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Chase Elliott Takes Daytona Cup Series Pole

Scores First Busch Pole Award of the Season
Friday, July 6, 2018

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Chase Elliott
Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

A sprained ankle didn't prevent Chase Elliott from putting his foot to the floorboard on Friday at Daytona International Speedway.

Elliott powered around the 2.5-mile track in 46.381 seconds (194.045 mph) to win the pole position for Sunday's Coke Zero Sugar 400 (7 p.m. on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) by a whopping .24 seconds over Hendrick Motorsports teammate Alex Bowman (193.046 mph).

The Busch Pole Award was Elliott's first of the season and the fourth of his career, all of which have come at restrictor-plate superspeedways - three of them at Daytona.

With Jimmie Johnson qualifying fourth at 192.361 mph, Hendrick Chevrolets took three of the top four starting positions for the 18th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race of the season. Third-place qualifier Brad Keselowski broke up the monopoly with a lap at 192.802 mph in the No. 2 Team Penske Ford.

Earlier in the week, Elliott sprained his right ankle - the one that mashes the accelerator - while "horsing around at the pool." He had the ankle X-rayed at the infield care center at the track.

"I didn't really want to do that, so I've been trying to draw as least amount of attention as possible to that," Elliott said. "But it's all good. Yeah, had a little ankle sprain, but we are good and ready to go."

Saturday's race will mark Elliott's 95th start in NASCAR's top series. Those 94 events have produced 26 top five's - including eight runner-up results - but no wins.

"I think it gives everybody confidence," Elliott said of the pole-winning effort. "Having a good pit stall is certainly nice. That can matter at the end of these races. Sharing the front row with your teammate is also nice, too. 

"So we'll just have to see. The race is a whole different ballgame, but to have speed in our Chevrolet is nice, and to have (sponsor) Hooters for their first race of the season on the pole is cool, too. Looking forward to tomorrow night."

Kevin Harvick qualified fifth, followed by Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ryan Newman, Michael McDowell and Daytona 500 winner Austin Dillon. Seven Fords and five Chevrolets made the final round. Reigning series champion Martin Truex Jr. will start 13th in the top-qualifying Toyota.

With rain wiping out Thursday's second Cup practice, Friday's time trials were more of a question mark than they otherwise would have been.

"It was OK, I think - you never know what you're going to get here," Truex said of his starting position. "Not much practice yesterday, and we didn't do any qualifying runs, so we just kind of winged it. I think 13th will be an OK starting spot."

Series leader Kyle Busch earned the 15th spot on the grid.

RACE LINEUP

Pos # Driver Sponsor/Make Lap Speed
1 9 Chase Elliott Hooters Chevrolet 46.381 194.045
2 88 Alex Bowman Axalta Chevrolet 46.621 193.046
3 2 Brad Keselowski Stars Stripes and Lites Ford 46.68 192.802
4 48 Jimmie Johnson Lowe's for Pros Chevrolet 46.787 192.361
5 4 Kevin Harvick Jimmy John's Kickin' Ranch Ford 46.791 192.345
6 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Fifth Third Bank Ford 46.835 192.164
7 31 Ryan Newman Bass Pro Shops/Cabela's Chevrolet 46.921 191.812
8 34 Michael McDowell K-LOVE Radio Ford 46.956 191.669
9 14 Clint Bowyer Rush Truck Centers Ford 47.011 191.445
10 3 Austin Dillon American Ethanol e15 Chevrolet 47.047 191.298
11 22 Joey Logano Shell Pennzoil Ford 47.083 191.152
12 12 Ryan Blaney BodyArmor Ford 47.125 190.981
13 78 Martin Truex Jr. Bass Pro Shops/5-hour ENERGY Toyota 47.069 191.209
14 42 Kyle Larson Credit One Bank Chevrolet 47.086 191.14
15 18 Kyle Busch Interstate Batteries Toyota 47.142 190.913
16 62 Brendan Gaughan Beard Oil Distributing/South Point Hotel & 47.145 190.9
17 11 Denny Hamlin FexEx Cares Toyota 47.151 190.876
18 24 William Byron
Liberty University Chevrolet 47.153 190.868
19 13 Ty Dillon GEICO Military Chevrolet 47.162 190.832
20 6 Trevor Bayne Performance Plus Ford 47.165 190.819
21 38 David Ragan Shriners Hospital For Children Ford 47.211 190.634
22 43 Bubba Wallace
U.S. Air Force Chevrolet 47.228 190.565
23 41 Kurt Busch Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford 47.27 190.396
24 47 AJ Allmendinger Kroger ClickList Chevrolet 47.284 190.339
25 37 Chris Buescher Kleenex Wet Wipes Chevrolet 47.358 190.042
26 10 Aric Almirola Smithfield Ford 47.36 190.034
27 1 Jamie McMurray DC Solar Chevrolet 47.424 189.777
28 95 Kasey Kahne Thorne Wellness Chevrolet 47.456 189.649
29 20 Erik Jones buyatoyota.com Toyota 47.51 189.434
30 21 Paul Menard Menards/Moen Ford 47.568 189.203
31 32 Matt DiBenedetto Zynga Poker Ford 47.787 188.336
32 19 Daniel Suarez ARRIS Toyota 47.872 188.001
33 15 Ross Chastain Caddy's Beach Bar Restaurants Chevrolet 48.033 187.371
34 7 Jeffrey Earnhardt Nine Line Foundation Chevrolet 48.045 187.324
35 96 DJ Kennington Lordco/Castrol/Spectra Premium Toyota 48.306 186.312
36 0 Joey Gase Sparks Inc. Chevrolet 48.554 185.361
37 99 Landon Cassill Star Com Fiber Chevrolet 48.64 185.033
38 72 Corey LaJoie Dragonchain Chevrolet 48.655 184.976
39 51 Ray Black II Prefund Capital/Jacob Companies Chevrolet 49.141 183.146
40 23 JJ Yeley Steakhouse Elite Toyota 49.253 182.73



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