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Alex Bowman puts Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s former car on Daytona 500 pole


Alex Bowman captured the pole for next Sunday's Daytona 500 with a speed of 195.644 mph in the Hendrick Motorsports No. 88 Chevrolet, which was the former car of the retired Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Bowman, 24, had won Earnhardt's vote as his replacement after he retired at the end of last season. Bowman served as a substitute driver filling in for Earnhardt in 2016 when the popular driver was battling concussion issues.

Bowman sped around 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway in 46.002 seconds in the second and final round of Sunday's single-car qualifying.

"It was just a little nerve-wracking," Bowman, who will be racing in the Daytona 500 for just the second time in his career, said after Sunday's qualifying. "We knew we were going for the pole. That's what we're here for.

"It's still a little surreal. It's a dream come true to drive for Hendrick Motorsports."

Earnhardt, who had 17 career wins at Daytona and seven poles and is a two-time Daytona 500 winner, congratulated Bowman, tweeting, "Awesome! Great job @AlexBowman88 @TeamHendrick on the #Daytona500 pole! @Ives_Greg and the gang built a fast one."

Denny Hamlin had the second-fastest speed at 195.092 mph in a Toyota from Joe Gibbs Racing. Only the front row was locked in during Sunday's qualifying session, with the remainder of the 40-car field being set at the 150-mile Can-Am Duels on Thursday night.

"This was way out of the blue for us," Hamlin said. "I literally am so ecstatic. It's just so out of the blue, because, obviously, I thought that today was going to be a tough day qualifying. We focused so much on race trim yesterday (in Saturday's practice).

"We stuck in a pack, and I think we did one real mock run which wasn't really even a mock run and we were so far off that we just switched and made sure our car was going to handle real good on Thursday and obviously next Sunday."

Jimmie Johnson was third fastest on Sunday at 194.734 mph, earning the second-place starting position in the first Can-Am Duel qualifying race.

Kyle Busch (194.704 mph) will start on the outside of the front row in the second Duel after qualifying fourth.

--Field Level Media

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Qualifying - DAYTONA 500Daytona International Speedway

Daytona Beach, Florida
Sunday, February 11, 2018

1. (88) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 195.644 mph.

2. (11) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 195.092 mph.

3. (48) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 194.734 mph.

4. (18) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 194.704 mph.

5. (24) William Byron #, Chevrolet, 194.548 mph.

6. (20) Erik Jones, Toyota, 194.473 mph.

7. (19) Daniel Suarez, Toyota, 194.468 mph.

8. (4) Kevin Harvick, Ford, 194.464 mph.

9. (17) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 194.045 mph.

10. (9) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 193.911 mph.

11. (22) Joey Logano, Ford, 193.811 mph.

12. (21) Paul Menard, Ford, 193.199 mph.

13. (10) Aric Almirola, Ford, 193.386 mph.

14. (3) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 193.357 mph.

15. (12) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 193.228 mph.

16. (14) Clint Bowyer, Ford, 192.893 mph.

17. (41) Kurt Busch, Ford, 192.810 mph.

18. (95) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 192.744 mph.

19. (2) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 192.728 mph.

20. (6) Trevor Bayne, Ford, 192.386 mph.

21. (31) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 192.242 mph.

22. (42) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 192.238 mph.

23. (1) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 192.160 mph.

24. (34) Michael McDowell, Ford, 191.902 mph.

25. (43) Darrell Wallace Jr. #, Chevrolet, 191.742 mph.

26. (78) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 191.481 mph.

27. (13) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 191.188 mph.

28. (7) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, 191.160 mph.

29. (37) Chris Buescher, Chevrolet, 191.103 mph.

30. (47) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 190.904 mph.

31. (62) Brendan Gaughan, Chevrolet, 189.881 mph.

32. (51) Justin Marks(i), Chevrolet, 189.617 mph.

33. (32) Matt DiBenedetto, Ford, 188.778 mph.

34. (96) DJ Kennington, Toyota, 188.096 mph.

35. (00) Jeffrey Earnhardt, Chevrolet, 188.025 mph.

36. (92) David Gilliland(i), Ford, 187.954 mph.

37. (66) Mark Thompson, Ford, 186.463 mph.

38. (72) Corey LaJoie, Chevrolet, 186.058 mph.

39. (23) Gray Gaulding, Toyota, 0.000 mph.

40. (38) David Ragan, Ford, 0.000 mph.

Related Video:

Alex Bowman puts Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s former car on Daytona 500 pole originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 12 Feb 2018 08:31:00 EST.