Chase Elliott becomes youngest Daytona 500 pole-sitter in history

For the second year in succession, the No. 24 will lead the field to the green flag in the Daytona 500.

At 20 years, 2 months and 17 days Elliott becomes the youngest polesitter for the Great American Race. His feat also makes Chase and Bill Elliott the fourth father-son combination to win poles for the event

Elliott, who posted the third fastest time in the first round for one of the 12 transfer spots in the final bumped Kyle Busch from the top spot with a lap of 196.314 mph. The final two qualifiers — Matt Kenseth and Elliott’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr., the top qualifier in Round 1, had nothing for the No. 24 NAPA Chevy. 

“This is a very, very cool day. I don’t know that this opportunity has sunk in yet, much less sitting on the pole for the Daytona 500. So this is very cool. I think the big thing is just the team and the Daytona 500 qualifying is about the team guys and the effort they put into these cars and it’s nothing special I did, it’s really what kind of work they did this off-season to make it happen.  Jeff (Gordon) knows all about that and I just wanted to give a big thanks to NAPA Auto Parts and all of our partners at HMS on this No. 24 car. This is very special and a great way to start the season.”

Kenseth P2

Kenseth was second with a lap of 196.036 mph and will share the front row with Elliott for the 58th running of the Daytona 500. The remaining starting positions will be determined by the Can-Am Duels on Thursday

Earnhardt’s lap of 195.682 mph was third quick followed by Kyle Busch (195.207 mph), Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who posted the top lap for a Ford (195.118 mph) and Jimmie Johnson (194.746 mph).

Ryan Blaney, the only open team to transfer into the second round posted the seventh quick time of 194.746 mph. Austin Dillon, Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin, Kurt Busch and Joey Logano rounded out the top 12 qualifiers. 

Issues for Truex, Stewart-Haas

Of the 44 cars entered in the Daytona 500, Martin Truex Jr. was the only driver not to make a lap. NASCAR officials discovered an issue with the right roof flap on the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota. In post-race tech inspection, NASCAR also found a track bar violation on both the No. 14 of Brian Vickers and No. 4 of Kevin Harvick. Read more about the penalties that followed HERE.

“They didn’t like the way it landed when it dropped back down,” crew chief Cole Pearn said of the roof flaps. “I don’t know why it was that way the whole way down pit road. I’m not sure wheat the problem was. It could have been easily fixed. Either way, they decided to put it on the five-minute clock when we were down there at the end. I don’t know why they made us come back here (in the garage) because there was no way we would get back here then get back there (on pit road) in time.

“Whatever, we’ll roll on and see what they decide to do. It’s too bad. I thought we had a really good car. It would have been nice to see where we could have run at least. Either way, we’ll move on and hopefully have a good rest of Speedweeks.

Round 1

In the first round of qualifying, Dale Earnhardt Jr. topped the charts with a lap of 195.788mph. He was joined in the pole-deciding second round by Matt Kenseth, Chase Elliott, Kyle Busch, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Austin Dillon, Jimmie Johnson, Ryan Blaney, Denny Hamlin, Carl Edwards, Kurt Busch, and Joey Logano.

Logano bumped Casey Mears out of the second round by a mere .001 of a second.

Among the non-charter teams that are forced to qualify into the race, Blaney was quickest and secured a position in the 500 for Wood Brothers Racing. Matt DiBenedetto in the BK Racing Toyota also locked himself into the big show.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Event Daytona 500
Sub-event Sunday qualifying
Track Daytona International Speedway
Drivers Matt Kenseth , Chase Elliott
Teams Hendrick Motorsports , Joe Gibbs Racing
Article type Qualifying report