Daytona 500 Qualifying
Alex Bowman captured his first ever Daytona 500 pole in his new No. 88 Nationwide Insurance Camaro ZL1 with a lap of 195.644 mph. Starting alongside Bowman with a lap of 195.092 mph will be Denny Hamlin in his No.11 FedEx Camry.
“It was a little nerve-wracking. Our Nationwide Camaro ZL1 has been great since we unloaded. All the guys back at the chassis shop, body shop and the Hendrick engine shop have been top-notch. They’ve all worked so hard. And we knew we were going for the pole; that’s what we’re here to do,” said Bowman.
Bowman looked like he had the car to beat after the first round, where he topped the chart with a lap of 194.885 mph.
The Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas were fast too, as they all made it to the final round of qualifying.
“Just great teamwork. It’s a testament to all of the hard work at TRD (Toyota Racing Development) and all the work they put in to give us great engines and technology. Really, everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing’s fab shop to give us a race car that’s obviously very fast,” Hamlin said.
The rest of the field will be set Thursday night after the Can-Am Duel races.
The Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona
Brad Keselowski took the No. 2 Miller Light Ford to victory lane after starting in the last position.
“I’m really proud of the whole effort here. What a way to start Speedweeks, putting the Miller Lite Ford in Victory Lane. I’m really proud of my team. I felt like we were due today,” said Keselowski.
The top five included Joey Logano, Kurt Busch, Ryan Blaney, and Austin Dillon.
Dillon started on the pole position but quickly lost the lead to Denny Hamlin. The field would run single file until Kyle Larson saved his loose race car from the apron after trying to pass Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Prior to the competition caution on Lap 25, most of the field pitted and the lead was passed on to Larson. Larson would later be passed by Kevin Harvick as he brought the field to the caution.
On Lap 33, Jamie McMurray went around and hit the wall which brought out the second caution of the day. About seven cars pitted and Chase Elliot would lead the field back to the green on Lap 39. But that did not last long as Blaney gave Keselowski a push to gain the lead.
Stenhouse would be penalized with a pass-thru penalty on Lap 43 after passing Kyle Busch under the double-yellow line to advance for a position in the backstretch.
With 10 laps remaining the field was single file which was a bit surprising. By the way they ran earlier in the race, most probably expected the same to happen as the laps were closing.
The white flag waved and Larson gained a run in the backstretch which led him to turn Jimmie Johnson into the wall and fail to finish a seventh straight Clash.
The Clash was just a little preview of what to expect for next Sunday’s Daytona 500.
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