Earnhardt Jnr on pole for Daytona 500
Dale Earnhardt Jnr has taken pole position for next Sunday’s Daytona 500.
The #88 Amp Energy Chevrolet will start alongside the fellow Hendrick Motorsports entry of Jeff Gordon.
The 2004 race winner’s lap of 186.089mph in the one-at-a-time qualifying session pipped Gordon by less than 0.1mph.
While Earnhardt and Gordon locked in their starting spots, the rest of the field will fight for their grid positions in the Gatorade Duels later this week.
“The main thing (that pole) does for me is take the pressure off Thursday’s race,” said Earnhardt.
“I can go out and have fun and not worry about where I finish or getting a good starting spot for the Daytona 500.”
The result marks Hendrick’s third ever front-row lockout for ‘The Great American Race’, with Mark Martin and Dale Earnhardt having combined to achieve the feat just 12 months ago.
Daytona 500 rookie Trevor Bayne surprised with third fastest in the #21 Wood Brothers Ford.
The Richard Childress Racing Chevrolets of Paul Mernard, Clint Bowyer, and Jeff Burton were next quickest, while Ryan Newman (Stewart Haas Chevrolet), Mark Martin (Hendrick Chevrolet), Tony Stewart (Stewart Haas Chevrolet) and Greg Biffle (Roush Fenway Ford) rounded out the top ten.
Bud Shootout winner Kurt Busch was 11th in his Penske Dodge, while Australian Marcos Ambrose clocked the 13th fastest time in the #9 Richard Petty Ford.
Last year’s championship contender Denny Hamlin (Joe Gibbs Toyota) set the 44th fastest time after his initial run was thwarted when he lost his steering wheel coming out of pit lane.
Bill Elliott (Phoenix Chevrolet), Travis Kvapil (Front Row Motorsports Ford) and Joe Nemechek (NEMCO Motorsports Toyota) all earned their place in the 500 as the three fastest drivers among those required to qualify on speed.
Terry Labonte (FAS Lane Racing) is guaranteed a start due to the past champion’s provisional, while two starting positions will be awarded from each of Thursday’s Duel races.
See below for the full qualifying result
|1||Dale Earnhardt Jr||Chevrolet||186.089|
|12||Juan Pablo Montoya||Chevrolet||184.763|
|33||Martin Truex Jr||Toyota||183.456|
|43||Robert Richardson Jr||Ford||181.466|