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Daytona 500 qualifying results 2018: Alex Bowman wins pole position

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Alex Bowman, who replaced the retired Dale Earnhardt Jr. this offseason, captured the pole in Daytona 500 qualifying Sunday.

NASCAR: Daytona 500-Qualifying Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Alex Bowman may not have an affinity for restrictor-plate racing like his predecessor, but the 24 year old, who succeeded Dale Earnhardt Jr. as driver of the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, still knows the fast way around Daytona International Speedway and showed it by winning the pole in Daytona 500 qualifying Sunday.

Bowman provisionally set the fastest time Round 1, then posted a 195.644 mph lap that bumped Denny Hamlin off the top spot in the second session to earn the pole. It is Bowman’s second career pole and comes in his first start as the full-time driver of the No. 88, taking over for Earnhardt, who retired following the 2017 season.

“I think it’s still a little surreal. It’s a dream come true to get to drive for Hendrick Motorsports,” Bowman said. “I never thought it would have happened after the path my career took. I’m so thankful to be able to do this. I’m very blessed to be able to call driving a race car my job, and now to get to drive what I think is the best race car in the business, it’s a dream come true.”

Bowman’s pole is the fourth consecutive for Hendrick, tying a NASCAR record, and its sixth in the past nine years. And at 24 years, nine months and 17 days old, Bowman is third youngest driver to win the pole in NASCAR’s most prestigious race.

The second-place qualifying effort was a Daytona 500-best for Hamlin, the 2016 race winner making his 13th start. He started 11th when he won two years ago.

“I literally am so ecstatic,” Hamlin said. “It’s just so out of the blue because obviously I thought that today was going to be a tough day qualifying. We focused so much on race-trim yesterday.”

Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, and rookie William Byron completed the top-five qualifiers. Erik Jones, Daniel Suarez, Kevin Harvick, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and Chase Elliott rounded out the top 10.

Defending race winner Kurt Busch qualified 17th. He is seeking to become the first driver to win consecutive Daytona 500s since Sterling Marlin (1994-95) and the fourth overall (Marlin, Richard Petty, and Cale Yarborough).

Danica Patrick qualified 28th in what is her final scheduled NASCAR start. The only woman to win a Daytona 500 pole (2013) and the highest-finishing woman in the Daytona 500 (eighth) announced in November that the 2017 season would be her last as a full-time driver and would retire completely after competing in the Daytona 500 and Indianapolis 500 this year.

The remainder of the Daytona 500 starting order will be determined by a pair of 150-mile qualifying races on Thursday night.

The ongoing saga regarding whether BK Racing will make it to the Daytona 500 added another chapter with the team unable to post a qualifying lap after failing to pass technical inspection.

The team, owned by Ron Devine, is facing financial difficulties and is being sued by Union Bank & Trust, which alleges that the team defaulted on a loan. A hearing is scheduled for Thursday -- the same day as the Duels -- on whether Devine should maintain controlling interest in BKR or the team should go into receivership.

On the initial entry list, BKR did not list a driver. On Saturday, Gray Gaulding was named to drive the No. 23 Toyota.

David Ragan also did not turn a lap after mechanical gremlins sidelined the Front Row Motorsports No. 38 Ford.

Both Gaulding and Ragan will start last in the Duels qualifying race Thursday night. Regardless of where Ragan finishes in his Duel, he is assured a spot in the Daytona 500 starting lineup. Gaulding’s status is less certain to the ongoing legal issues.

Daytona 500 qualifying results

Position Driver Make Speed (mph)
Position Driver Make Speed (mph)
1 Alex Bowman Chevrolet 195.644
2 Denny Hamlin Toyota 195.092
3 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 194.734
4 Kyle Busch Toyota 194.704
5 William Byron Chevrolet 194.548
6 Erik Jones Toyota 194.473
7 Daniel Suarez Toyota 194.468
8 Kevin Harvick Ford 194.464
9 Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. Ford 194.045
10 Chase Elliott Chevrolet 193.911
11 Joey Logano Ford 193.811
12 Paul Menard Ford 193.199
13 Aric Almirola Ford 193.386
14 Austin Dillon Chevrolet 193.357
15 Ryan Blaney Ford 193.228
16 Clint Bowyer Ford 192.893
17 Kurt Busch Ford 192.81
18 Kasey Kahne Chevrolet 192.744
19 Brad Keselowski Ford 192.728
20 Trevor Bayne Ford 192.386
21 Ryan Newman Chevrolet 192.242
22 Kyle Larson Chevrolet 192.238
23 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet 192.16
24 Michael McDowell Ford 191.902
25 Darrell Wallace, Jr. Chevrolet 191.742
26 Martin Truex, Jr. Toyota 191.481
27 Ty Dillon Chevrolet 191.188
28 Danica Patrick Chevrolet 191.16
29 Chris Buescher Chevrolet 191.103
30 A.J. Allmendinger Chevrolet 190.904
31 Brendan Gaughan Chevrolet 189.881
32 Justin Marks Chevrolet 189.617
33 Matt DiBenedetto Ford 188.778
34 D.J. Kennington Toyota 188.096
35 Jeffrey Earnhardt Chevrolet 188.025
36 David Gilliland Ford 187.954
37 Mark Thompson Ford 186.463
38 Corey LaJoie Chevrolet 186.058
39 Gray Gaulding Toyota No speed
40 David Ragan Ford No speed