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Saturday October 31st, 2020 2:39PM

Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. streaks to Daytona 500 pole

By Brandon Reed Reporter
  Contact Editor

For the last five years, the story of Daytona 500 pole day has been Hendrick Motorsports.

That changed on Sunday – sort of – as Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., in his first outing for JTG Daugherty Racing, put the No. 47 Chevrolet on the pole for next weekend’s running of the “Great American Race” at Daytona International Speedway.

The pole came in a car powered by a Hendrick Motorsports engine.

Stenhouse, Jr. turned a lap 194.582 mph (46.253 seconds) to claim his first career pole in the 500. His move to the No. 47 came after an ouster from Roush-Fenway Racing, who chose to exercise a contract extension with Chris Buescher for 2020.

Buescher, ironically, was pulled from the No. 47, opening the door for Stenhouse, Jr.

“Yeah, it’s huge,” said Stenhouse, Jr. “Any time you can start the season off, your first race with an organization, and to see all the work that they’ve put in; guys at the shop that I didn’t even know were working Saturdays and late nights all for the benefit of me to come down here and jump in this car and run fast.”

And while the pole snaps the five year streak for Hendrick Motorsports drivers, it wasn’t a total loss, as they provide engines for the JTG Daugherty team.

“Touring the Hendrick engine shop, they were pumped-up for me to switch over into their horsepower,” Stenhouse, Jr. said. “So this goes to a lot of people that work hard behind the scenes for me to come out here and drive. It’s a cool way to start Speedweeks.”

Add to that Hendrick Motorsports driver Alex Bowman was second quick at 194.363 mph, locking himself into the outside of the front row for the Daytona 500.

“We have a great Valvoline Camaro. I’m really happy with how the new Camaro has been so far,” said Bowman. “The front row is still really good. Obviously, we wanted the pole, but just barely missed it there. So, hat’s off to the Hendrick engine shop, the fab shop, and all the guys that work on these things all winter. This is really all about them. As a driver, you can really only screw it up. So, you can’t make it really go any faster. So, I’m proud of all the guys and we’ve got the best-looking car here with Valvoline on board. It looks awesome, and hopefully we’ll be up front in the 500.”

Add to that Hendrick Motorsports driver Alex Bowman was second quick at 194.363 mph, locking himself into the outside of the front row for the Daytona 500.

The remainder of the field will be set in Thursday night’s qualifying races.

Two-time 500 pole winner Chase Elliott was third fast, with Jimmie Johnson fourth quick as he prepares for his final season on the NASCAR Cup Series tour.

Two-time and defending Daytona 500 champion Denny Hamlin was fifth quick with 2019 series champion Kyle Busch sixth. Aric Almirola was the fastest Ford driver with a seventh place result, followed by defending pole winner William Byron in eighth, Rookie of the Year contender Christopher Bell in ninth and Erik Jones in tenth.

Two non-chartered teams can go into the rest of the week breathing easy, as Justin Haley and Brendan Gaughan locked themselves into next weekends Daytona 500 on speed. Haley timed in 31st quick, while Gaughan was 33rd.

NASCAR Cup Series
Daytona International Speedway – Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona 500 – February 9, 2020

Sunday’s Qualifying Results

1. (47) Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., Chevrolet, 194.582 mph.*
2. (88) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 194.363 mph.*
3. (9) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 194.305 mph.
4. (48) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 193.886 mph.
5. (11) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 193.432 mph.
6. (18) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 192.876 mph.
7. (10) Aric Almirola, Ford, 192.588 mph.
8. (24) William Byron, Chevrolet, 192.443 mph.
9. (95) Christopher Bell #, Toyota, 192.234 mph.
10. (20) Erik Jones, Toyota, 192.066 mph.
11. (22) Joey Logano, Ford, 192.033 mph.
12. (4) Kevin Harvick, Ford, 192.025 mph.
13. (14) Clint Bowyer, Ford, 191.873 mph.
14. (41) Cole Custer #, Ford, 191.812 mph.
15. (6) Ryan Newman, Ford, 191.693 mph.
16. (21) Matt DiBenedetto, Ford, 191.685 mph.
17. (37) Ryan Preece, Chevrolet, 191.616 mph.
18. (8) Tyler Reddick #, Chevrolet, 191.559 mph.
19. (17) Chris Buescher, Ford, 191.555 mph.
20. (42) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 191.542 mph.
21. (19) Martin Truex, Jr., Toyota, 191.514 mph.
22. (1) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 191.278 mph.
23. (2) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 191.270 mph.
24. (34) Michael McDowell, Ford, 191.205 mph.
25. (38) John Hunter Nemechek #, Ford, 191.180 mph.
26. (36) David Ragan, Ford, 190.876 mph.
27. (12) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 190.658 mph.
28. (77) Ross Chastain(i), Chevrolet, 190.428 mph.
29. (3) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 190.384 mph.
30. (13) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 190.062 mph.
31. (16) Justin Haley(i), Chevrolet, 190.018 mph.
32. (43) Darrell Wallace, Jr., Chevrolet, 189.510 mph.
33. (62) Brendan Gaughan(i), Chevrolet, 188.945 mph.
34. (27) Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, 187.356 mph.
35. (66) Timmy Hill(i), Ford, 186.625 mph.
36. (96) Daniel Suarez, Toyota, 185.479 mph.
37. (32) Corey LaJoie, Ford, 185.166 mph.
38. (00) Quin Houff #, Chevrolet, 183.887 mph.
39. (54) J.J. Yeley, Ford, 183.292 mph.
40. (15) Brennan Poole #, Chevrolet, 181.781 mph.

3 drivers failed to qualify.
41. (49) Chad Finchum, Toyota, 181.763 mph.
42. (51) Joey Gase(i), Chevrolet, 179.756 mph.
43. (52) B.J. McLeod(i), Ford, 0.000 mph.

*Locked into the Daytona 500 front row

NASCAR Cup Series
Daytona International Speedway – Daytona Beach, FL
Bluegreen Vacation Duels – February 13, 2020

Thursday’s Starting Lineups

Race One
1. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.
2. Chase Elliott
3. Denny Hamlin
4. Aric Almirola
5. Christopher Bell
6. Joey Logano
7. Clint Bowyer
8. Ryan Newman
9. Ryan Preece
10. Chris Buescher
11. Martin Truex, Jr.
12. Brad Keselowski
13. John Hunter Nemechek
14. Ryan Blaney
15. Austin Dillon
16. Justin Haley
17. Darrell Wallace, Jr.
18. Reed Sorenson
19. Daniel Suarez
20. Quin Houff
21. Chad Finchum
22. Joey Gase

Race Two
1. Alex Bowman
2. Jimmie Johnson
3. Kyle Busch
4. William Byron
5. Erik Jones
6. Kevin Harvick
7. Cole Custer
8. Matt DiBenedetto
9. Tyler Reddick
10. Kyle Larson
11. Kurt Busch
12. Michael McDowell
13. David Ragan
14. Ross Chastain
15. Ty Dillon
16. Brendan Gaughan
17. Timmy Hill
18. Corey LaJoie
19. J.J. Yeley
20. Brennan Poole
21. B.J. McLeod

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