Daytona’s qualifying is like no other race throughout the season. Why? Every driver must run in qualifying but doesn’t get to keep their respected qualifying spot. Only two drivers will know where they will start for the 54thannual Daytona 500 next Sunday and those two drivers are teammates. Roush-Fenway drivers, Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle will start from the front row when the green flag waves over NASCAR’s most famous race, the Daytona 500, next Sunday.
All the other positions for the 500 will be decided on Thursday, when the field takes a part in the Gatorade Dual 150 races. Edwards and Biffle will start on the pole for each of those races. Edward’s pole lap was 194.738 mph, 46.216 seconds. This is the fastest Daytona 500 pole since the 1999 season. In addition to the Roush-Fenway drivers, 37 other drivers know that they will at least start the Daytona 500.
The top-35 in owners points from last year all have a guaranteed start in the season opening race. Based off their qualifying speeds, Trevor Bayne, defending Daytona 500 champion, Tony Raines, David Stremme and Terry Labonte will all know that they will have a starting position next Sunday.
For Edwards, this is his very first Daytona 500 pole, it is also the very first all Roush-Fenway front row for the Daytona 500. This will be Biffle’s second Daytona 500 front row start; he won the pole for the 2004 event. Not since 2007 has a Ford sat on the pole position for the Great American Race, when David Gilliland won the pole for that year’s race. Gilliland would go on to finish eighth.
A pole winner for the Daytona 500 hasn’t won the race in over a decade, the last pole winner to win the 500 was back in 2000 when Dale Jarrett won both the pole and the race. Only eight Daytona 500’s have been won from the pole. Roush-Fenway Racing has just one Daytona 500 win, back in 2009 when Matt Kenseth took home the victory in the rain-shortened event. This is RFR’s second Daytona 500 pole.
During post-qualifying inspection, Clint Bowyer’s No. 15 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota, was found to be too low in the left-front. Because of that, Bowyer’s qualifying time won’t count and he’ll have to start from the back of the pack in his Dual race on Thursday. He still has a guaranteed spot in the Daytona 500.
The Gatorade Duals will take place on Thursday with coverage on Speed starting at 2 p.m. Eastern standard time.