated. All eight of their combined cars made the final round as Elliott was the only one not to make it eight-for-eight up front. He qualified 10th.
Jimmie Johnson (194.734 mph), Kyle Busch (194.704 mph) and William Byron (194.548 mph) rounded out the top five.