Weekend Preview: Daytona 500 Pole Qualifying And Advance Auto Parts Clash

Chase Elliott (9) and Joey Logano during last year’s Monster Energy Cup Series Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona International Speedway (Photo: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Holly Cain – NASCAR Wire Service

DAYTONA BEACH, FLA. – The highly-anticipated start to the 2019 edition of Speedweeks in Daytona begins for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series on Sunday (at 12 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAAR Radio) with pole qualifying for the Daytona 500 followed by the Advance Auto Parts Clash (at 3 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), which will feature 20 of the sport’s biggest names competing for the first race trophy of the year.

In so many ways this weekend will set the tone for the official season-opening race, the Feb. 17 Daytona 500 (2:30 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) and after nearly three months of downtime, teams and drivers are Ready to Race, with two capital Rs.

Team Penske started last year much as it ended it – in Daytona International Speedway Victory Lane. Brad Keselowski led teammate Joey Logano across the finish line to earn his first Clash victory at Daytona. Logano would go on to claim his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup championship in Homestead-Miami in November.

However, from his very first start in the Clash, Denny Hamlin has proven himself the perennial driver to beat. He became the first rookie to win the prestigious event in 2006 and has added two more Clash trophies to his case since. He and fellow three-time Clash winner Kevin Harvick are the only drivers in this weekend’s field with multiple victories.

Hamlin holds several marks of distinction in addition to his winning haul. His 48 laps led in 2017 is the most ever led in a single edition of the race. His 142 career laps led is second only to Dale Earnhardt Jr. (149) all-time. And Hamlin is one of only six drivers to win the Clash and the Daytona 500 in the same year (2016); the last time that happened was 2000 with NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Jarrett.

Interestingly, most of the drivers in Sunday’s Clash field have never won the event before. Only brothers Kyle and Kurt Busch, Jimmie Johnson and Logano join Keselowski, Harvick and Hamlin as past winners. As has always been the case, a good showing in this non-points sprint is considered a good sign of things to come as Speedweeks progresses with the Daytona 500 qualifying races next Thursday and the Great American Race the following Sunday.

“I think, anytime we ever go down to Daytona, whether it’s with a new car or whether it’s with a different rules package or what have you, we always look at the Clash as a race to watch to see exactly what’s going to happen and what characteristics you have in your racecar and things,” said Kyle Busch, who picked up his Clash win in 2012.

“It’s a learning experience for everybody, whether you’re in the race or whether you’re out of the race and not in it. For us, we’re curious to see how the car is going to race and how it’s going to handle and what it’s going to react like. I’m just looking forward to getting back to Daytona to my day job with our M&M’S Chocolate Bar Toyota Camry.”


There is no more dramatic pole qualifying than for the season-opening Daytona 500, where the front row will be earned on Sunday and the remainder of the field set through the Gander RV Duel at Daytona qualifying races next Thursday evening.

When it comes to earning the top spot, Chevrolet has dominated as of late – taking the pole position in 10 of the last 11 years. Hendrick Motorsports has a streak of four consecutive poles – from Jeff Gordon in 2015, back-to-back poles by Chase Elliott in 2016-17 and the team’s newcomer Alex Bowman last year.

The lone non-Chevrolet to win in the last decade was Roush Fenway Racing’s Carl Edwards in 2012.

The last time a pole winner has won the Daytona 500 was Dale Jarrett in 2000.

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

  • Next Up: Daytona 500 Pole Qualifying
  • The Place: Daytona International Speedway (Daytona Beach, Fla.)
  • 2018 Pole Winner: Alex Bowman (195.644 mph, Hendrick Motorsports)
  • The Date: Sunday, Feb. 10
  • The Time: Noon ET
  • TV: FOX
  • Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

What To Watch For: The front row will be set for the Feb. 17 Daytona 500. … Last year Alex Bowman edged out Denny Hamlin to earn his first Daytona 500 pole position. … Bowman finished 17th and Hamlin, the 2016 Daytona 500 winner, was third last season. …Bowman’s work extended the Hendrick Motorsports team’s pole-winning run to four consecutive years (Jeff Gordon, 2015, Chase Elliott, 2016 and 2017). Hendrick Motorsports has won eight Daytona 500 pole positions in the last 20 years – most in the series during that time. … Last season marked Hamlin’s first front row start. … The pole position is the winningest starting position in the field (nine winners). …. The last pole winner to win the race was Dale Jarrett in 2000. … Bowman’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott is the youngest driver to win the Daytona 500 pole position (20 years, two months, 17 days in 2016). Chase Elliott is also the last driver to win consecutive Daytona 500 poles (2016-17). …. Ken Schrader was the previous driver to win consecutive pole positions – earning three in a row from 1988-90. Elliott’s father, NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott won three in a row from 1985-87. …. Cale Yarborough (1968, 70. 78, 84), Buddy Baker (1967, 73, 79, 80) and Bill Elliott (1985, 86, 87 and 2001) share the record for most Daytona 500 poles at four each. … Yarborough (1968, ’84)  and Elliott (1985, ’87) share the record for most Daytona 500 wins from the pole position with two each. …Chevrolet has won the Daytona 500 pole position in 10 of the last 11 years. Carl Edwards put Ford on the Daytona 500 pole in 2012 – the one Chevy exception in that span.

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

  • Next Race: Advance Auto Parts Clash
  • The Place:  Daytona International Speedway (Daytona Beach, Fla.)
  • Defending Winner: Brad Keselowski (Team Penske)
  • The Date: Sunday, Feb. 10
  • The Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
  • TV: FS1
  • Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
  • Distance: 187.5 miles (75 laps)

What To Watch For: Brad Keselowski won the Advance Auto Parts Clash last year for the first time in his career, leading teammate – and eventual Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Joey Logano – to the checkered flag. … Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick are three-time winners of the race and the only two drivers in this year’s field to have won multiple times. … Hamlin has led the most laps (142) in this race among the drivers entered this year. Dale Earnhardt Jr. holds the record for laps led in the Clash at 149. … Nine of the 20 drivers have led only 10 laps or less in previous entries. … Keselowski has the best average finish (7.8) among driver with at least five starts. … Half the field (10 drivers) have five starts or less. … Only six times in history has the winner of the Clash also gone on to win the Daytona 500. Hamlin is the last active driver to do so (2016). Dale Jarrett (2000) was the previous. … Jimmie Johnson will be making his 16th start in the Clash – the most starts among this year’s field. Mark Martin holds the record with 24. … Only four times has the Clash been won from the pole position – Hamlin’s 2014 win was the last. …Five times the Clash winner led only a single lap – the last time that happened was 2009 with Harvick’s last lap pass. … The late Dale Earnhardt won this race a record six times. No other driver has won more than three. … Richard Childress Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing boast the all-time record for wins (eight) for a team.

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