DAYTONA BEACH, Fla — Hendrick Motorsports teammates locked out the front row for February’s Daytona 500. They’ll do so again for Saturday’s Coke Zero Sugar 400 (7 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN) at the World Center of Racing.
It’s actually the 4th straight HMS pole at Daytona and 12th in the last 16 tries on the high banked 2.5-mile Florida superspeedway. The only 4 poles they didn’t win was Greg Biffle (July 2016), Joey Logano (July 2019), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (February 2020) and Kevin Harvick (Aug. 2020). However, 2 of the 4 weren’t won on speed. Logano’s pole in 2019 was on points. Same for Harvick in 2020 as we didn’t qualify that year.
For the 2nd straight week actually, both Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson will lineup on the front row next to each other. In Watkins Glen it was Elliott on the pole and Larson in 2nd. For Daytona now, it’s the other way around.
Due to rain washing out the qualifying session on Friday, Larson will start on the pole for the third straight time here. He was on the pole for last year’s race, the Daytona 500 and now the ‘400 again on Saturday.
It’s also his 3rd straight front row starting spot on the season too and 10th time starting 8th or better in the last 11 races overall.
He’s hoping for better luck in the race however with Larson never having scored a top 5 in 16 NASCAR Cup Series starts here. To make matters worse, just 1 pole winner has won here since 2011 (Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 2016).
Elliott lines up 2nd in his No. 9 Chevrolet for his 8th starting spot in the top 2 rows in the last 11 races. For Daytona, this is only his 2nd top 5 starting spot however since 2019 (8 races). The other was here in this very race last year to where he started 5th and finished 8th.
Joey Logano and Daniel Suarez will share Row 2. This is Logano’s 6th top 10 starting spot in his last 8 Daytona starts including 5 of the 6 in the top 2 rows. Suarez has never started in the top 10 here before (10 races prior) with a best start prior to Saturday night being 15th.
Christopher Bell and Tyler Reddick will start 5th and 6th respectively in sharing Row 3. What’s good for them is, 3 of the last 4 Daytona winners came from Row 3. Bell is 0-for-12 on the Daytona oval across the 3 series including a best finish in 5 Cup starts being 13th in this race in 2020. Reddick is 2-for-15 with a win each in the Truck Series (Feb. 2015) and the Xfinity Series (Feb. 2018). He’s 0-for-6 in the Cup Series with 5 of his 6 finishes being 27th or worse. He did finish 5th in last year’s race.
Each of the last 13 Daytona winners started 5th on back at that.
Furthermore, this is the 4th straight year qualifying didn’t happen for the Coke Zero Sugar 400. 2019 and 2021 were also rained out with 2020 qualifying not even happening due to COVID measures.
The last time we qualified for this race was July 6, 2018.
2015, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022 are all recent years we didn’t qualify for this race.
Coke Zero Sugar 400 Starting Lineup
Row 1: Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott
Row 2: Joey Logano, Daniel Suarez
Row 3: Christopher Bell, Tyler Reddick
Row 4: Kevin Harvick, Chris Buescher
Row 5: Michael McDowell, Alex Bowman
Row 6: Erik Jones, Ross Chastain
Row 7: Martin Truex Jr., Austin Cindric R
Row 8: Cole Custer, Ryan Blaney
Row 9: William Byron, Justin Haley
Row 10: Denny Hamlin, Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Row 11: Austin Dillon, Kyle Busch
Row 12: Ty Gibbs, Brad Keselowski
Row 13: Ty Dillon, Chase Briscoe
Row 14: Aric Almirola, Daniel Hemric
Row 15: Harrison Burton R, Bubba Wallace
Row 16: Corey LaJoie, Todd Gilliland R
Row 17: Cody Ware, David Ragan
Row 18: Landon Cassill, BJ McLeod
Row 19: Noah Gragson