Truex the Pole-Sitter for Daytona 500

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

Martin Truex Jr. has won the pole for the season-opening Daytona 500, while sentimental favorite Mark Martin qualified second.

Truex and Martin locked in their spots during Sunday's
qualifying at Daytona International Speedway. Only the top two
spots were secured under the complicated qualifying process for the
Feb. 15 race, and the rest of the field will be set by a pair of
150-mile races Thursday.

Truex earned the pole by turning a lap at 188.001 mph in a
Chevrolet for Earnhardt Ganassi Racing. The team is a merged effort
of Dale Earnhardt Inc. and Chip Ganassi Racing, organizations that
joined up in late November when sponsorship difficulties threatened
their race teams.

"That was exciting for all of us," Truex said after the last
of 56 cars made their qualifying attempt.

"This is the first time we've come down here and felt like we
had a shot at the pole here. It's a big deal, the Daytona 500,
starting on the pole. We've got a lot of hard work in front of us
this week still, but I'm excited for all the guys. It's a great way
to start out the season."

It's only the second pole of Truex's career.

Martin, meanwhile, turned a lap at 187.817 in a Chevrolet for
Hendrick Motorsports. The 50-year-old veteran is returning to
full-time racing this season after running a partial schedule the
past two years.

"Everybody on this race team is so charged up," Martin said.
"It's just so fun to go to work every day and I'm glad it's just
about ready to start."

Four other drivers were technically locked into the field,
although their starting spots will not be determined until
Thursday's qualifying races. But two-time Daytona 500 winner Bill
Elliott, two-time series champion Tony Stewart and Travis Kvapil
earned their way in by posting the fastest speeds among drivers not
already assured a spot in the field.

Terry Labonte earned a berth in the field as the fastest former
champion attempting to make the field.

Many believed Elliott had a solid shot at the pole after pacing
both of Saturday's practice sessions in the storied No. 21 Ford for
Wood Brother Racing. Like many smaller teams, the Wood Brothers
have been saddled with sponsorship woes. Despite being one of the
oldest teams in NASCAR history, the team currently has only enough
funding for 12 races this season.

"I have such mixed emotions," said Elliott, who was fifth
fastest in qualifying. "This whole (sponsor) Motorcraft team, they
really put a good plan together to come down here for the 500 this
year and I'm so proud of what they've done. I'm disappointed for
those guys that we didn't sit on the pole."

Stewart, who left Joe Gibbs Racing after 10 years to take over
ownership of his own team, posted the 10th-fastest speed then
waited in uniform with his new crew to see if it was good enough to
lock down a starting spot.

Ryan Newman, his teammate, posted the third-fastest speed of the
session but was already locked into the field based on last
season's points.

"To have a new organization and a new group of guys do this ...
this is a good effort for sure," Newman said.

NASCAR-Daytona 500 Time Trial Results

Race: Sunday, Feb. 15
At Daytona International Speedway
Daytona Beach, Fla.
Lap length: 2.5 miles

(Car number in parentheses)
1. (1) Martin Truex Jr., Chevrolet, 188.001 mph.
2. (5) Mark Martin, Chevrolet, 187.817 mph.
3. (39) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 187.778 mph.
4. (42) Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, 187.743 mph.
5. (21) Bill Elliott, Ford, 187.739 mph.
6. (48) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 187.727 mph.
7. (8) Aric Almirola, Chevrolet, 187.649 mph.
8. (28) Travis Kvapil, Ford, 187.574 mph.
9. (24) Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 187.402 mph.
10. (14) Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 187.336 mph.
11. (96) Bobby Labonte, Ford, 187.211 mph.
12. (88) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 187.079 mph.
13. (98) Paul Menard, Ford, 187.044 mph.
14. (78) Regan Smith, Chevrolet, 186.924 mph.
15. (18) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 186.896 mph.
16. (16) Greg Biffle, Ford, 186.889 mph.
17. (82) Scott Speed #, Toyota, 186.842 mph.
18. (0) David Reutimann, Toyota, 186.827 mph.
19. (87) Joe Nemechek, Toyota, 186.807 mph.
20. (8) Boris Said, Ford, 186.780 mph.
21. (20) Joey Logano #, Toyota, 186.753 mph.
22. (33) Clint Bowyer, Chevrolet, 186.726 mph.
23. (17) Matt Kenseth, Ford, 186.614 mph.
24. (26) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 186.509 mph.
25. (11) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 186.451 mph.
26. (99) Carl Edwards, Ford, 186.389 mph.
27. (6) David Ragan, Ford, 186.374 mph.
28. (43) Reed Sorenson, Dodge, 186.070 mph.
29. (19) Elliott Sadler, Dodge, 186.066 mph.
30. (47) Marcos Ambrose, Toyota, 186.012 mph.
31. (31) Jeff Burton, Chevrolet, 185.958 mph.
32. (36) Scott Riggs, Toyota, 185.893 mph.
33. (83) Brian Vickers, Toyota, 185.858 mph.
34. (55) Michael Waltrip, Toyota, 185.805 mph.
35. (44) AJ Allmendinger, Dodge, 185.770 mph.
36. (34) John Andretti, Chevrolet, 185.590 mph.
37. (9) Brad Keselowski, Chevrolet, 185.571 mph.
38. (9) Kasey Kahne, Dodge, 185.517 mph.
39. (7) Robby Gordon, Toyota, 185.510 mph.
40. (7) Casey Mears, Chevrolet, 185.426 mph.
41. (12) David Stremme, Dodge, 185.391 mph.
42. (2) Kurt Busch, Dodge, 185.380 mph.
43. (41) Jeremy Mayfield, Toyota, 185.082 mph.
44. (77) Sam Hornish Jr., Dodge, 185.079 mph.
45. (27) Kirk Shelmerdine, Toyota, 184.854 mph.
46. (71) Mike Wallace, Chevrolet, 184.847 mph.
47. (37) Tony Raines, Dodge, 184.106 mph.
48. (73) Mike Garvey, Dodge, 184.004 mph.
49. (29) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 183.602 mph.
50. (66) Terry Labonte, Toyota, 182.043 mph.
51. (75) Derrike Cope, Dodge, 182.020 mph.
52. (23) Mike Skinner, Chevrolet, 181.928 mph.
53. (51) Kelly Bires, Dodge, 181.701 mph.
54. (46) Carl Long, Dodge, 181.032 mph.
55. (64) Geoff Bodine, Toyota, 180.810 mph.
56. (57) Norm Benning, Chevrolet, 177.396 mph.


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