Chase Elliott nips Dale Earnhardt Jr. to win second consecutive Daytona 500 pole

Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images
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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Chase Elliott became the first driver to win consecutive Daytona 500 poles since Ken Schrader more than 25 years ago.

Elliott won the pole with a lap of 192.872 mph Sunday at Daytona International Speedway. He’ll be joined on the front row by Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr., who qualified after a lap of 192.864 mph.

“It’s cool to share a front row with a teammate,” Elliott said.

Said Earnhardt: “I’d certainly would have loved to have gotten the pole, but I know (car owner Rick Hendrick) is happy. He’s got to be thrilled with having his cars up front.”

MORE: Daytona 500 qualifying results

Elliott’s pole marked the third consecutive year Hendrick Motorsports has won the Daytona 500 pole. It also was the third consecutive year crew chief Alan Gustafson, who grew up in the shadows of this track, had guided the pole-winning team. The last crew chief to win three consecutive Daytona 500 poles was Ernie Elliott from 1985-87.

“I think that’s really cool,” Chase Elliott said. “To date back, I know how much success they had down here and how much they enjoyed coming and how good Dad was at racing at this place and how good Uncle Ernie is at building motors to this day. It means a lot to me, so that’s pretty cool.”

Schrader was the last driver to win consecutive Daytona 500 poles when he did so from 1988-90.

Brendan Gaughan and Elliott Sadler each secured a spot in the Daytona 500 by being the fastest two non-chartered teams. The two fastest non-chartered teams and the highest finishing non-chartered driver in each qualifying race on Thursday will make the 40-car field. Thirty-six spots are guaranteed to charter teams.

Gaughan, who is with Beard Motorsports, will make his second Daytona 500 start. His only start in this race came in 2004.

Sadler is driving for Tommy Baldwin Racing and making his 14th start in the Daytona 500 but first since 2012. He finished second in the 2002 race.

The rest of the Daytona 500 starting lineup will be set after Thursday night’s 150-mile qualifying races.

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