Daytona 500 Qualifying Puts Alex Bowman and Kyle Larson on Front Row

Jimmie Johnson and Travis Pastrana make the field for the "Great American Race" based on their qualifying times.

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Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, Fl — February 16, 2023

Last night at Daytona, the Cup Series cars made their first appearance on the Speedway. Pole position qualifying kicked off Speedweeks with 42 cars looking for 40 starting spots in the 65th Daytona 500.

When all the laps were completed, Hendrick Motorsports locked down the front row with Alex Bowman(48) sitting on the pole and Kyle Larson(5) set to start next to him. Bowman’s speed of 181.686 mph was almost 2/10th of a second faster (49.536 to 49.708) than Larson’s 181.057 lap around the 2.5-mile track.

Alex Bowman / Lasco Press Photo
Kyle Larson / Lasco Press Photo

The remaining 38 starting positions will be determined in tonight’s Bluegreen Vacations Duels qualifying races, starting at 7 pm. There are 36 NASCAR “charter” holding entries that are guaranteed a starting position. Leaving six teams to battle for the remaining four spots on the grid.

Earning a Starting Spot

Jimmie Johnson(84), the seven-time NASCAR Cup Series Champion, locked up one of those spots with the 23rd faster speed of 179.276. Two positions back, Travis Pastrana(67) locked up the second open position with a speed of 179.254.

Jimmy Johnson / Lasco Press Photo

Pastrana, the former motocross, supercross, and rally champion, revealed an interesting caveat to his agreement to drive for Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin’s 23XI racing. If he wrecks the car, he pays for the repairs. Given Daytona’s reputation for chewing up race cars, that could be an expensive outcome.

The four other non-charter drivers hoping to race their way in during the Duels are Conor Daly(50), Austin Hill(62), Chandler Smith(13), and Zane Smith(36), the 2022 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Champion.

For additional pictures from pole position qualifying, visit the author’s Facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/journalist.steve.s.sports.editor.thelascopress/

Qualifying Races Lineups

Bluegreen Vacation Duel No. 1

Starting Position Car No. Driver
1 48 Alex Bowman
2 24 William Byron
3 22 Joey Logano
4 12 Ryan Blaney
5 21 Harrison Burton
6 23 Bubba Wallace
7 17 Chris Buescher
8 1 Ross Chastain
9 4 Kevin Harvick
10 54 Ty Gibbs
11 20 Christopher Bell
12 84 Jimmie Johnson
13 34 Michael McDowell
14 43 Erik Jones
15 36 Zane Smith
16 16 AJ Allmendinger
17 3 Austin Dillon
18 47 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
19 51 Cody Ware
20 77 Ty Dillon
21 13 Chandler Smith

 

Bluegreen Vacation Duel No. 2

Starting position Car No. Driver
1 5 Kyle Larson
2 10 Aric Almirola
3 14 Chase Briscoe
4 2 Austin Cindric
5 8 Kyle Busch
6 99 Daniel Suárez
7 9 Chase Elliott
8 41 Ryan Preece
9 6 Brad Keselowski
10 45 Tyler Reddick
11 19 Martin Truex Jr.
12 67 Travis Pastrana
13 11 Denny Hamlin
14 42 Noah Gragson
15 31 Justin Haley
16 62 Austin Hill
17 38 Todd Gilliland
18 78 BJ McLeod
19 15 Riley Herbst
20 7 Corey LaJoie
21 50 Conor Daly