Daytona 500: Bowman takes pole as Johnson and Pastrana lock in

Alex Bowman has secured his third career Daytona 500 pole for the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series opener, beating Hendrick Motorsports team-mate Kyle Larson as the pair lockout the front row.

HMS driver Alex Bowman, who announced a three-year contract extension earlier on Wednesday, posted the fastest lap of qualifying in the final round, a 181.686mph, to claim the pole for Sunday’s Daytona 500.
Joining him on the front row is Larson, who just missed out after posting a 181.057 mph lap.

Bowman has now started on the front row of the season-opener for a NASCAR record sixth consecutive time. He owns four career poles, with three of them coming in the Daytona 500.

“That’s the trick, right?” Bowman said, when asked how he transfer his front row start over to a victory. “We obviously haven’t been able to do that the last five years. We’ll try to make the right decisions in transferring everything over to race trim for Sunday the best we can.

“I’m just so proud of Hendrick Motorsports, the engine shop, all the guys. This Ally Camaro is obviously very fast. I don’t have a lot to do with qualifying here – just fortunate to qualify some really fast race cars.”

Fellow Hendrick team-mate William Byron ended up taking third in qualifying, with Aric Almirola fourth and reigning series champion Joey Logano rounded out the top-five. Completing the top 10 were Chase Briscoe, Ryan Blaney, Austin Cindric, Harrison Burton and Kyle Busch.

But only Bowman and Larson’s starting positions are locked in for Sunday, as the remaining starting grid will be set by the results of Thursday night’s twin 150-mile qualifying races.

Alex Bowman, Hendrick Motorsports, Ally Chevrolet

Alex Bowman, Hendrick Motorsports, Ally Chevrolet

Photo by: Gavin Baker / NKP / Motorsport Images

Bowman’s pole is also the ninth consecutive Daytona 500 a team powered by a Hendrick engine has started on the pole – a run that also stretches to 10 of the last 11.

However, a Hendrick-run driver hasn’t won the Daytona 500 since 2014, when Dale Earnhardt Jr held off Denny Hamlin by 0.092s.

Earlier in qualifying, by posting the top two speeds among the six unchartered cars, Jimmie Johnson and Travis Pastrana both locked themselves into the field for the Daytona 500.

Starting line-up for the Duels at Daytona

Duel #1 Lineup Car No. Driver Team
1 48 Alex Bowman Hendrick Motorsports
2 24 William Byron Hendrick Motorsports
3 22 Joey Logano Team Penske
4 12 Ryan Blaney Team Penske
5 21 Harrison Burton Wood Brothers Racing
6 23 Bubba Wallace 23XI Racing
7 17 Chris Buescher RFK Racing
8 1 Ross Chastain Trackhouse Racing Team
9 4 Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Racing
10 54 Ty Gibbs Joe Gibbs Racing
11 20 Christopher Bell Joe Gibbs Racing
12 84 *Jimmie Johnson Legacy Motor Club
13 34 Michael McDowell Front Row Motorsports
14 43 Erik Jones Legacy Motor Club
15 36 *Zane Smith Front Row Motorsports
16 16 AJ Allmendinger Kaulig Racing
17 3 Austin Dillon Richard Childress Racing
18 47 Ricky Stenhouse JTG Daugherty Racing
19 51 Cody Ware Rick Ware Racing
20 77 Ty Dillon Spire Motorsports
21 13 *Chandler Smith Kaulig Racing
Duel #2 Lineup Car No. Driver Team
1 5 Kyle Larson Hendrick Motorsports
2 10 Aric Almirola Stewart-Haas Racing
3 14 Chase Briscoe Stewart-Haas Racing
4 2 Austin Cindric Team Penske
5 8 Kyle Busch Richard Childress Racing
6 99 Daniel Suarez Trackhouse Racing Team
7 9 Chase Elliott Hendrick Motorsports
8 41 Ryan Preece Stewart-Haas Racing
9 6 Brad Keselowski RFK Racing
10 45 Tyler Reddick 23XI Racing
11 19 Martin Truex Jr. Joe Gibbs Racing
12 67 *Travis Pastrana 23XI Racing
13 11 Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing
14 42 Noah Gragson Legacy Motor Club
15 31 Justin Haley Kaulig Racing
16 62 *Austin Hill Beard Motorsports
17 38 Todd Gilliland Front Row Motorsports
18 78 BJ McLeod Live Fast Motorsports
19 15 Riley Herbst Rick Ware Racing
20 7 Corey LaJoie Spire Motorsports
21 50 *Conor Daly The Money Team Racing

*Open entries


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