Dale Earnhardt Jr. recorded the third-fastest time in Sunday’s Coors Light Pole Qualifying for the Daytona 500 with a lap of 194.028 mph (46.385 sec). Carl Edwards won the pole with a speed of 194.738 (46.216 sec.) mph followed by Greg Biffle at 194.087 (46.371 mph).
What this means is Edwards and Biffle have locked down the front row and the only guaranteed starting spots for next Sunday’s Daytona 500. The rest of the field will jockey for starting positions this Thursday in the Gatorade Duel 150 qualifying races. With the third quickest time, Earnhardt Jr. will start on the outside of row one in the first Gatorade Duel 150 (Thursday at 1 p.m. ET on SPEED). Earnhardt Jr.’s No. 88 Diet Mountain Dew/National Guard Chevrolet was the fastest Chevrolet in Sunday’s round of Coors Light Pole Qualifying.
"The guys did a great job on putting the car out there for qualifying,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “We weren’t really seeing that kind of speed in the car yesterday. We made a lot of changes. I’m sure we got some help, a good push of wind down the back straightaway, but the guys did a great job. The engine shop did a great job, too. All of the guys worked really hard on the body. They’ve cut this thing apart several times this winter trying to make it as good as they could. We can’t appreciate their help enough."
Marcos Ambrose and Casey Mears rounded out the top-five fastest qualifiers. Jeff Gordon, Martin Truex Jr., Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Trevor Bayne and Tony Stewart rounded out the top-10.
Practice sessions for the Gatorade Duels will start Wednesday at Noon and 2:30 p.m. ET, respectively, with SPEED broadcasting each session live.