Daytona 500 Live: William Byron has pole position for the 2019 Dayton 500, which will kick off this year’s NASCAR Cup Series on Sunday. This will be the 61st running of the prestigious race. The green flag for the 61st running of the Daytona 500 and the official start to the NASCAR Cup Series season is set for Sunday at 2:30 p.m. ET.
Byron, driving a Chevrolet from Hendrick Motorsports, secured pole position with a time of 46.319 and a speed of 194.305 mph in qualifying. He also kept his car clean and damage-free in the first Duel on Thursday, his only job in that race. He finished in 16th, but will still lead off the Daytona 500, ahead of teammate Alex Bowman.
Bowman finished 13th in the second duel, which was won by Joey Logano. Logano was in fourth going into the final lap, and then took an assist from Team Penske teammate Ryan Blaney to move into first, seeming to catch Clint Bowyer by surprise.
Kevin Harvick comfortably won the first Duel, and will start third on the grid, next to Logano. The third row is comprised of Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Bowyer.
Six non-charter teams competed for four spots, and the ones who made it are Parker Kligerman of Gaunt Brothers Racing, Brendan Gaughan of Beard Motorsports, Tyler Reddick of Richard Childress Racing and Casey Mears of Germain Racing.
The 21-year-old, Byron, will seek to become the first driver in nearly 20 years to win The Great American Race from the pole position. And while Dale Jarrett was the last to do it in 2000, it was exactly 20 years ago that Jeff Gordon won both the Daytona 500 pole and race in the same No. 24 car for the same team.
Byron is listed at 40-to-1 to take the checkered flag, the same odds Austin Dillon had when he won the race last year. This time around, Dillon comes in at 30-to-1, although it should be noted that he opened at 40-to-1 before an adjustment after the Gander RV Duels. Those same duels helped determine the rest of the starting lineup, which you’ll find below. You’ll also find viewing information for the race.
Hendrick Motorsports will start on the front row of the Daytona 500, the first and most popular race of the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series season.
William Byron earned the pole for the Great American Race and will be flanked by teammate Alex Bowman. Hendrick’s other drivers, Jimmie Johnson and Chase Elliott, qualified 17th and 18th. Austin Dillon won the 2018 Daytona 500 with a last-lap pass of Aric Almirola, and the reigning champion will start 20th.
Hamlin rounds out the top 10 of the starting order, which also includes a pair of fellow past Daytona 500 winners. Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano qualified third and fourth, respectively, thanks to their victories in Thursday’s Gander RV Duel races. They’ll start behind the young Hendrick teammates who grabbed their front-row spots in last Sunday’s qualifying.
Byron will be driving his first race with crew chief Chad Knaus. Interestingly, his outstanding 16-year stint on the headset for Jimmie Johnson began the same way: atop the Daytona order.
Johnson wound up 15th during his Daytona debut in 2002. The seven-time series champion has caused quite a stir throughout race week, twice initiating contact in other races. Johnson might have a few more enemies Sunday afternoon.
Kyle Busch, who didn’t take kindly to Johnson’s maneuver in Duel 1, will start 31st. As Busch makes his way through the field, we’ll be monitoring whether anything happens between the No. 18 and No. 48.