Daytona 500 Pole Qualifying

In a setup like no other, 42 drivers will take a spin around the two and a half mile tri-oval that is Daytona International Speedway for the right to sit on the pole for the 59th annual Daytona 500 on February 26.


After qualifying today only the front row will be set, the remaining 38 spots will be determined in the dual races on Thursday February 23.

The starting lineup for those dual races will also be set after qualifying today.

While there are a number of drivers who will be working to make their first Daytona race, long time driver, former car owner, and FOX broadcaster Michael Waltrip will be vying for a spot in his final Daytona 500…and final race before hanging up the helmet and firesuit.

FOX broadcaster Mike Joy reported that there has not been a repeat pole sitter in the Daytona 500 for the past 14 years; adding that he thinks there will also be a first time pole sitter this year as well.

Qualifying in reverse order of practice speeds, Jeffrey Earnhardt is the first driver on the track in single car qualifying.

The drivers get one warm up lap and one speed lap to post their best time. The top 12 drivers will run a second round to determine who will sit on the pole.

Timmy Hill is up next. Followed by Corey LaJoie, D.J. Kennington, Reed Sorenson, and Joey Gase.

Starting his 30th Daytona 500, Michael Waltrip makes his final qualifying run.

Cole Whitt, Eilliott Sadler, Brendan Gaughan, David Ragan, Matt DiBenedetto, Landon Cassill, Michael McDowell, Austin Dillon, Chris Buescher, Danica Patrick, Jamie McMurray, Martin Truex Jr, Ty Dillon, and last year’s pole sitter Chase Elliott all make their qualifying run.

Next up are AJ Allmendinger, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Paul Menard, the 2016 Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin, seven time Monster Energy champion Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, Ryan Newman, the last man to make it through inspection Erik Jones, and Kurt Busch.

After being out of the car for seven months due to a concussion injury Dale Earnhardt Jr kicks off qualifying for the top 10 drivers. He qualified in second place and ensured his spot in the second round.

Clint Bowyer, Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Kasey Kahne, Daniel Suarez, Ryan Blaney, Kyle Larson, Brad Keselowski, Aric Almirola, and Joey Logano finish out the drivers trying to qualify for the 500.

With no one able to unseat Chase Elliott, the young driver moves on to vie for his second consecutive pole. Elliott, Martin Truex Jr, and Dale Jr are the only drivers in the top 12 that could repeat as the pole sitter for the Daytona 500.

The top 12 drivers are separated by less than 700ths of a second.

Again running in inverse order, Ty Dillon will be the first driver on the track in round two of qualifying. His second run was slightly slower than his first qualifying run.

Kevin Harvick ran a bit faster in his second run.

Kasey Kahne picked up a wee bit on his run.

Ryan Newman dropped just a wee bit in speed.

Kyle Busch also fell off a bit from his first run.

Clint Bowyer ran the lap in 46.73 seconds to take the top spot.

Denny Hamlin picked up a wee bit on his second run.

Matt Kenseth was just a bi slower on his run.

Martin Truex Jr ran a bit faster on his run to take second place.

Brad Keselowski tops the the chart with a 46.72 second run.

Dale Earnhardt Jr ran a 46.665 second run to take over P1.

The final driver Chase Elliott ran a 46.80 on his first run and ran a 46.663 on his second run to beat out Dale Jr by TWO THOUSANDTHS of a second. This is Chase Elliott’s second pole in a row and the third in a row for Hendrick Motorsports.

With Chase Elliott and Dale Earnhardt Jr on the front row, Hendrick Motorsports will start the Daytona 500 from the front row.

Chase_Elliott_Road_America_2015 Dale_Earnhardt_Jr._at_the_Daytona_500

The remainder of the field will be set on Thursday with the drivers who qualified with odd numbers running the first dual and the drivers who qualified with the even numbers running the second dual. While the outcome of the race will not affect their starting position – unless they have to run a backup car – Chase Elliott and Dale Earnhardt Jr will also participate in the Dual races.

photos courtesy of By Tech Sgt. Cherie A. Thurlby, U.S. Air Force – AmericaSupportsYou photoessay, Public Domain,

By Royalbroil – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

By Nascarking – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

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