By David Morgan, NASCAR Editor
DAYTONA BEACH, Florida – It’s safe to say Chase Elliott has a knack for restrictor plate qualifying as the driver of the No. 9 Chevrolet laid down a blistering lap of 194.095 mph to score his fourth career pole in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, all of which have come at either Daytona or Talladega.
“I didn’t know it was that fast,” said Elliott. “Our Hooters Chevy has been nice all weekend. We made a couple of changes actually at the end of that last practice before the rain and made it go a little faster. I hope that translates to a good driving car tomorrow night.
“Obviously, a lot of speed in our Chevrolet’s. I’ve said this before, but we have put a lot of effort into our speedway program at Hendrick Motorsports. The engine shop, chassis shop, body shop, we take a lot of pride in coming to these races. They pay the same amount of points as the rest of them, so it matters and our team treats it that way and their hard work pays off.”
Not only did Elliott top the board, but Hendrick Motorsports flexed their muscle in qualifying as Alex Bowman will join Elliott on the front row. A third Hendrick driver in Jimmie Johnson qualified third.
“It says so much about our chassis shop, our engine shop and everybody at the body shop,” Bowman added of the HMS effort. “They put a lot of effort in these speedway races and its great to get two Camaro ZL1s on the front row. Wish we would have been one spot better, but maybe we will be one spot better tomorrow night.”
Brad Keselowski will start third, followed by Kevin Harvick, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ryan Newman, Michael McDowell, Clint Bowyer, Austin Dillon, Joey Logano, and Ryan Blaney to round out the top-12 qualifiers.
Other notables included Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Larson, Kyle Busch, Brendan Gaughan, Denny Hamlin, and William Byron just missing the cut into the second round.
Darrell Wallace Jr. will roll off 22nd and Timothy Peters was the lone driver to miss the field.