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NASCAR Cup: Chase Elliott scores another Daytona pole

DAYTONA BEACH, FL – JULY 06: Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 Hooters Chevrolet, poses with the pole award after qualifying on the pole for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2018 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)

By AMANDA VINCENT

With a 46.381-second/194.045 mph lap in the second and final round of single-car Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series qualifying at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway on Friday, Chase Elliott claimed the pole for Saturday night’s Coke Zero Sugar 400. It’s his fourth-career pole and third at Daytona. With his pole on Friday, Elliott kept a streak of a pole in one of the two yearly Daytona International Speedway races in each of the last three season.

“Our Hooters Chevy has been nice all weekend,” Elliott said. “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.”

Hendrick Motorsports swept the front row of the starting grid and claimed three spots in the first two rows, with Alex Bowman qualifying second to start alongside Elliott in the front row and Jimmie Johnson qualifying fourth to share the second row with Brad Keselowski.

“It says so much about our chassis shop, our engine shop and everybody at the body shop,” Bowman said. “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.”

Ford was tops in the weekend’s only practice session on Thursday, as a group of Ford drivers formed a draft late in the session. As a result, Fords were in the top seven spots on the speed chart by the end of practice. But when qualifying rolled around, Chevrolet, specifically Hendrick Motorsports, stole the show, one car at a time. The HMS trio of Elliott Bowman and Johnson were the top-three in round one. Elliott also led the opening round with a 46.394-second/193.991 mph lap.

Together, Chevrolet and Ford shut Toyota out of the final round, or round of 12, of qualifying. The highest-qualifying Toyota driver was reigning Cup Series champion Martin Truex Jr. in 13th.

Forty-one cars entered the Daytona race, making for a five-car/driver battle among non-chartered teams for four available positions. Timothy Peters was odd man out, failing to make the race. Brendan Gaughan was the fastest of the group that also included Jeffrey Earnhardt, Landon Cassill and D.J. Kennington. Gaughan qualified 16th. Cassill’s regular ride, StarCom Racing’s No. 00 has a charter, but Cassill was moved to the team’s No. 99 with Joey Gase in the No. 00.

“Oh, the lap felt great,” Gaughan said. “Thank you to ECR and Richie Gilmore and all the guys there and Darren Shaw and all the Beard Oil Distributing guys. They did a great job, and it’s amazing — this Camaro. We all know we get our stuff from old Richard Childress equipment, and that is what we have is a great Richard Childress Chevrolet. Darren Shaw and the boys did great and I think we beat 30th (his pre-qualifying goal) by just a little bit, it looks like. I’m excited. It’s a great race car, and I can’t wait for the race tomorrow night.”

Below, is the complete starting grid for Saturday night’s Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway:
Row 1 — Chase Elliott (No. 9 Chevrolet), Alex Bowman (No. 88 Chevrolet)
Row 2 — Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Ford), Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Chevrolet)
Row 3 — Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Ford), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (No. 17 Ford)
Row 4 — Ryan Newman (No. 31 Chevrolet), Michael McDowell (No. 34 Ford)
Row 5 — Clint Bowyer (No. 14 Ford), Austin Dillon (No. 3 Chevrolet)
Row 6 — Joey Logano (No. 22 Ford), Ryan Blaney (No. 12 Ford)
Row 7 — Martin Truex Jr. (No. 78 Toyota), Kyle Larson (No. 42 Chevrolet)
Row 8 — Kyle Busch (No. 18 Toyota), Brendan Gaughan (No. 62 Chevrolet)
Row 9 — Denny Hamlin (No. 11 Toyota), William Byron (No. 24 Chevrolet)
Row 10 — Ty Dillon (No. 13 Chevrolet), Trevor Bayne (No. 6 Ford)
Row 11 — David Ragan (No. 38 Ford), Darrell Wallace Jr. (No. 43 Chevrolet)
Row 12 — Kurt Busch (No. 41 Ford), A.J. Allmendinger (No. 47 Chevrolet)
Row 13 — Chris Buescher (No. 37 Ford), Aric Almirola (No. 10 Ford)
Row 14 — Jamie McMurray (No. 1 Chevrolet), Kasey Kahne (No. 95 Chevrolet)
Row 15 — Erik Jones (No. 20 Toyota), Paul Menard (No. 21 Ford)
Row 16 — Matt DiBenedetto (No. 32 Ford), Daniel Suarez (No. 19 Toyota)
Row 17 — Ross Chastain (No. 15 Chevrolet), Jeffrey Earnhardt (No. 7 Chevrolet)
Row 18 — D.J. Kennington (No. 96 Toyota), Joey Gase (No. 00 Chevrolet)
Row 19 — Landon Cassill (No. 99 Chevrolet), Corey LaJoie (No. 72 Chevrolet)
Row 20 — Ray Black Jr. (No. 51 Chevrolet), J.J. Yeley (No. 23 Toyota)

Did not qualify — Timothy Peters

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Posted by on July 7, 2018. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,Monster Energy NASCAR Cup,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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