Tuesday May 24th, 2016 1:55PM

Gilliland lands pole for Coke Zero 400 at Daytona

By Mark Long, AP Sports Writer
Related Articles
  Contact Editor
DAYTONA BEACH, FL - David Gilliland might have summed up Daytona qualifying best.<br /> <br /> "It's uncontrolled chaos out there," Gilliland said Friday after landing the pole in a rain-shortened and somewhat hairy session that set the field for the Coke Zero 400 on Saturday night at Daytona International Speedway.<br /> <br /> Gilliland's top speed during a hectic, cat-and-mouse qualifying session was 199.322 mph, earning him his third Sprint Cup pole and first since landing the top spot for the 2007 Daytona 500. All three of his poles have been at restrictor-plate races, with the first one coming at Talladega in 2006.<br /> <br /> "Front Row Motorsports, our strong point is definitely speedway racing," said Gilliland, who finished third in the 2011 Daytona 500. "It is something that's circled on our calendar from the start of the year. We put a lot of emphasis on it. The restrictor plate tracks are good equalizers. David Ragan and I both have good enough cars to win, and that is an exciting feeling. It's something we don't have every week."<br /> <br /> The top 24 drivers Friday in the first knockout stage were supposed to advance to the next round, but rain prompted NASCAR to cancel the final two sessions.<br /> <br /> Reed Sorenson qualified second, followed by Landon Cassill, Bobby Labonte and Jimmie Johnson. Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr., who will attempt to become the sixth drive to sweep both annual races at NASCAR's most famous track Saturday, was seventh.<br /> <br /> All the talk during and after was about how the qualifying session shook out. It was the first time NASCAR's new qualifying rules were used at Daytona, and it produced some hairy moments as groups of cars slowed to a crawl around the 2 1/2-mile superspeedway. The small packs - most of them formed by teammates - were hoping to pull behind bigger groups to produce fast laps. But no one was eager to lead the way.<br /> <br /> "It's a mess," Earnhardt said. "You have to be in the very back and try to get a big tow. I ain't ever seen anything like it. It's the funniest thing I've ever seen."<br /> <br /> Risky, too. Several cars turned down pit road to get away from the disorder. But the most common concern was the speed differences, with some packs creeping along while others ran full speed.<br /> <br /> "It was really wild and it was pretty dangerous," Matt Kenseth said. "There's cars doing 80 and there were cars doing 200 and nobody wanted to go. Everybody wanted to be in the back of the pack and try to catch the front to get a (fast) lap, so it was pretty chaotic."<br /> <br /> Similar qualifying took place at Talladega in May, when teammates stuck together in hopes of besting the field. But drivers clearly tweaked some things from those sessions.<br /> <br /> "There was just so much going on out there and it's a wonder we haven't wadded a bunch of cars up," Brian Vickers said. "A lot of guys running even slower than at Talladega and then some guys even taking chances on blocking the field, which was what really almost caused a few wrecks."<br /> <br /> Penske Racing teammates Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano were among those who did not advance past the first stage. Danica Patrick, Clint Bowyer, Kyle Larson, Jamie McMurray, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch also did not get to the second knockout round.<br /> <br /> Joe Nemechek was the only driver who did not qualify for Saturday's 400-mile race.<br /> <br /> "It's just about being lucky as to who can make it through and who gets the right run," McMurray said. "It's just so crazy that everyone pulls out and doesn't go and then stops. It is what it is. Everyone has the same conditions. It just doesn't feel like racing ... because half the time people are running 40 mph. I don't even really know what to say because it's so messed up that I can't explain it."<br /> <br /> <i>WDUN will have live MRN Radio coverage of Saturday night's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 from Daytona International Speedway beginning at 6:30 pm on 102.9 FM and 550 AM.</i><br /> <br /> <b>NASCAR Sprint Cup Series<br /> Daytona International Speedway - Daytona Beach, FL<br /> Coke Zero 400 Qualifying - July 4, 2014</b><br /> <br /> (Car number in parentheses)<br /> <br /> 1. (38) David Gilliland, Ford, 199.322 mph.<br /> 2. (36) Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, 199.221.<br /> 3. (40) Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, 199.194.<br /> 4. (33) Bobby Labonte, Chevrolet, 198.97.<br /> 5. (48) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 198.79.<br /> 6. (20) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 198.776.<br /> 7. (88) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 198.697.<br /> 8. (34) David Ragan, Ford, 198.684.<br /> 9. (24) Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 198.662.<br /> 10. (16) Greg Biffle, Ford, 198.575.<br /> 11. (99) Carl Edwards, Ford, 198.531.<br /> 12. (14) Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 198.474.<br /> 13. (4) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 198.47.<br /> 14. (5) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 198.373.<br /> 15. (43) Aric Almirola, Ford, 198.234.<br /> 16. (17) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 198.229.<br /> 17. (26) Cole Whitt, Toyota, 198.116.<br /> 18. (9) Marcos Ambrose, Ford, 198.103.<br /> 19. (78) Martin Truex Jr., Chevrolet, 198.068.<br /> 20. (31) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 198.059.<br /> 21. (27) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 198.055.<br /> 22. (13) Casey Mears, Chevrolet, 198.042.<br /> 23. (3) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 198.033.<br /> 24. (47) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 198.015.<br /> 25. (21) Trevor Bayne, Ford, 197.994.<br /> 26. (2) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 197.85.<br /> 27. (95) Michael McDowell, Ford, 197.82.<br /> 28. (22) Joey Logano, Ford, 197.741.<br /> 29. (10) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, 197.724.<br /> 30. (55) Brian Vickers, Toyota, 197.364.<br /> 31. (51) Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, 197.273.<br /> 32. (7) Michael Annett, Chevrolet, 197.217.<br /> 33. (98) Josh Wise, Ford, 197.152.<br /> 34. (15) Clint Bowyer, Toyota, 196.975.<br /> 35. (42) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 196.691.<br /> 36. (1) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 196.661.<br /> 37. (11) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, Owner Points.<br /> 38. (32) Terry Labonte, Ford, Owner Points.<br /> 39. (18) Kyle Busch, Toyota, Owner Points.<br /> 40. (41) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, Owner Points.<br /> 41. (66) Michael Waltrip, Toyota, Owner Points.<br /> 42. (83) Ryan Truex, Toyota, Owner Points.<br /> 43. (23) Alex Bowman, Toyota, Owner Points.<br /> <br /> <i>Failed to Qualify</i><br /> 44. (29) Joe Nemechek, Toyota, 195.763.
