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Bowman put #88 Dale Jr. car on pole for Daytona 500

Denny Hamlin to start 2nd
Sunday, February 11, 2018

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Polesitter Alex Bowman
Polesitter Alex Bowman
Getty Images for NASCAR

For the second straight season, the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet will sit on the front row for the season-opening Daytona 500.

But this time, young driver Alex Bowman is piloting the car.

Circling 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway at a speed of 195.644 mph, Bowman notched his second career pole -- first at Daytona -- in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series during Sunday’s qualifying session. This marks his first season driving the No. 88 full time in the Monster Energy Series, following Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s retirement last season.

“I think it’s still a little surreal,” Bowman said. “It’s a dream come true to get to drive for Hendrick Motorsports. 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.”

Denny Hamlin will line up alongside Bowman after notching a speed of 195.092 mph in his No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota to nab the second starting spot for the “Great American Race.” Hamlin is the 2016 Daytona 500 winner, but has never started on the front row for the sport’s biggest race.

Bowman and Hamlin also were fastest in the opening round of qualifying.

William Byron (fifth) was the fastest qualifying rookie. Rick Hendrick (2015-2018) now ties Harry Ranier (1979-1982) for the record of most consecutive DAYTONA 500 poles with four each. 

Sunday’s two-round, single-car qualifying session only produced the front row for the season-opening Daytona 500 on Feb. 18 (2:30 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). The rest of the field will be determined by Thursday’s Can-Am Duels (7 p.m., FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). The lineup for the Duels will be set based on Sunday’s qualifying speeds.

Qualifying Speeds

PosNo.DriverSponsor/MakeTimeSpeedBehindGap
188Alex BowmanNationwide Chevrolet46.002195.6440.0000.000
211Denny HamlinFedEx Express Toyota46.132195.0920.1300.130
348Jimmie JohnsonLowe's for Pros Chevrolet46.217194.7340.2150.085
418Kyle BuschM&M's Toyota46.224194.7040.2220.007
524William Byron #AXALTA Chevrolet46.261194.5480.2590.037
620Erik JonesDEWALT Toyota46.279194.4730.2770.018
719Daniel SuarezARRIS Toyota46.280194.4680.2780.001
84Kevin HarvickJimmy John's Ford46.281194.4640.2790.001
917Ricky Stenhouse Jr.Fastenal Ford46.381194.0450.3790.100
109Chase ElliottNAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet46.413193.9110.4110.032
1122Joey LoganoShell Pennzoil Ford46.437193.8110.4350.024
1221Paul MenardOmnicraftAutoParts/QuickLaneTire&Auto Ford46.584193.1990.5820.147
1310Aric AlmirolaSmithfield Ford46.539193.3860.3580.005
143Austin DillonDOW Chevrolet46.546193.3570.3650.007
1512Ryan BlaneyMenards/Peak Ford46.577193.2280.3960.031
1614Clint BowyerRush Truck Centers Ford46.658192.8930.4770.081
1741Kurt BuschHaas Automation/Monster Energy Ford46.678192.8100.4970.020
1895Kasey KahneProcore Chevrolet46.694192.7440.5130.016
192Brad KeselowskiDiscount Tire Ford46.698192.7280.5170.004
206Trevor BayneAdvoCare Ford46.781192.3860.6000.083
2131Ryan NewmanBass Pro Shops/Cabela's Chevrolet46.816192.2420.6350.035
2242Kyle LarsonCredit One Bank Chevrolet46.817192.2380.6360.001
231Jamie McMurrayMcDonald's/Cessna Chevrolet46.836192.1600.6550.019
2434Michael McDowellLove's Travel Stops Ford46.899191.9020.7180.063
2543Darrell Wallace Jr. #Click n' Close Chevrolet46.938191.7420.7570.039
2678Martin Truex Jr.Bass Pro Shops/5-hour Energy Toyota47.002191.4810.8210.064
2713Ty DillonGEICO Chevrolet47.074191.1880.8930.072
287Danica PatrickGoDaddy Chevrolet47.081191.1600.9000.007
2937Chris BuescherKleenex Chevrolet47.095191.1030.9140.014
3047AJ AllmendingerKroger ClickList Chevrolet47.144190.9040.9630.049
3162Brendan GaughanBeardOilDistributing/SouthPointHotel Chevrolet47.398189.8811.2170.254
3251Justin Marks(i)HARRY'S Chevrolet47.464189.6171.2830.066
3332Matt DiBenedettoThe Hurricane Heist Ford47.675188.7781.4940.211
3496DJ KenningtonLORDCO/Castrol Toyota47.848188.0961.6670.173
3500Jeffrey EarnhardtVRX Simulators Chevrolet47.866188.0251.6850.018
3692David Gilliland(i)Black's Tire Service/Carquest Auto Parts Ford47.884187.9541.7030.018
3766Mark ThompsonPhoenix Air Racing Ford48.267186.4632.0860.383
3872Corey LaJoieSchluter Systems Chevrolet48.372186.0582.1910.105
3923Gray GauldingToyota0.0000.000----------
4038David RaganSpeedco Ford0.0000.000----------

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