Chase Elliott wins second straight Daytona 500 pole
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- The front row for the 59th Daytona 500 is set.
Here is your front row for the 59th running of the Daytona 500. pic.twitter.com/CC7sZPGr2u— Chip Wile (@ChipWile) February 19, 2017
Hendrick Motorsports driver Chase Elliott became just the fifth driver in Daytona 500 history to win back-to-back poles, rocketing his No. 24 Chevrolet around Daytona International Speedway at 192.872 mph.
Elliott's pole snapped a streak of 14 consecutive years with a different driver taking the pole for NASCAR's biggest race.
"This is really cool. I'm just happy for our Napa team," Elliott told Fox after qualifying. "Big thanks to the Hendrick engine shop and Chevrolet. Everybody at Hendrick Motorsports has done a lot of work this offseason."
Fist bumps all around for the 2017 #Daytona500 pole winners. pic.twitter.com/Eqqrp5PSRF— Hendrick Motorsports (@TeamHendrick) February 19, 2017
After crashing out of last year's race, Elliott is hopeful that this year's start won't equal his 2016 finish.
"We tore up a lot of stuff here last year, so hopefully we can get to the end of the 500 next week," he said. "Just making it to the end and having yourself in position. Obviously, we'd love to have a shot to win this thing. It would be great and I think we have a car that can do it, so we'll find out."
Just the 5th driver to win D500 pole position back to back @chaseelliott.. His crew chief Alan Gustafson has now won 3 in a row @PRNlive— Mark Garrow (@GuruGarrow) February 19, 2017
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., making his highly anticipated return to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, will start alongside his teammate on the front row. It's the fourth time that Earnhardt has qualified on the front row for the Daytona 500, and the fifth time that Hendrick teammates will share the front row in the Great American Race.
"It feels good," said Earnhardt Jr., who won the Daytona 500 in 2004 and in 2014. "I think the guys are a little disappointed. They really wanted to get the pole. I'm disappointed, too, but absolutely thrilled to have an all Hendrick front row."
Sunday's qualifying session only determined the top two starting spots. With 42 cars entered, next Thursday's Cam-Am Duel qualifying races will set the remainder of the field. Six non-charter teams attempted to qualify for next Sunday's race. NASCAR veterans Elliott Sadler and Brendan Gaughan timed their way into the race and can rest easy entering Thursday's qualifiers.
Drivers Reed Sorenson, Timmy Hill, Corey LaJoie, and D.J. Kennington will race for the two remaining spots Thursday.
To view the complete results of Sunday's qualifying, click here.