Alex Bowman captures Daytona 500 pole; sixth straight time starting in front row
Alex Bowman and Kyle Larson will lead the charge in Sunday’s Daytona 500 to officially start the 2023 NASCAR season and put Hendrick Motorsports in a great position as well.
Bowman took his third career pole at the track with the quickest lap on Wednesday night. He will be driving the No. 48 Chevrolet come Sunday, and starting next to him will be his teammate, Larson, who is back in the No. 5 Chevrolet to start the season.
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It’s a good start to the year for Bowman, who missed several races of the 2022 season with a concussion.
“It may not be the big one,” Bowman said. “But it’s not a bad one to have.”
Larson sat on the pole for last year’s start and Bowman was No. 2. Larson was the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series champion but was eliminated in the Round of 12 in 2022.
Bowman’s been in the front row for each Daytona race in 2018. He has the record for most consecutive front-row starts at the race with six.
Jimmie Johnson was a familiar face back in the lineup. He returned to NASCAR after a two-year dalliance in IndyCar for an ownership stake in Legacy Motor Club. He joined the 40-car field with a quick-enough qualifying time in the No. 84 Chevrolet.
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“I think I really have a shot to win,” he said before qualifying. “If I survive and get through the first two stages, there’s really a shot that I have to win this race.”
Travis Pastrana gave it his best shot at Daytona 500 qualifying and made the cut as well. The X-Games and extreme sports legend said racing in the Daytona 500 was one of his last motorsports goals, and this was his last, best shot to get there. He will be driving the No. 67 Toyota for Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin’s race team.
The Bluegreen Vacations Duels are set for Thursday night. The two 60-lap contests will set the rest of the race lineup.
Rookie Austin Cindric won the race last year. Bubba Wallace was the runner-up followed by Chase Briscoe, Ryan Blaney and Aric Almirola.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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