Reigning NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) Champion Kyle Larson picked up where he left off: at the top of the leaderboard. The Team Chevy driver laid down a lap of 49.68 seconds, at a speed of 181.859 mph, in his No. 5 HendrickCars.com Camaro ZL1 to mark Larson’s first-career Daytona 500 pole. In the Next Gen Camaro ZL1’s points-paying debut in the NCS competition, Chevrolet has topped the qualifying leaderboard for the tenth-consecutive year to secure the pole position and lead the field to the green in the 64th running of the Daytona 500.
“Anytime you are really proud of your team to get a pole here because this is the littlest it has to do with us drivers; qualifying at superspeedways,” said Larson. “Just a huge thank you to the engine shop at Hendrick Motorsports. Everybody who’s had a part in touching these vehicles; whether it be on the computer, engineering, or just hands on. It’s really neat; just awesome the speed in our HendrickCars.com Chevy. Hopefully this is the beginning of a really good weekend.”
Joining his Hendrick Motorsports teammate on the front row of the Daytona 500 will be Alex Bowman, who was second quick in his No. 48 Ally Camaro ZL1. The front row feat puts Bowman’s name in the NASCAR history books as the only driver in the series’ history to sit on the Daytona 500 front row for five consecutive seasons (2018-2022). The Bowtie Brand has now swept the Daytona 500 front row 20 times in the event’s history, including 10 of the past 12 years.
“It just says so much about Hendrick Motorsports and all these guys,” said Bowman. “Congrats to the 5 on getting the pole. It’s cool to have the record, but I feel like Greg Ives (Crew Chief) and my race team should be the ones that get the credit for that record. The driver doesn’t really have much to do with it, but glad I didn’t mess it up for them and really happy for Ally and Chevrolet. Cool to be a part of it.”
Larson’s pole win gives Chevrolet its 30th pole award for “The Great American Race”; its 52nd pole win at Daytona International Speedway; and the manufacturer’s 724th pole in NASCAR’s premier series. The ten-year pole-winning streak extends Chevrolet’s record of the most of any manufacturer at Daytona. The 29-year-old California native’s pole win gives Hendrick Motorsports its 15th Daytona 500 pole, the most of all teams in the NASCAR Cup Series.
The top-10 in the first round of qualifying moved onto the second and final round in the race for the front row starting spots, with six of those top-10 being Camaro ZL1’s. William Byron, No. 24 Axalta Camaro ZL1, was third fastest; and Chase Elliott, No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Camaro ZL1 was fifth, to give Hendrick Motorsports four of the top-five in the qualifying results. Trackhouse Racing’s Ross Chastain, No. 1 Advent Health Camaro ZL1, was seventh; and Daniel Suarez, No. 99 Tootsies Orchid Lounge Camaro ZL1 was ninth to round out the Team Chevy top-10 on the qualifying speed chart.
Noah Gragson will make his NASCAR Cup Series points-paying debut after locking his No. 62 Beard Oil/South Point Camaro ZL1 into Sunday’s 40-car field by speed. The 23-year-old Team Chevy driver’s impressive lap gives Beard Motorsports its fifth start in the Daytona 500 and the team’s 18th-career NCS start.
With the front row set, all eyes turn to tomorrow’s two 60-lap, 150-mile Bluegreen Vacation Duels at Daytona to determine the remaining starting lineup of the Daytona 500. FS1 will telecast the Duels on Thursday, February 17, kicking off under the lights at 7 p.m. ET. Live coverage can also be found on MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.