|Chase Elliott – it's been known for decades that everything happens in NASCAR for a reason|
For the fourth consecutive year, the Daytona 500 pole went to the driver who was arguably the story of the preseason in NASCAR, as Chase Elliott captured the top spot in qualifying on Sunday at Daytona International Speedway.
It was just another chapter in the NASCAR conspiracy file for those fans into that sort of thing.
— In 2013, Danica Patrick won the Daytona 500 pole in her rookie NASCAR season following a preseason of hype.
— In 2014, Austin Dillon won the pole in the return of the iconic No. 3 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing made famous by the late Dale Earnhardt.
— In 2015, Jeff Gordon kicked off his farewell season in NASCAR with the pole at Daytona.
This time around, the glory of the Daytona 500 pole went to Chase Elliott — the driver replacing Jeff Gordon in the No. 24 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports. Elliott, at 20 years, 2 months and 17 days, becomes the youngest winner of a Daytona 500 pole, knocking Austin Dillon (23 years, 9 months 27 days in 2014) from that perch. Elliott can become the youngest winner of the race if he's able to make it to victory lane next Sunday.
“This is a very, very cool day. I don’t know that this opportunity has sunk in yet, much less sitting on the pole for the Daytona 500," Elliott said. "So this is very cool. I think the big thing is just the team and the Daytona 500 qualifying is about the team guys and the effort they put into these cars, and it’s nothing special I did, it’s really what kind of work they did this off-season to make it happen."
This was the 10th Daytona 500 pole for Hendrick Motorsports and the third for the No. 24 Chevrolet, with Gordon winning his Daytona 500 poles in 1999 and 2015. Elliott completed the fourth father/son combination to win poles for the 500, joining Richard and Kyle Petty, Bobby and Davey Allison and Dale Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Matt Kenseth qualified second and will start outside the front row.
The rest of the field will be set following twin qualifying races on Tuesday night. AutoWeek