Smaller teams maximize qualifying at Daytona

Photo by Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images
David Gilliland at Daytona International Speedway Friday. Gilliland scored his third career pole, and first for Front Row Motorsports. 

By Dominic Aragon
July 5, 2014



Four drivers, all running for underfunded programs, will lead the field to the green flag Saturday night at Daytona.

Bobby Labonte, Landon Cassill, and Reed Sorenson, qualified fourth, third, and second respectively, while David Gilliland, a 75-1 favorite to win, earned his third career pole and second at Daytona.

The qualifying session was impacted and shortened due to inclement weather.

“Our strongpoint is definitely the speedway racing,” Gilliland said from the media center. “The restrictor plate tracks are a great equalizer, and today shows it again.”

Reed Sorenson, back full-time with Tommy Baldwin Racing in 2014, will start outside the front row, notching his best qualifying run since a pole position start at Indianapolis in 2007.

“We’ll try to stay up front all day,” said Sorenson, who ran inside the top-ten at the Daytona 500 in February. “At some points in the race, usually the start, it seems like it’s a little calmer in the front. Usually tenth on back is where it gets hairy.”

Landon Cassill scored his best qualifying run of the season and his career, as he will start next to teammate Bobby Labonte in row two.

“We don’t typically have the reputation of being fast week-in-and-week-out, but we invest everything we have into our Superspeedway program,” Cassill said. “We have equipment for this race that’s as good as anybody’s.”

Bobby Labonte will make only his second start of 2014 Saturday night, running the No. 33 Chevrolet for Circle Sport Racing.

Labonte’s fourth place effort is his first top-ten qualifying effort since September 2011 at Dover, and is his best qualifying effort since 2008.

Labonte was not reached for comment.  

Which driver starting in the first two rows will score the best finish?
David Gilliland
Reed Sorenson
Landon Cassill
Bobby Labonte
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