Rookie Chase Elliott won the pole for next Sunday’s Daytona 500 on Sunday, and will be joined by Matt Kenseth on the front row.
Here are eight things to know about how qualifying went on a mild, sunny day at Daytona International Speedway:
The pole winner
Elliott, 20, is the youngest driver to win the Daytona 500 pole and the sixth rookie in history to accomplish the feat. He’s racing in one of NASCAR’s iconic cars: the recently retired Jeff Gordon’s No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy.
All in the family
Elliott’s father, NASCAR hall-of-famer Bill Elliott, won the Daytona pole twice. They’re the fourth father-son combo to win the pole, joining Richard and Kyle Petty, Bobby and Davey Allison and Dale Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
On the outside
Matt Kenseth’s lap of 196.036 mph earned him the outside spot on the front row.
The rest of the 40-car field will be set during Thursday’s Can-Am Duel qualifying races. The field will include the 34 other “charter” teams who are guaranteed spots in every race, as well as four “open” teams.
Ryan Blaney and Matt DiBenedetto clinched spots in the race with the fastest laps among the eight “open” teams entered in the 500. The highest “open” finisher (aside from Blaney and DiBenedetto) in each of the duel races will also make the 500 field.
Other fast guys
Dale Earnhardt Jr. was third behind Elliott and Kenseth with a final-round lap of 195.682 mph, and was fastest during the first round. Cup champion Kyle Busch had the fourth-fastest time (195.207). That did neither of them any good, except that Earnhardt and Busch get front-row spots alongside Elliott and Kenseth in Thursday’s Duels.
Martin Truex Jr., Kevin Harvick and Brian Vickers were penalized Sunday and will all start at the rear of the field in Thursday’s Duels. Truex’s roof flap was found not to be in compliance before qualifying and, after the problem couldn’t be fixed in five minutes, he wasn’t allowed to qualify. Harvick and Vickers were both found to have track bar violations after qualifying. Harvick had qualified 16th and Vickers 21st.
“I just tried to not do something dumb and mess up.” – Chase Elliott