Alex Bowman wins Daytona 500 pole in all-Hendrick front row

Alex Bowman rocketed to the Daytona 500 pole as Hendrick Motorsports swept the front row.

Bowman’s average lap speed of 191.261 mph led the way in Wednesday night’s qualifying session as he easily topped his Hendrick teammate William Byron to make his record fourth consecutive front row start in the season opener.

Byron ended up second (190.219 mph), which also locked him into the Sunday’s starting lineup at Daytona International Speedway.

It’s also the seventh consecutive Daytona 500 a team powered by a Hendrick engine started on the pole.

“I mean it doesn’t have a whole lot to do with me, right? It’s a testament to the guys on this team and everybody back at the shop at Hendrick Motorsports,” Bowman said. “They work so hard on these superspeedway cars – they’re beautiful when they get to the race track.

“Our Ally Camaro obviously has been really fast since we unloaded. We focused a lot on trying to win the pole for the 500. It means a lot to us and obviously we were able to achieve that.

“Just really proud of everyone. It feels really good. It’s just awesome to be driving this No. 48 car.”

Aric Almirola (190.178 mph) ended up third and the top Ford, Bubba Wallace was fourth-fastest (189.577 mph) and the top Toyota and Ryan Preece (189.565 mph) ended up fifth.

Rounding out the top 10 were Kevin Harvick, Christopher Bell, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Austin Dillon and Daniel Suarez.

By posting the fastest speeds among the teams without charters, both David Ragan and Preece are guaranteed a starting position in the Daytona 500.

The remainder of the 500 lineup will be set by the results of Thursday night’s qualifying races.

Noah Gragson, who was attempting to make the Daytona 500 with Beard Motorsports in the No. 62 Chevrolet, was unable to make a qualifying attempt as his car failed inspection three times.

He will have to start from the rear of the field of his qualifying race Thursday night and his performance in that event will be the only way he can make the field of the Daytona 500.

Derrike Cope also failed to make a qualifying attempt as his team needed to change batteries but could not complete it within the five-minute clock.


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