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Elliott Wins 500 Pole; Junior Also On Front Row

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, February 19 2017

Chase Elliott won the pole for the Daytona 500 on Sunday. It was his second straight pole for stock car racing’s big event. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Ashley R Dickerson)

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Once again, qualifying day for the Daytona 500 turned into a showcase for NASCAR’s most bankable stars as young Chase Elliott and veteran Dale Earnhardt Jr. will start on the pole and P2 respectively in next weekend’s 59th running of stock car racing’s most important event.

Both drivers are members of Hendrick Motorsports. Elliott won the pole with a speed of 192.872 mph while Earnhardt Jr. was 192.864 mph in Sunday’s qualifying session.

The pole is the second straight for Elliott, son of popular former champion and Hall of Famer Bill Elliott.

“This team definitely has a knack for these plate tracks as they showed with Jeff Gordon (who won the pole for Hendrick in 2015) and then last year with here and Talladega,” Chase Elliott said.

Earnhardt Jr. won the pole for the 500 in 2011. His outside pole this year comes in his first event back after sitting out much of the 2016 season with a head injury.

“It feels good,” Earnhardt, the sport’s perennial most popular driver, said. “I think the guys are a little bit disappointed. They really wanted to get the pole. I’m disappointed too, but am absolutely thrilled to have an all-Hendrick Motorsports front row. And we’ll work on the balance practice a lot this week and make sure it’s a good handling car for the race. But, it’s a good way to start the week.”

Qualifying Sunday determines the first row only for the 500. The rest of the field will be set on Thursday in the traditional dual qualifying races.

Brad Keselowski, Clint Bowyer and Martin Truex Jr. with third, fourth and fifth fastest in the session respectively.

Earnhardt showed no effects from his injury of a year ago. That is to be expected he said. This was qualifying, not racing.

“Well it wouldn’t show up here if there was any,” he said of ill effects. “Pretty easy job today for the driver.  The car does all the work, but it was a good day.  I didn’t know what we had as far as our car in practice.  Hard to tell how you stack up against the competition.  I knew Chase (Elliott) and those guys were going to find a little bit more, it is good that we did.  Usually we back up what we run in the first round at the plate tracks.  We found a little more speed.  It’s a team effort.”

(This story will be updated shortly)

 

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, February 19 2017
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