Chase Elliott captures Daytona 500 pole for second straight year

By Amanda Vincent, The Sports Xchange
Chase Elliott. Photo by Mike Gentry/UPI
Chase Elliott. Photo by Mike Gentry/UPI | License Photo

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Chase Elliott turned in a single-lap speed of 192.872 miles per hour on Sunday to claim the pole for the 59th edition of the Daytona 500 for the second straight year.

"This is really cool," Elliott said. "I'm just happy for our NAPA team, and it's great to have NAPA onboard this weekend. And a big thanks to the Hendrick engine shop and Chevrolet. Everybody at Hendrick Motorsports has done a lot of work this offseason. This team definitely has a knack for these plate tracks, as they showed with Jeff Gordon and then, last year with here and Talladega. But that stuff doesn't just happen by staying the same, as everybody knows. Everyone is always trying to get better and make their cars better and faster. And the engine shop is always finding new things, so I think that's just proof that they're improving with everybody else and taking that next step, which is really impressive. I'm happy to be a part of it and, hopefully, we can run good next Sunday."


Elliott recorded a 46.6631-second lap in the second of two rounds of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series qualifying Sunday at Daytona International Speedway. It is the third straight pole for the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet team, following Jeff Gordon's Daytona pole win in the No. 24 in 2015.

"I am just really proud of everybody at our shop -- the Hendrick engine shop, the Hendrick chassis ship, Hendrick Motorsports as a whole, and the No. 24 team, for sure," Elliott said. I appreciate all of their hard work."

The latest pole for the No. 24 also is the third consecutive Daytona 500 pole for Elliott's crew chief, Alan Gustafson, a native of Ormond Beach, just about five miles from the race track. The last crew chief to win three straight Daytona 500 poles was Elliott's uncle, Ernie Elliott.

Hendrick Motorsports swept the front row, as Dale Earnhardt Jr. will start the Daytona 500 alongside his teammate on the front row after posting a lap speed of 192.864.

"It feels good," Earnhardt said. "I think the guys are a little bit disappointed. They really wanted to get the pole. I'm disappointed, too, but am absolutely thrilled to have an all-Hendrick Motorsports front row. And we'll work on the balance, practice a lot this week, and make sure it's a good handling car for the race. But it's a good way to start the week."


Elliott was tops throughout the qualifying session, as he also posted the fast lap in the opening round. Like in the final round, Earnhardt was second to his teammate in round one.

"They (the No. 24 team) just, certainly, know how to get the job done at these plate tracks, for sure," Earnhardt said. "It will make Rick (Hendrick, team owner) happy to have all of the front row, an all Hendrick front row. We are a little disappointed. It would have been nice to get the pole, but it is good to be up front and starting up front for our qualifying race; that will be great."

The other 40 drivers entered for the Daytona 500 will have to wait until the running of Thursday night's two Can-Am Duel 150-mile races to find out where they'll start the Daytona 500. Two of the 42 entered will not make the race. Thirty-six drivers driving for teams with chartered are guaranteed starting spots among the 40-car race field.

"This is the end of the one-car speed part of it," Ryan Newman, who was 10th on Sunday, said. "Now, we have to make sure it drives good and has speed, and not just drive good, but to drive good for the duration."


Also, Elliott Sadler and Brendan Gaughan know they'll race in the 500 next weekend by virtue of being the fastest among the six drivers running for open teams.

NOTES: Joey Logano was the fastest in practice on Saturday, with a 46.604-second lap and won the Advance Auto Parts Clash exhibition race earlier in the day Sunday but failed to advance to the second-round of Daytona 500 qualifying. ... The 2017 Daytona 500 will be Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s first race since Kentucky Speedway in July 2016. He was sidelined the second half of last season by a concussion. ... Michael Waltrip will make his final Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start in this year's Daytona 500. ... Denny Hamlin won the 2016 Daytona 500.

Latest Headlines