William Byron Wins Daytona 500 Pole, as Hendrick Motorsports Dominates Qualifying

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DAYTONA BEACH, FL – RIS – William Byron won the pole position for next Sunday’s Great American Race – the Daytona 500.  He will be joined on the front row with William Byron, another Hendrick Motorsports teammate.  In fact, the first four qualifiers were cars from the shops of Hendrick Motorsports.  HMS has been dominant over the years in Daytona qualifying.

“Yeah, it’s awesome for Chevrolet. The Axalta Chevy was really fast, Byron said. “Credit to (crew chief) Chad (Knaus) and all the guys. It’s been a great off-season. We’re prepared. We’re ready. This is kind of the first step of our process together, so hopefully it goes well next Sunday. We can kind of chill out throughout the Duel races and learn a little bit. I’m looking forward to it. This is awesome.”

Byron and Bowman are both locked into their positions, but the rest of the field will race for positions in the rest of the field in two qualification races on Thursday. 

Byron is the fifth-straight Hendrick Motorsports driver to win the pole for the Daytona 500. Jeff Gordon won in 2015 and Chase Elliott won in 2016 and 2017. The five-straight 500 poles for Hendrick are a Daytona team record.

Hendrick did more than just get the top two spots too. Jimmie Johnson was the third-fastest driver on Sunday and Chase Elliott was the fourth-fastest. No one can come close to the team single-car speed that Hendrick has displayed so far, and in recent history.

The Daytona 500 is far more than single-car speed, however. Dale Earnhardt Jr. is the last Hendrick driver to win the Daytona 500 and his victory came in 2014. But the speed Hendrick showed (again) in qualifying is undoubtedly an early-season adrenaline boost for the team. Elliott, who won three times in 2018, was the only Hendrick driver to reach victory lane in 2018.

Starting spots 3-40 will be determined during Thursday night’s two qualifying races. Byron will start first in the first race while Bowman will start second.  Look for them to drop back early to protect their fast cars for big race on Sunday.

Forty-two cars are racing for 40 spots. With 36 cars locked into the race, six cars are racing for four spots. And with Tyler Reddick and Casey Mears posting the fastest laps of the six cars racing for four spots, there are essentially four drivers racing for two spots on Thursday night.

Ryan Truex, Brendan Gaughan, Parker Kligerman and Joey Gase are racing for the final two spots. Truex and Gaughan are in the first qualifying race and whoever finishes first among them will make the 500. Kligerman and Gase are in the second qualifying race with Reddick and Mears. That means Kligerman and Gase need to not only beat each other, but also Mears and Reddick to automatically qualify for the 500.

Qualifying results and the lineups from the two qualifying races on Sunday are as follows:

1. William Byron

2. Alex Bowman

3. Jimmie Johnson

4. Chase Elliott

5. Daniel Hemric

6. Joey Logano

7. Martin Truex Jr.

8. Clint Bowyer

9. Brad Keselowski

10. Austin Dillon

11. Paul Menard

12. Denny Hamlin

13. Kyle Busch

14. Erik Jones

15. Kevin Harvick

16. Tyler Reddick

17. Ryan Blaney

18. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

19. Aric Almirola

20. Daniel Suarez

21. Kurt Busch

22. Chris Buescher

23. David Ragan

24. Ryan Newman

25. Michael McDowell

26. Casey Mears

27. Ryan Truex

28. Ryan Preece

29. Jamie McMurray

30. Matt DiBenedetto

31. Brendan Gaughan

32. Kyle Larson

33. Bubba Wallace

34. Ty Dillon

35. Matt Tifft

36. Parker Kligerman

37. Ross Chastain

38. Landon Cassill

39. Corey LaJoie

40. Cody Ware

41. BJ McLeod

42. Joey Gase

Duel 1 lineup

1. William Byron

2. Jimmie Johnson

3. Daniel Hemric

4. Martin Truex Jr.

5. Brad Keselowski

6. Paul Menard

7. Kyle Busch

8. Kevin Harvick

9. Ryan Blaney

10. Aric Almirola

11. Kurt Busch

12. David Ragan

13. Michael McDowell

14. Ryan Truex

15. Jamie McMurray

16. Brendan Gaughan

17. Bubba Wallace

18. Matt Tifft

19. Ross Chastain

20. Corey LaJoie

21. BJ McLeod

Duel 2 lineup

1. Alex Bowman

2. Chase Elliott

3. Joey Logano

4. Clint Bowyer

5. Austin Dillon

6. Denny Hamlin

7. Erik Jones

8. Tyler Reddick

9. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

10. Daniel Suarez

11. Chris Buescher

12. Ryan Newman

13. Casey Mears

14. Ryan Preece

15. Matt DiBenedetto

16. Kyle Larson

17. Ty Dillon

18. Parker Kligerman

19. Landon Cassill

20. Cody Ware

21. Joey Gase

Ron Fleshman

RIS NASCAR Editor.  Has been with RIS since the middle 90's. Writes on each of the three main series of NASCAR.

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Volume 2019, Issue 2, Posted 2:45 PM, 02.10.2019