Joey Logano secures Daytona 500 pole as Ford locks out the front row

Joey Logano secures Daytona 500 pole as Ford locks out the front row

Ford secured a front-row lockout for the Daytona 500 thanks to the performances of Joey Logano and Michael McDowell on qualifying night.

Joey Logano delivered the quickest qualifying lap in the two-round qualifying session on Wednesday and he was awarded the Busch Light Pole Award for the 66th running of the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway.

Two qualifying rounds each consisting of a single lap session for each contender, determined the starting lineup and pole winner of the Daytona 500 event this year. After the first round, the top ten quickest qualifiers (out of 42 overall) advanced to the second and final one-lap round to battle for the pole position and a spot in the starting lineup.

Logano, who finished first in the first qualifying round, maintained his impressive form by taking the lead in the qualifying session and clinching the pole for this year’s Daytona 500.

He outperformed Michael McDowell, who qualified with the second-fastest lap of 181.686 mph in 49.536 seconds, with Logano delivering a pole-winning lap of 181.947 mph in 49.465 seconds aboard his No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Mustang Dark Horse.

“This is all about the team,” Logano said of his 29th NASCAR Cup Series pole. “I’d like to take credit, but I can’t today.

“These guys have done such an amazing job working on these cars; this superspeedway qualifying is 100% the car.

“There is only so much the driver can do, so I’m really proud of them. It’s a big win for our team, for everyone at Team Penske, Ford, and the new Dark Horse Mustang.”

With his feat, Logano—the 2018 NASCAR Cup Series winner and the 2015 Daytona 500 winner—became the 45th racer to start from pole at the Great American Race. It was also his 29th career Cup Series pole and his first on a superspeedway.

2022 Daytona 500 pole winner Kyle Larson finished third fastest with a final qualifying round speed of 181.635 mph while Austin Cindric finished fourth with 181.207 mph with Chase Elliott rounding out the top five with 181.178 mph.

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William Byron was sixth fastest with 181.174 mph while Austin Dillon was seventh (181.068 mph) followed closely by his Richard Childress Racing teammate Kyle Busch in eighth (180.995 mph). Ross Chastain was ninth fastest (180.883 mph), and Harrison Burton was 10th fastest (180.328 mph).

Todd Gilliland—one of the 32 competitors who did not advance to the second qualifying session—posted the 11th-fastest qualifying time with 180.339 mph in 49.903 seconds. Riley Herbst, Ryan Preece, Chase Briscoe, Chris Buescher, Noah Gragson, Alex Bowman, Ryan Blaney, Daniel Suarez, and Anthony Alfredo rounded out the top 20 qualifiers.

Anthony Alfredo and David Ragan have no doubts they will race in the Daytona 500 although starting positions for the two are undefined. The two represented non-chartered (or open) teams to qualify for the Daytona 500 and recorded fastest speeds.

Six drivers competed for the two guaranteed slots based on speed on Wednesday night. In the Thursday night duel races, Jimmy Johnson, BJ McLeod, JJ Yeley, and Kaz Grala will compete for one of the two available berths.

Grala failed to record a lap in qualifying aboard the No. 36 Mustang off pit road, but he was unable to accelerate due to a technical problem.

Alfredo will be making his second appearance in the Daytona 500 driving the No. 62 Chevrolet for Beard Motorsports. Alfredo had a top speed of 179.648 mph (50.098 seconds) among non-chartered drivers.

The two Bluegreen Vacations Duels that follow on the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series schedule will decide the remaining starting lineup for the 66th running of the Daytona 500, which is set for February 18 at 2:30 p.m. ET.

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