William Byron On Daytona 500 Pole; Teammate Alex Bowman On Front Rowby Hunter Thomas February 10, 2019 0 comments
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – William Byron captured the pole for the 61st running of the Daytona 500 on Sunday during Busch Pole Qualifying.
The performance on Sunday marked Byron’s first pole of his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career. The Charlotte, North Carolina native topped the speed chart in Round 2 of qualifying with a lap of 46.319 seconds at 194.305 mph. In his only Daytona 500 start which came last year, Byron finished 23rd. The 21-year-old enters this season with momentum as he continues to compete for his first-career series victory.
“Yeah, it’s awesome for Chevrolet,” Byron said. “The Axalta Chevy was really fast. Credit to (crew chief) Chad (Knaus) and all the guys. It’s been a great off-season. We’re prepared. We’re ready. This is kind of the first step of our process together, so hopefully it goes well next Sunday. We can kind of chill out throughout the Duel races and learn a little bit. I’m looking forward to it. This is awesome.”
Byron’s No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet team is being led by crew chief Chad Knaus, who worked with seven-time series champion, Jimmie Johnson from 2002 to last year.
“Yeah, it’s such a huge accomplishment,” Knaus said. “We’ve got a small little military group of guys that really work hard on our Superspeedway program. And all these guys really put a lot of effort into them. There are many others, obviously, as well; but they work really hard over the off-season. To be able to see those cars 1-2-3-4 on the first two rows, is awesome. It’s a cool photograph. I’m enjoying working with William and the guys. It’s really neat to come down here and be able to perform like that for Axalta and everybody at Hendrick Motorsports.”
Sunday’s effort marked Hendrick Motorsports’ fifth consecutive Daytona 500 pole, and it was the 700th pole for Chevrolet in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
“Congratulations to William Byron and the No 24 Axalta Camaro ZL1 team for being the fastest qualifier today at Daytona” said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet US Vice President of Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. “This is extra-special as it’s the 700th time that a Chevy has been on the pole for a Cup series race. Thanks to every Team Chevy driver, owner and crew member who contributed to this milestone over the past six decades.”
Alex Bowman who captured last year’s Daytona 500 pole will start in second alongside of his Hendrick Motorsports teammate. Bowman was just a mere 0.036 seconds off the of the pole in his No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet. He ran a lap of 46.355 seconds at 194.154 mph.
“You know a driver can’t really do much,” Bowman said. “It’s all car and crew, so very proud of these guys, the Hendrick engine shop and everybody at Hendrick Motorsports. They do a great job. It’s neat. Really cool to have a fast race car down here.”
Hendrick Motorsports’ Jimmie Johnson and Chase Elliott were third and fourth fastest in qualifying, but their Daytona 500 starting positions will be set by how they finish in the Gander RV Duels at Daytona on Thursday, February 14. Both Duels will broadcast live on FOX Sports 1 (FS1) and the Motor Racing Network (MRN) beginning at 7 p.m. ET.
The Daytona 500 is scheduled to broadcast live on FOX and MRN at 2:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, February 17.
Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images