Chase Elliott will start first in Saturday night’s Cup race at Daytona International Speedway (7 p.m. ET on NBC).
The Hendrick Motorsports driver claimed his fourth career pole (all on restrictor-plate tracks) with a lap at 194.045 mph.
Three of Elliott’s poles have been at Daytona. He is the first driver to score his first four career poles on restrictor-plate tracks.
Elliott is joined on the front row by teammate Alex Bowman (193.046 mph), who had the pole for February’s Daytona 500.
The top five was rounded out by Brad Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick. Johnson’s starting spot is his best of the season.
“Our Hooters Chevy has been nice all weekend, we made a couple of changes at the end of that last practice before the rain and made it go a little faster,” Elliott told NBCSN. “I hope that translates to a good driving car tomorrow night. Obviously a lot of speed in our Chevrolets. I’ve said this before, but we put a lot of effort into our speedway program at Hendrick Motorsports. … We take a lot of pride in coming to these races. They pay the same amount of points as the rest of them, so it matters.”
Elliott has started in the first two rows in five of his six Daytona starts.
Elliott’s pole is Hendrick Motorsports’ 10th at a restrictor-plate track since 2015. Six have come at Daytona and four at Talladega.
Michael McDowell qualified eighth for his best starting position this season and his second start inside the top 10.
No Toyota drivers qualified in top 12 for the first time since last fall’s Talladega race.
Timothy Peters is the only driver who failed to qualify.
Click here for qualifying results.
LOUDON, N.H. — Former champion Kurt Busch said Friday that he’s focused on his performance on the track even though his contract ends after this season.
“For me, I’ve just been racing, driving and performing, doing all the things I can do to exceed in all categories, whether it’s teammate things, things on the track … communication with (crew chief) Billy Scott,” Busch said after winning the pole at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
“I don’t know many drivers that have a primary sponsor with them. Monster Energy has been very loyal to me. It’s just a matter of when the time is to start talking about a contract. Last year, it went long just because I felt I deserved more. The landscape is changing in NASCAR on primary sponsorship values, teams with the purse and the guarantee that they get off the historical performance. There are a lot of things that move, so we’ll see how it all comes together.”
MORE: Stewart-Haas Racing makes pit crew changes
MORE: Martin Truex Jr. laments sponsor leaving after this year
Last year, Stewart-Haas Racing declined the option on Busch’s contact when there were questions about if Monster Energy would return as a primary sponsor. After that was settled, Busch signed a one-year contract with the team. The deal was announced Dec. 12.
This is Busch’s fifth season with Stewart-Haas Racing. He’s won five races, including the 2017 Daytona 500 with the team. He has made the playoffs each year with SHR.
Busch’s pole Friday was his third of the year. He has yet to win a race this season but has 10 top-10 finishes.
“When you go to a track that you have good vibes about and with the team doing well, it gives you that feeling like you’re a step ahead and you just have to execute with confidence and not get too far off expecting good things to happen,” Busch said. “Just go out there and do your job and that’s what we’re doing right now and it’s great to have the pole with the 41 car.”
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Kurt Busch and Martin Truex Jr. will start from the front row in Sunday’s Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (2 p.m. ET on NBCSN).
Busch starts from the pole position for the third time this season and the first time at New Hampshire.
The top five is completed by Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Ryan Blaney.
Alex Bowman in eighth and Daniel Suarez in ninth earned their best starting position at New Hampshire.
Kevin Harvick missed the final round of qualification and starts 14th.
Click here for the complete starting lineup.
Kurt Busch posted a lap of 133.591 mph in the final round of qualification for the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and will lead the field to green on Sunday. Busch was the only Stewart-Haas Racing driver to advance to the final round.
This is Busch’s first pole at New Hampshire, but he has started on the front row twice before – most recently in July, 2013. He finished 31st in that race and was 21st after starting second in July, 2007.
He beat Martin Truex Jr. (133.502 mph) by .019 seconds.
Kyle Busch (133.431), Denny Hamlin (133.361) and Ryan Blaney (132.720) round out the top five.
Alex Bowman (132.618) had the fastest Chevrolet in eighth. This is his best New Hampshire start in his seventh race.
Kevin Harvick (132.554) failed to advance to the final round and posted the 14th fastest time.
Kyle Larson (132.039) failed to back up his practice speed. He had the third fastest car in that session, but failed to make the final round and qualified 20th.
Last year, Kyle Busch won from the pole for the first time since Ryan Newman did so in the July 2011.This is Busch’s first pole at New Hampshire, but he has started on the front row twice before – most recently in 2013. He finished 31st in that race and was 21st after starting second in 2007.
Daniel Suarez (132.581) in ninth earned his best New Hampshire start in three tries.
Today’s episode of NASCAR America airs from 6-7 p.m. ET on NBCSN and gets a jump on this weekend’s racing at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Carolyn Manno hosts with Parker Kligerman in Stamford, Connecticut.
On today’s show:
- The New Hampshire race weekend is off and running. Carolyn and Parker have complete coverage following today’s practices and Monster Energy Series qualifying from Loudon.
- They will get reaction from several drivers, including the one who will start from the pole in Sunday’s race.
- Plus, New England native Parker Kligerman jumps in the NBC Sports iRacing simulator to show us the challenges of racing the Magic Mile.
- Nate Ryan of NBCSports.com examines the dominance of NASCAR’s Big 3 of Martin Truex Jr., Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch.
If you can’t catch today’s show on TV, watch it online at http:/nascarstream.nbcsports.com. If you plan to stream the show on your laptop or portable device, be sure to have your username and password from your cable/satellite/telco provider handy so your subscription can be verified.
Once you enter that information, you’ll have access to the stream.
Click here at 6 p.m. ET to watch live via the stream.