Now that Duels are complete, a look at the 65th annual Daytona 500 starting lineup

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla — Alex Bowman topped teammate Kyle Larson for the pole on Wednesday night at the World Center of Racing. They’ll share the front row for Sunday’s 65th annual Daytona 500 (2:30 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN). We also knew that Jimmie Johnson and Travis Pastrana would race via their qualifying speeds in being the top two open cars.

What we didn’t know is, where Johnson and Pastrana as well as 36 other drivers would slot into the lineup for this year’s Great American Race.

34 other drivers were locked by virtue of their charters as the final two spots came down to Zane Smith vs. Chandler Smith and Conor Daly vs. Austin Hill.

The thing is, while Bowman, Larson, Joey Logano and Aric Almirola have found success early on during this year’s Speedweek’s, recent trends say this will be all the glory that they’ll catch too.

For Bowman, the pole winner hasn’t won the race in 23 years. The last Top 5 at that even, came way back in 2001. In fact, 17 of the last 21 races have seen the pole winner finish outside of the top 10. The last five pole winners have failed to even get to 16th in the end with the best result since 2015 being 14th by Elliott in 2017.

The average finishing spot for the pole winner is now 16.83.

It’s not much better for Larson. The last win for the second-place starter came in 1993 (Dale Jarrett). They have only finished in the top 10 just four times since 2006. Just five time in the last 27 years has the second-place starter came home with a top five finish even.

This average finishing spot for the second place starter is 16.39.

Then you have Thursday night’s winners. The last driver to win a Duel and the Daytona 500 in the same year was Matt Kenseth in 2012. He’s the only one to do so in the last 18 years. It’s only happened five times since 1996 at that.

So whom does this favor?

9 of the last 11 years in the Daytona 500, has the winner come from the first 7 Rows of the official starting lineup. But, with the top 4 starters already eliminated, we can now eliminate 15th-40th among the ones that have won a Cup race before too and focus on starters 5th-14th.

The thing is, the Ford’s look to be the top manufacturer. A year after going 1-2-3-4 in Duel 1, 1-2-3 in Duel 2 and 1-2-4-5 in the Daytona 500, they put 5 cars in the top 6 of the finishing order on Thursday night in the opening Duel and 3 in the top 4 in Duel 2.

As a result of that, there are a lot of blue ovals starting up front.

All three Team Penske’s start in the first 4 Rows (3 in the top 7). Both RFK Racing and cars share Row 5. All three Front Row Motorsports entries are in the top 17.

Combined, that’s 8 of their cars in the top 9 rows at the start of Sunday’s race. You also have a pair of SHR teammates in there too with 10 Ford’s lining up in the top 17 starting spots.

Daytona 500 Starting Lineup

Row 1: Alex Bowman, Kyle Larson

Row 2: Joey Logano, Aric Almirola

Row 3: Christopher Bell, Austin Cindric

Row 4: Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott

Row 5: Chris Buescher, Brad Keselowski

Row 6: Michael McDowell, Corey LaJoie

Row 7: Kevin Harvick, Todd Gilliland

Row 8: Bubba Wallace, Martin Truex Jr.

Row 9: Zane Smith R, Denny Hamlin

Row 10: Harrison Burton, Ryan Preece

Row 11: William Byron, Noah Gragson

Row 12: Ross Chastain, Daniel Suarez

Row 13: Erik Jones, Tyler Reddick

Row 14: Austin Dillon, Justin Haley

Row 15: AJ Allmendinger, Chase Briscoe

Row 16: Ricky Stenhouse Jr., BJ McLeod

Row 17: Ty Gibbs R, Conor Daly R

Row 18: Cody Ware, Kyle Busch

Row 19: Ty Dillon, Riley Herbst R

Row 20: Jimmie Johnson, Travis Pastrana R

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