The return of the #3 in NASCAR’s premier Sprint Cup series has been marked with the Coors Light Pole for rookie Austin Dillon at the Daytona 500.
Not since the passing of Dale Earnhardt Sr. at the corresponding race in 2001 has the #3 been seen in Sprint Cup, and plenty of focus has been placed on the number’s return since car owner Richard Childress confirmed that his grandson would carry it in 2014.
“I feel like our engines have been really good since we’ve been here at Daytona,” said Dillon.
“I just had to get my shifts. And I knew that hopefully I could hold the wheel straight for two laps.”
After Dillon took the pole with a speed of 315.462km/h (196.019 mph), the Richard Childress Racing operation now wants the focus to be on the race next weekend.
“I couldn’t be more proud of Austin,” said Childress.
“We wanted to come down here and put on a good show with the #3.”
Dillon and Martin Truex Jr. have set their starting positions in the Daytona 500 as first and second. The rest of the drivers will race in the Budweiser Duel events later in the week to determine their position in the race. With 49 cars fighting for the 43 starting spots, the twin-150 mile (60 lap) races will be run Friday morning Australian time and are sure to provide plenty of action.
Australia’s Marcos Ambrose backed-up his seventh place finish in Saturday night’s Sprint Unlimited pre-season race with 11th place in qualifying for the 500.
“We’ve brought great cars here. Last night we had a competitive race and today we backed that up with good speed on these cars,” said Ambrose.
“We’re up in the stratosphere on qualifying day, which is the highest I’ve really ever been here for a 500 qualifying. We’re gonna get a top-10 speed before the Duel and showed some speed in the car.”
The field for each Duel is determined by assigning the cars that earned odd-numbered positions from qualifying to the first Duel race. The cars that earned even-numbered positions from qualifying will compete in the second Duel race. The starting positions for each Duel race will be based on the driver’s qualifying times.
A combination of results in those races, qualifying speed and provisional points will ultimately set the starting grid for ‘The Great American’ race.
VIDEO: Austin Dillon takes pole at Daytona 500
QUALIFYING TIMES: Daytona 500
|1||3||Austin Dillon #||DOW Chevrolet||45.914||196.019|
|2||78||Martin Truex. Jr.||Furniture Row Chevrolet||+0.039||195.852|
|3||16||Greg Biffle||3M Ford||+0.047||195.818|
|4||99||Carl Edwards||Fastenal Ford||+0.072||195.712|
|5||31||Ryan Newman||Caterpillar Chevrolet||+0.073||195.707|
|6||2||Brad Keselowski||Miller Lite Ford||+0.170||195.296|
|7||88||Dale Earnhardt. Jr.||National Guard Chevrolet||+0.190||195.211|
|8||24||Jeff Gordon||Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet||+0.230||195.042|
|9||17||Ricky Stenhouse. Jr.||Nationwide Insurance Ford||+0.239||195.004|
|10||27||Paul Menard||Peak/Menards Chevrolet||+0.259||194.919|
|11||9||Marcos Ambrose||Stanley Ford||+0.265||194.894|
|12||33||Brian Scott(i)||Whitetail Chevrolet||+0.293||194.776|
|13||43||Aric Almirola||Smithfield Ford||+0.321||194.658|
|14||48||Jimmie Johnson||Lowe’s Chevrolet||+0.326||194.637|
|15||22||Joey Logano||Shell Pennzoil Ford||+0.339||194.582|
|16||13||Casey Mears||GEICO Chevrolet||+0.339||194.582|
|17||20||Matt Kenseth||Dollar General Toyota||+0.341||194.574|
|18||7||Michael Annett #||Pilot/Flying J Travel Centers Chevrolet||+0.341||194.574|
|19||5||Kasey Kahne||Farmers Insurance Chevrolet||+0.348||194.544|
|20||15||Clint Bowyer||5-hour Energy Toyota||+0.353||194.523|
|21||18||Kyle Busch||M&M’s Toyota||+0.358||194.502|
|22||11||Denny Hamlin||FedEx Express Toyota||+0.364||194.477|
|23||4||Kevin Harvick||Budweiser Chevrolet||+0.377||194.422|
|24||42||Kyle Larson #||Target Chevrolet||+0.380||194.410|
|25||10||Danica Patrick||GoDaddy Chevrolet||+0.387||194.380|
|26||21||Trevor Bayne(i)||Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford||+0.398||194.334|
|27||47||AJ Allmendinger||Kroger/USO Chevrolet||+0.452||194.108|
|28||41||Kurt Busch||Haas Automation Chevrolet||+0.459||194.078|
|29||36||Reed Sorenson||Golden Corral Chevrolet||+0.462||194.066|
|30||51||Justin Allgaier #||Brandt Professional Agriculture Chevrolet||+0.522||193.815|
|31||38||David Gilliland||Love’s Travel Stops Ford||+0.541||193.736|
|32||40||Landon Cassill(i)||Hillman Racing Chevrolet||+0.542||193.732|
|33||30||Parker Kligerman #||Swan Energy Toyota||+0.575||193.594|
|34||66||Michael Waltrip||BlueDEF/AAA Toyota||+0.615||193.428|
|35||14||Tony Stewart||Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet||+0.630||193.365|
|36||35||Eric McClure(i)||Hefty Ultimate/Reynolds Wrap Ford||+0.741||192.905|
|37||55||Brian Vickers||Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota||+0.767||192.798|
|38||1||Jamie McMurray||McDonald’s Chevrolet||+0.792||192.695|
|39||26||Cole Whitt #||Speed Stick Gear Toyota||+0.830||192.538|
|40||34||David Ragan||CSX – Play It Safe Ford||+0.881||192.328|
|41||95||Michael McDowell||K-Love Ford||+0.890||192.291|
|42||32||Terry Labonte||C&J Energy Services Ford||+0.928||192.135|
|43||98||Josh Wise||Curb Records Ford||+0.946||192.061|
|44||52||Bobby Labonte||Phoenix Construction Chevrolet||+1.085||191.493|
|45||87||Joe Nemechek(i)||300 Rise of an Empire Toyota||+1.335||190.480|
|46||83||Ryan Truex #||Borla Exhaust Toyota||+1.368||190.347|
|47||23||Alex Bowman #||Dr.Pepper Toyota||+1.533||189.685|
|48||93||Morgan Shepherd(i)||SupportMilitary.org Toyota||+1.569||189.542|
|49||77||Dave Blaney||Plinker Arms Ford||+45.914|