Johnson, Harvick Secure Front-Row Starting Positions For Daytona 500 DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (Feb. 9, 2002) - Two drivers who have never competed in a Daytona 500 will start the "Great American Race" on Feb. 17 on the front row. Jimmie Johnson...
Johnson, Harvick Secure Front-Row Starting Positions For Daytona 500
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (Feb. 9, 2002) - Two drivers who have never competed in a Daytona 500 will start the "Great American Race" on Feb. 17 on the front row.
Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick captured the pole and outside pole respectively during Bud Pole Qualifying on Saturday at Daytona International Speedway.
Johnson, driving the No. 48 Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse Chevrolet for owners Rick Hendrick and Jeff Gordon, took the pole with a fast lap of 185.831 mph
Harvick, wheeling the No. 29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing, will make his first Daytona 500 start on the outside pole after turning a lap of 185.770 mph.
Only Johnson and Harvick have secured starting positions for the Daytona 500. The rest of the entrants will battle for Daytona 500 starting positions in the Gatorade 125's on Thursday, Feb. 14.
It's a relief for Johnson to be in the Daytona 500 field. His newly formed team didn't have the luxury of provisionals and the only way he was going to crack the Daytona 500 field was either on speed or in the Gatorade 125's.
"I chewed through two packs of gum and wore the soles out of my shoes watching everything from pit road," said Johnson, whose Bud Pole qualifies him for next year's Budweiser Shootout. "You couldn't hope for anything bigger or better (than a Daytona 500 pole.) I've got a lot of experience to gain. It's a great accomplishment for everyone at Hendrick and Lowe's. It's a lot pride for everyone."
Johnson and Harvick make a unique front row combination. Johnson is running for the Raybestos Rookie of the Year honors this year while Harvick captured the title last year.
Said Harvick: "We're on the front row for the Daytona 500 no matter what happens in the Gatorade 125's. That takes a whole week and I don't have to worry about anything. All we have to do is concentrate on our race car." Johnson's boss, Gordon, qualified third in the No. 24 DuPont Automotive Finishes Chevrolet. Gordon complemented both his team's effort and the crew of the No. 48 car.
"They did a great job and so did the guys on the No. 48 team," Gordon said. "We've been about a tenth off of them ever since we've built these cars - from testing and practicing and now qualifying - but we're real happy with that."
Defending Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip posted a solid speed, qualifying eighth in the No. 15 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet with a speed of 184.188 mph.
"I'm very happy," Waltrip said. "That's better than I thought we would run." Dave Marcis, who is retiring after the Daytona 500, posted the 22nd fastest speed in the No. 71 Realtree Chevrolet with a lap of 183.259 mph.
Tickets for all Speedweeks events are available online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling the Speedway ticket office at (386) 253-7223. -30-