DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) – Chase Elliott nipped Dale Earnhardt Jr. on the final qualifying lap to win his second straight pole for the Daytona 500.
Elliott turned a lap at 192.872 mph on Sunday to just edge Earnhardt’s speed of 196.864. Elliott and Earnhardt gave Hendrick Motorsports and Chevrolet a 1-2 front row for NASCAR’s biggest race.
The 21-year-old is the son of Hall of Fame driver and two-time Daytona 500 champion Bill Elliott. Elliott became the youngest Daytona 500 pole winner a year ago and proved in the No. 24 Chevy staring first was no fluke.
Elliott also made it three straight years for the No. 24 on the pole. Jeff Gordon won the pole in 2015 in his final season before he retired and turned the car over to Elliott.
Earnhardt had the speed beat in his triumphant return to NASCAR after he missed the second half of last season with a concussion. Elliott had just enough on the last qualifying attempt of the day to bump his teammate from the top spot and will lead the field to green. But a pole sitter has not finished in the top five in the last 15 years.
The rest of the field will be set Thursday in the two qualifying races.