Elliott is Daytona’s youngest ever pole-sitter; two teams fail inspections

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) – Chase Elliott kept the No. 24 Chevrolet on the pole for the second straight Daytona 500, becoming the youngest driver to start first in the race.

Elliott took the seat from retired four-time champion Jeff Gordon at Hendrick Motorsports. The 20-year-old is the son of Hall of Fame driver and two-time Daytona 500 champion Bill Elliott.

Gordon was in the broadcast booth Sunday at Daytona International Speedway, calling the shots as the No. 24 went around the track without him for the first time since 1992. Elliott’s top speed was 196.314 mph.

Matt Kenseth locked down the front row and will start second, keeping Joe Gibbs Racing’s roll going. Teammate Denny Hamlin won the kickoff Sprint Unlimited on Saturday night.

The rest of the field will be set in Thursday’s two qualifying races.

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) – NASCAR has disallowed Daytona 500 qualifying runs by Stewart-Haas Racing teammates Kevin Harvick and Brian Vickers.

During post-qualifying inspections Sunday, officials determined that the track bars on the cars were not in compliance with specifications. Harvick’s No. 4 Chevrolet and Vickers’ No. 14 Chevy will have to start at the rear in their qualifying races Thursday. Vickers is filling in Tony Stewart while the three-time NASCAR champion recovers from a broken vertebra.

Martin Truex Jr., who like Harvick was one of four drivers racing for the championship in last year’s finale, did not make a qualifying attempt because a roof flap of his No. 78 Toyota was out of compliance, and the team could not fix it within a designated five-minute window. He also will start one of the qualifying races from the back.

“They didn’t like the way it was landing when it went down,” crew chief Cole Pearn said. “I don’t know, it was that way the whole way down pit road. I’m not sure what the problem was, it could have been easily fixed but either way they decided to put it on the five-minute clock when we were down there at the end. I don’t know why we had to run it back here because there was no way we were going to get back here and get back out in time.”

NASCAR said the violations “will be discussed further,” meaning penalties and fines could be handed down.

 

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