|If he doesn't wreck NASCAR will make headlines on Saturday night when Dale Jr. wins his final race at Daytona. It will be a tearjerker for his fans|
Dale Earnhardt Jr. sped to the Coors Light Pole Award in Friday's qualifying for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at Daytona International Speedway.
Earnhardt guided the Hendrick Motorsports No. 88 Chevrolet to a best lap of 190.973 mph, securing the top starting spot for Saturday's Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola (7:30 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN, SiriusXM). His first pole of the season was his second at the 2.5-mile track and the 14th of his Monster Energy Series career.
Earnhardt, preparing for the last Daytona start in his final full-time season, backed up his speed from preliminary practice sessions. The four-time Daytona winner was fastest in Thursday's lightly participated final practice and also topped the first round of single-car qualifying runs Friday.
"I don't do anything in qualifying but just hold the wheel and just make sure I don't hit the apron," Earnhardt told NBCSN after his lap. "Otherwise, the car does everything. A lot of credit to the power, the body man back at the shop. All that stuff's so critical and they did a good job today."
Chase Elliott, Earnhardt's Hendrick Motorsports teammate, will start alongside on the front row after pushing the No. 24 Chevrolet to a second-fastest lap of 190.795 mph. Both cars also started on the front row in the season-opening Daytona 500, but in the reverse order.
[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]"I'm happy for those guys obviously, but we'd love to outrun 'em there," Elliott said of his teammate. "It's so hard to tell when you're out there making your lap how it's going to be or if you did anything any better."
Added Earnhardt: "I have to give Hendrick Motorsports a lot of credit, particularly for me personally it has been the No. 24 (Chase Elliott) bunch. We've been kind of pushing each other over the last several years in qualifying at Talladega and Daytona. It's been a healthy competition."
Defending race winner Brad Keselowski (190.287 mph), Kasey Kahne (190.050) and last week's winner Kevin Harvick (190.046) completed the top five.
Jimmie Johnson was the final entrant to make the 12-driver cut at the end of the first round of qualifying. His speed of 189.322 mph kept Matt Kenseth out of the final round by just a .005-second margin. Johnson will start 12th with Kenseth 13th.
Darrell Wallace Jr., interim replacement for the injured Aric Almirola, was 31st-fastest in the Richard Petty Motorsports No. 43 Ford.
|1||88||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||Nationwide Chevrolet||47.127||190.973|
|2||24||Chase Elliott||NAPA Patriotic Chevrolet||47.171||190.795|
|3||2||Brad Keselowski||Detroit Genuine Parts Ford||47.297||190.287|
|4||5||Kasey Kahne||UniFirst Chevrolet||47.356||190.050|
|5||4||Kevin Harvick||Jimmy John's Ford||47.357||190.046|
|6||17||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||Fifth Third Bank Ford||47.367||190.006|
|7||22||Joey Logano||Shell Pennzoil Ford||47.388||189.921|
|8||1||Jamie McMurray||McDonald's $1 Any Size Soft Drink Chevrolet||47.406||189.849|
|9||21||Ryan Blaney||Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford||47.422||189.785|
|10||10||Danica Patrick||Aspen Dental Ford||47.460||189.633|
|11||14||Clint Bowyer||Mobil 1 Ford||47.486||189.530|
|12||48||Jimmie Johnson||Lowe's Chevrolet||47.506||189.450|
|13||20||Matt Kenseth||DEWALT Flexvolt Toyota||47.543||189.302|
|14||6||Trevor Bayne||Liberty National Life Insurance Company Ford||47.563||189.223|
|15||41||Kurt Busch||Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford||47.569||189.199|
|16||18||Kyle Busch||Interstate Batteries Toyota||47.604||189.060|
|17||77||Erik Jones #||Sport Clips Toyota||47.624||188.980|
|18||11||Denny Hamlin||FedEx Express Toyota||47.648||188.885|
|19||3||Austin Dillon||American Ethanol Chevrolet||47.659||188.842|
|20||19||Daniel Suarez #||Subway Toyota||47.730||188.561|
|21||42||Kyle Larson||Credit One Bank Chevrolet||47.742||188.513|
|22||31||Ryan Newman||Velveeta Shells & Cheese Chevrolet||47.756||188.458|
|23||95||Michael McDowell||WRL General Contractors Chevrolet||47.766||188.419|
|24||27||Paul Menard||Moen/Menards Chevrolet||47.803||188.273|
|25||78||Martin Truex Jr.||Bass Pros Shops/TRACKER BOATS Toyota||47.815||188.225|
|26||34||Landon Cassill||Love's Travel Stops Hnrng the Qt Prfssnl Ford||47.817||188.218|
|27||47||AJ Allmendinger||Kroger ClickList Chevrolet||47.934||187.758|
|28||32||Matt DiBenedetto||Incredible Bank Ford||47.957||187.668|
|29||37||Chris Buescher||Coffee Mate Chevrolet||47.969||187.621|
|30||38||David Ragan||Shrnrs Hsptl for Chldrn 95th Annvrsry Ford||48.041||187.340|
|31||43||Darrell Wallace Jr.(i)||Smithfield Ford||48.145||186.935|
|32||75||Brendan Gaughan(i)||Beard Oil Distributing Chevrolet||48.199||186.726|
|33||7||Elliott Sadler(i)||Golden Corral Chevrolet||48.201||186.718|
|34||13||Ty Dillon #||GEICO Military Chevrolet||48.346||186.158|
|35||72||Cole Whitt||RTIC Coolers Chevrolet||48.484||185.628|
|36||23||Corey LaJoie #||Dr Pepper Toyota||48.529||185.456|
|37||55||Reed Sorenson||RoyalTeakCollection.com Toyota||48.747||184.627|
|38||83||Ryan Sieg(i)||Dustless Blasting Toyota||49.063||183.438|
|39||33||Jeffrey Earnhardt||hulu Chevrolet||49.588||181.496|
|40||15||DJ Kennington||Xchange of America/LordCo Toyota||0.000||0.000|