Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Alex Bowman will lead the field to the green flag next Sunday (Feb. 16) in the 62nd running of the Daytona 500.
Stenhouse laid down a lap time of 46.253 seconds (194.582 MPH average speed) Sunday (Feb. 9) during the Daytona 500 Pole Day qualifying, earning the driver his third career Cup Series pole and first in the Daytona 500.
“Any time you can start the season off, your first race with an organization, and to see all the work that they’ve put in; guys at the shop that I didn’t even know were working Saturdays and late nights all for the benefit of me to come down here and jump in this car and run fast,” Stenhouse said.
“Touring the Hendrick engine shop, they were pumped-up for me to switch over into their horsepower.
“So, this goes to a lot of people that work hard behind the scenes for me to come out here and drive.”
Bowman, who qualified second with a lap time of 46.305 seconds, earned his third consecutive front row start for the Daytona 500.
“We wanted the pole, but just barely missed it there,” Bowman said. “So, hat’s off to the Hendrick engine shop, the fab shop, and all the guys that work on these things all winter.
“This is really all about them. As a driver, you can really only screw it up. So, you can’t make it really go any faster.”
Chase Elliott, Jimmie Johnson and 2019 Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin rounded out the top-five qualifiers.
Defending series champion Kyle Busch qualified sixth.
Justin Haley and Brendan Gaughan — who qualified 31st and 3rrd respectively — earned starting spots by being the fastest non-chartered qualifiers.
The rest of the field will be determined Thursday, Feb. 13 in the two 150-mile qualifying races.
The Daytona 500 will be televised live on FOX on Sunday, Feb. 16 at 2:30 p.m. ET.