DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — William Byron positioned Hendrick Motorsports in an acquainted position: on the pole for the Daytona 500. His larger intention is to make the starting spot pay dividends for the NASCAR powerhouse.
The 21-yr-old Byron and 25-12 months-vintage teammate Alex Bowman locked within the front row for “The Great American Race” for the duration of qualifying laps Sunday at Daytona International Speedway. They contain the youngest the front row in Daytona 500 records.
The coveted beginning spot hasn’t supposed a lot for NASCAR’s season opener over the past two a long time, although. The ultimate pole-sitter to win the Daytona 500 changed into Dale Jarrett in 2000.
The closing 4 – Hendrick’s Jeff Gordon, Chase Elliott (twice) and Bowman – have failed to finish within the top 10.
“To have them on the pinnacle of each other method the enterprise did a heck of a task,” Hendrick said. “This is the deal to take a seat at the pole at Daytona.”
Byron and Bowman edged the alternative two Hendrick drivers: seven-time Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson and fan favorite Chase Elliott.
Byron reached a top speed of 194.304 mph within the very last round of qualifying, almost two-tenths of a 2d quicker than Bowman (194.153).
“I thought we have been going to be someplace inside the hunt,” Byron said. “I become excited to get down right here and see what we had. It’s in reality cool.”
The rest of the forty-vehicle lineup may be set through qualifying races Thursday. Thirty-six of those spots are already stuffed because of NASCAR’s charter machine.
Former Hendrick motive force Casey Mears and Tyler Reddick secured two of the final spots. They posted the top speeds of the six drivers vying for four open spots in the opener.
Joey Gase, Ryan Truex, Parker Kligerman and Brandan Gaughan in all likelihood will have to race their manner into the five hundred at some point of the qualifying races. Two of them will make it, and the alternative won’t.
NASCAR EJECTED the automobile chiefs for Chase Elliott, Ty Dillon and Austin Dillon thru the Daytona 500 for repeated inspection failures earlier than qualifying.
JIMMIE JOHNSON precipitated damage that worn out nearly the complete field at Daytona and zipped to the lead to win the rain-shortened exhibition Clash on Sunday.
The seven-time Cup Series champion didn’t win a race remaining season for the first time in his profession, but a dose of aggression put him returned in victory lane in the first weekend of Speedweeks, continuing the banner day for Hendrick.