At 21 years old, William Byron became the second-youngest driver to win the pole for the Daytona 500, his No. 24 Chevrolet skyrocketing to the top of the speed charts with a blistering 194.305 mph in Sunday’s Busch Pole Qualifying.
The Sunoco Rookie of the Year, who will team with veteran crew chief Chad Knaus beginning this season, will start on the front row beside his teammate (and 2018 Daytona 500 pole-sitter) Alex Bowman, marking a sweep for Hendrick Motorsports. It also marks the fifth straight Daytona 500 Busch Pole for Hendrick Motorsports.
Hendrick Motorsports’ other drivers Jimmie Johnson and Chase Elliott brought plenty of qualifying speed as well, posting the third- and fourth-fastest in the final round of qualifying. Johnson, Elliott and the rest of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series field will set their Daytona 500 spots in Thursday’s Gander RV Duels at Daytona (7 p.m. ET, FS1/MRN). The Duels will also determine which drivers go home.
Several veteran drivers missed the final round of qualifying and did not have the opportunity to run for the Busch Pole, including Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch.
The top two fastest Open teams — Tyler Reddick’s No. 31 Chevrolet and Casey Mears’ No. 27 Chevrolet — locked into the Daytona 500 field via Sunday’s qualifying session. They can improve their starting position with a strong Duels performance, but have the option to fall back on their qualifying times should they experience a wreck or issues during the Duels.
The Monster Energy Series is back on track later today for the Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona (3 p.m. ET, FS1/MRN), its field consisting of 20 eligible drivers. Paul Menard, whose crew chief drew the top starting position on Saturday night, will lead the field to green.
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Author: Staff Report