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Dale Jr. on pole for his final race at Daytona

Everything happens in NASCAR for a reason
Friday, June 30, 2017

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If he doesn't wreck NASCAR will make headlines on Saturday night when Dale Jr. wins his final race at Daytona.  It will be a tearjerker for his fans
If he doesn't wreck NASCAR will make headlines on Saturday night when Dale Jr. wins his final race at Daytona. It will be a tearjerker for his fans
Dale Earnhardt Jr. sped to the Coors Light Pole Award in Friday's qualifying for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at Daytona International Speedway.

Earnhardt guided the Hendrick Motorsports No. 88 Chevrolet to a best lap of 190.973 mph, securing the top starting spot for Saturday's Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola (7:30 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN, SiriusXM). His first pole of the season was his second at the 2.5-mile track and the 14th of his Monster Energy Series career.

Earnhardt, preparing for the last Daytona start in his final full-time season, backed up his speed from preliminary practice sessions. The four-time Daytona winner was fastest in Thursday's lightly participated final practice and also topped the first round of single-car qualifying runs Friday.

"I don't do anything in qualifying but just hold the wheel and just make sure I don't hit the apron," Earnhardt told NBCSN after his lap. "Otherwise, the car does everything. A lot of credit to the power, the body man back at the shop. All that stuff's so critical and they did a good job today."

Chase Elliott, Earnhardt's Hendrick Motorsports teammate, will start alongside on the front row after pushing the No. 24 Chevrolet to a second-fastest lap of 190.795 mph. Both cars also started on the front row in the season-opening Daytona 500, but in the reverse order.

"I'm happy for those guys obviously, but we'd love to outrun 'em there," Elliott said of his teammate. "It's so hard to tell when you're out there making your lap how it's going to be or if you did anything any better."

Added Earnhardt: "I have to give Hendrick Motorsports a lot of credit, particularly for me personally it has been the No. 24 (Chase Elliott) bunch. We've been kind of pushing each other over the last several years in qualifying at Talladega and Daytona. It's been a healthy competition."

Defending race winner Brad Keselowski (190.287 mph), Kasey Kahne (190.050) and last week's winner Kevin Harvick (190.046) completed the top five.

Jimmie Johnson was the final entrant to make the 12-driver cut at the end of the first round of qualifying. His speed of 189.322 mph kept Matt Kenseth out of the final round by just a .005-second margin. Johnson will start 12th with Kenseth 13th.

Darrell Wallace Jr., interim replacement for the injured Aric Almirola, was 31st-fastest in the Richard Petty Motorsports No. 43 Ford.

Lineup

Pos Car Driver Team Time Speed
1 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Nationwide Chevrolet 47.127 190.973
2 24 Chase Elliott NAPA Patriotic Chevrolet 47.171 190.795
3 2 Brad Keselowski Detroit Genuine Parts Ford 47.297 190.287
4 5 Kasey Kahne UniFirst Chevrolet 47.356 190.050
5 4 Kevin Harvick Jimmy John's Ford 47.357 190.046
6 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Fifth Third Bank Ford 47.367 190.006
7 22 Joey Logano Shell Pennzoil Ford 47.388 189.921
8 1 Jamie McMurray McDonald's $1 Any Size Soft Drink Chevrolet 47.406 189.849
9 21 Ryan Blaney Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford 47.422 189.785
10 10 Danica Patrick Aspen Dental Ford 47.460 189.633
11 14 Clint Bowyer Mobil 1 Ford 47.486 189.530
12 48 Jimmie Johnson Lowe's Chevrolet 47.506 189.450
13 20 Matt Kenseth DEWALT Flexvolt Toyota 47.543 189.302
14 6 Trevor Bayne Liberty National Life Insurance Company Ford 47.563 189.223
15 41 Kurt Busch Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford 47.569 189.199
16 18 Kyle Busch Interstate Batteries Toyota 47.604 189.060
17 77 Erik Jones # Sport Clips Toyota 47.624 188.980
18 11 Denny Hamlin FedEx Express Toyota 47.648 188.885
19 3 Austin Dillon American Ethanol Chevrolet 47.659 188.842
20 19 Daniel Suarez # Subway Toyota 47.730 188.561
21 42 Kyle Larson Credit One Bank Chevrolet 47.742 188.513
22 31 Ryan Newman Velveeta Shells & Cheese Chevrolet 47.756 188.458
23 95 Michael McDowell WRL General Contractors Chevrolet 47.766 188.419
24 27 Paul Menard Moen/Menards Chevrolet 47.803 188.273
25 78 Martin Truex Jr. Bass Pros Shops/TRACKER BOATS Toyota 47.815 188.225
26 34 Landon Cassill Love's Travel Stops Hnrng the Qt Prfssnl Ford 47.817 188.218
27 47 AJ Allmendinger Kroger ClickList Chevrolet 47.934 187.758
28 32 Matt DiBenedetto Incredible Bank Ford 47.957 187.668
29 37 Chris Buescher Coffee Mate Chevrolet 47.969 187.621
30 38 David Ragan Shrnrs Hsptl for Chldrn 95th Annvrsry Ford 48.041 187.340
31 43 Darrell Wallace Jr.(i) Smithfield Ford 48.145 186.935
32 75 Brendan Gaughan(i) Beard Oil Distributing Chevrolet 48.199 186.726
33 7 Elliott Sadler(i) Golden Corral Chevrolet 48.201 186.718
34 13 Ty Dillon # GEICO Military Chevrolet 48.346 186.158
35 72 Cole Whitt RTIC Coolers Chevrolet 48.484 185.628
36 23 Corey LaJoie # Dr Pepper Toyota 48.529 185.456
37 55 Reed Sorenson RoyalTeakCollection.com Toyota 48.747 184.627
38 83 Ryan Sieg(i) Dustless Blasting Toyota 49.063 183.438
39 33 Jeffrey Earnhardt hulu Chevrolet 49.588 181.496
40 15 DJ Kennington Xchange of America/LordCo Toyota 0.000 0.000

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