Ricky Stenhouse Jr. won the pole for the upcoming Daytona 500 Sunday at Daytona International Speedway with a 194.582 mph lap in the No. 47 JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet.
Alex Bowman will join Stenhouse on the front row for the 62nd annual season- opener Daytona 500 with the second-fastest lap of 194.363 mph (46.305 seconds).
It was an impressive beginning for Stenhouse in his first outing with his new team after leaving Roush Fenway Racing at the end of the 2019 season. He gave all the credit to his new team and the Hendrick Motorsports engine under the hood.
“It’s cool,” Stenhouse said. “I’m just thankful for the opportunity to be here and bring guys with me like Brian and Mike (Kelley, whose wind-tunnel work was crucial to the effort). They’ve been working hard, they’ve are in my corner and they’ve been behind me throughout my career.
“The Hendrick horsepower was amazing. Obviously, we’ve got quite a few Hendrick cars lined up behind us. Our Camaro was really strong. The wind started picking up down the back straightaway – a little headwind.”
It was the third pole for JTG Daugherty and their first at an oval.
“That was our goal coming down here,” Stenhouse continued. “Pattie (crew chief Brian Pattie) was working really hard in the offseason toward that goal. We cut bodies off and put them back on – so this goes out to the whole shop.
“Anytime you can start the season off with a new organization and see all the work they put in – guys in the shop that I don’t even know are working late nights. All for benefit of me to come down here and jump in this car and run fast.
“This goes to a lot of people who work behind the scenes for me to come out and drive. It’s a cool way to start Speedweeks.”
While the rest of the field’s running order will be set next week during the Bluegreen Vacation Duels, today’s qualifying is an excellent indicator of who to watch next Sunday during the race. You can also check out NJ Sports Betting for a guide on where to place your bets.
Bowman is looking forward to continuing what has been an encouraging start to Daytona Speedweeks.
“I think we’re going to have a great race car in the race,” he said. “Our Clash car has been driving really well, as well. Just excited to be back here with the new Camaro body. I think that’s going to be really great for us, and the Valvoline car looks really cool, so it’s been a good weekend so far.”
Hendrick Motorsports drivers Chase Elliott and Jimmie Johnson qualified third and fourth with Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch setting the fifth and sixth highest speeds. Aric Almirola, William Byron, Christopher Bell and Erik Jones rounding out the top 10 in qualifying.
The Duels will be held Thursday, Feb. 13, beginning at 7 p.m. ET. There are two separate Duel races and each will consist of 60 laps. The race lineup for each Duel is determined by the qualifying speeds set today. Drivers who qualified in odd number positions will compete in Duel 1 with those in even-finishing positions racing in Duel 2.
The Daytona 500 will air Sunday, Feb. 16 at 2:30 p.m. ET on FOX with radio coverage on MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.