© Copyright 2016
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
2014 Top 10: Looking back at the top sports stories of the year
It was another year for the record books in 2014, mostly for the right reasons -- state championships, new challenges and new stars taking their turn to shine. But there were also plenty of big stories that reminded us that sports -- like life -- isn
11:55PM ( 1 year ago )
NASCAR K&N Pro Series schedules set for 2015
DAYTONA BEACH, FL - NASCAR announced recently the 2015 schedules for its top developmental regional touring series, the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and NASCAR K&N Pro Series West.
2:00PM ( 1 year ago )
Lanierland boys final: Johnson makes history with win over Red Elephants <b> (VIDEO) </b>
Ever the aggressor on the court, Johnson
8:55AM ( 1 year ago )
Pits will be tight as Chili Bowl entry count hits 316
TULSA, OK - The 29th annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Midget Nationals presented by General Tire is on track to be a record smashing event, with the entry count climbing over the 300 mark for the first time to 316 entries confirming 303 drivers for the indoor spectacular happening Tuesday, January 13 through Saturday, January 17 at the Tulsa Expo Center in Tulsa, OK.
9:59AM ( 1 year ago )
Falcons fire Mike Smith after 2nd straight losing season
Mike Smith's status as the winningest coach in Falcons history wasn't enough to save his job. Owner Arthur Blank said he fired Smith on Monday because in his "heart of hearts" he didn't believe Smith could take the Falcons to the Super Bowl.
7:58PM ( 1 year ago )
New promoters in place for 2015 at Senoia Raceway
SENOIA, GA - Lease papers have been signed and a team of new promoters is in place for the upcoming stock car racing season at Senoia Raceway in Senoia, GA.
6:00AM ( 1 year ago )
Professional Sports
Garbo, Jr. to compete in NASCAR K&N East with Whelen sponsorship
CHARLOTTE, NC--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- When Marsh Racing and longtime team sponsor Whelen Engineering Company, Inc. got the opportunity to put together a race team for 2015, they looked closely at the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East.
12:00PM ( 1 year ago )
Former NASCAR racer pleads guilty in high-speed chase
12:51PM ( 1 year ago )
Chili Bowl entry list again nearing record 300 mark
TULSA, OK - For the past couple years, the entry list for the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals has flirted with the 300 mark. Once again, the number of teams registering for the indoor Midget event is nearing the three century mark with 285 entries received for the 29th annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals.
11:59AM ( 1 year ago )
Kurt Buschs ex seeks no-contact order at hearing
12:27PM ( 1 year ago )
Sprint to end NASCAR sponsorship after 2016 season
2:54PM ( 1 year ago )
Sprint Unlimited field features Chase drivers for 2015
DAYTONA BEACH, FL - Coming off an exciting 2014 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup finale, NASCAR announced Monday all 16 Chase drivers will be eligible to compete in the 2015 Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway.
12:00PM ( 1 year ago )
Sprint Cup
(VIDEO) AAAA championship series: Buford's title defense falls short
Locust Grove baseball coach Stephen Phillips said he had been inundated all week with people wanting to know just where in the age of GPS were they located...
11:30AM ( 2 hours ago )
Falcons' Vic Beasley Jr. samples new dual role as OLB and DE
Vic Beasley Jr. is learning a new position for his second season with the Atlanta Falcons.
By The Associated Press
8:14AM ( 5 hours ago )
Georgia's Juwan Parker granted medical redshirt
Georgia guard Juwan Parker has been awarded a medical redshirt, leaving him with two years of eligibility, after missing the 2015-16 season with a partially torn Achilles tendon.
By The Associated Press
10:50PM ( 15 hours ago )
Braves get draft pick, Matusz from Orioles for 2 prospects
The Atlanta Braves have invested deeper into their already important June draft by acquiring left-hander Brian Matusz and the 76th pick in the draft from the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for minor league pitchers Brandon Barker and Trevor Belicek.
By The Associated Press
10:41PM ( 15 hours ago )
Newgarden leads busiest Indy 500 practice this month
The drivers qualified for this year’s 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 got a taste for the upcoming race in practice today at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
By IndyCar Media
7:45PM ( 18 hours ago )