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Another Rookie Wins The Pole For The Daytona 500

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, February 16 2014

Austin Dillon of Richard Childress Racing put the No. 3 No. 1 on the Daytona 500 starting grid. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Rusty Jarrett)

For the second season in a row, a high profile rookie will start the Daytona 500 from the pole position.

A year after Danica Patrick won the pole for NASCAR’s biggest event in her first full season in Sprint Cup, first-year driver Austin Dillon earned the right to lead the field to the green flag in the 2014 500. Dillon, driving the No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet, posted the top speed in Sunday’s qualifying session.

Dillon covered the 2.5 miles at DIS in 45.914 seconds (196.019 mph).

The pole was Dillon’s first in 14 attempts.

Dillon, 23, edged second-place qualifier Martin Truex Jr. (195.852 mph) of Furniture Row Racing for the top starting spot, but both drivers are locked into the front row for the 500 and will lead their respective fields to green in Thursday night’s Budweiser Duel at Daytona 150-lap qualifying races.

“It’s nice to get in the car,” Dillon said. “I feel like this is all for the guys at RCR. They brought the house down here. Our engine has been really good since we have been here. (RCR teammate Ryan) Newman had a good run. It would have been really cool to get one-two. Hopefully we can finish off this effort right here. Just proud of my guys.”

Truex Jr. earned P2 in his first attempt after taking over for Kurt Busch at FRR. Truex’s Chevy, like Dillon’s, was powered by an engine built by Earnhardt Childress Racing.

“Yeah front row that is what we are here for today,” Truex said. “Obviously can’t say enough about this team. What a great job I think we have got about seven miles on this car. One run yesterday, no testing down here, just an amazing job by Todd (Berrier, crew chief) and Cole (team engineer) and everybody on the team. Obviously pretty lucky guy to get to hold the wheel. ECR engines front row, we are lucky to have them under the hood and just have to thank everyone for the hard work. Really excited about the rest of Speedweeks.”

Roush Fenway Racing teammates Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards qualified third and fourth, respectively, and will start on the outside of the front row in their respective Duels, which will determine the starting order of positions 3 through 32 in the Daytona 500.

Newman and Brad Keselowski were fifth and sixth fastest during the time trials.

For the first three quarters of the session, Dale Earnhardt Jr. had the upper hand.

The first driver to make a qualifying attempt, Earnhardt ran 195.211 mph on his money lap—and waited. One by one, his rivals fired and fell back, until Biffle, the 32nd driver to post a time, cracked the 46-second mark and knocked Earnhardt off the provisional pole.

Earnhardt, the 2004 Daytona 500 winner, wound up seventh.

“It’s hard to celebrate, because I know this is just qualifying,” Dillon said, “but it’s great for these guys (the team). You never know the next time you’ll be standing in this position again. So it’s awesome; just want to thank our family back home at RCR. They’ve done such a good job — fab shop, engine shop, everybody, my guys.

“It’s all them. I hoped I didn’t mess it up. We knew we had a fast car, and we brought it back, so it’s good.”

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, February 16 2014


  • John Sturbin says:

    I’ve met Mr. Childress and dealt with him in various at-the-track and social settings. And I bet you haven’t got the balls to walk up to him and call him “Dick” to his face. Because your face immediately would meet his fist(s).

    • NASCAR Nutered Fords says:

      Dick Childress might just find his self being picked up off the ground if he wants to get froggy with me. Dick Childress is one of the biggest cry babies in NASCAR. When Ford would get their cars right and start kicking Dick and Dales ass on the track both Dick and Dale would cry the blues to the press and NASCAR would make a rules change for next race so that little Dick and Dale could be back winning again.

      I got so tired of hearing Dick and Dale telling the Ford teams to go work harder and when the Ford teams did just that and beat Dick and Dale on the track Little Dick and Dale cried and NASCAR always stepped in to help them.

      Why is it Chevy and Little Dick and Dale never had to work harder? No they cry like little babies and NASCAR always helped them.

      I have no respect for Dick Childress.

      • John Sturbin says:

        Only cry baby on this website is NASCAR Nutered Fords…over and over and over again. For a guy who supposedly doesn’t watch the sport anymore, you’ve cried a river…and the season really hasn’t started yet.
        And my money would be on Mr. Childress.

  • NASCAR Nutered Fords says:

    Gee how nice the first race the number 3 comes back and one of Dick Childress’ grand kids puts it on the pole. Kind like how bogus it was the first race after Earnhardt’s death back at Daytona how his kid Junior was able to run part throttle and pass cars that were drafting together all by himself.

    Jimmy Spencer had the balls to call it back than and quickly backtracked after NASCAR had a talk with him.

    Looks like another NASCAR fix is in the works.

    I do not like Kevin Harvick but he was correct last year when he went off on Dick Childress’ grand kid and made the statements that they are spoiled brats.

    Just like Spencer years earlier after NASCAR had their talk with Harvick he also backtracked.

    Nobody cares about the number 3 being back on the track it is still just a number just like it was just a number when Earnhardt drove the car.

    If NASCAR thinks this is going to bring them back they are in for a shock. Last year they had Dastink up the show Patrick on the pole, this year it not the driver they are interested in it is the number “3”.

    Even Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles and Ronnie Milsap can see through the NASCAR BS.