Larson, Bowman qualify on the front row for Sunday’s DAYTONA 500

DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA — NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Larson leads a Chevy dominated qualifying session capturing the Pole Position for the 2022 Daytona 500 on Sunday. Larson topped the leaderboard with a lap of 181.159 mph in the №5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro Wednesday night at Daytona International Speedway. For a record fifth consecutive year, Larson’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate Alex Bowman also earned a front-row starting position in the Daytona 500 driving the №48 Chevrolet to P2 at 181.046 MPH.

Defending champion Kyle Larson earns Busch Light Pole for 2022 Daytona 500 (Image: nascar.com)

All four Hendrick Motorsports cars advanced to the top-10 final round with Larson P1, Bowman P2, №24 Willaim Byron P3 and №9 Chase Elliott P4 after dominating the first round of qualifying runs. The clean sweep for Hendrick was upended in the final round when №10 Aric Almirola drove his Stewart Hass Ford Mustang to P3 with Elliott in his Chevy Camaro ending the qualifying session P5. Overall Team Chevy put 6 cars in the top ten, with 2 Fords and 2 Toyotas.

Daytona 500 qualifying top 10 (Image: GFT Digital / gofullthrottle.net)

Only the front row was set Wednesday night. The remaining Daytona 500 starting positions will be finalized in Thursday’s Bluegreen Vacations Duel 150 qualifying races.

Earning one of two ‘Open’ positions available in pole qualifying was the 1997 Formula One world champion and 1995 Indianapolis 500 winner Jacques Villeneuve with the 36th fastest speed in the №27 Team Hezeberg Ford. The 2nd ‘Open’ position went to Noah Gragson, a full-time NASCAR Xfinity Series championship contender with Junior Motorsports (JRM) with a 33rd best qualifying lap in the №62 Beard Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro at 177.553 MPH.

Gragson securing a starting position is an especially emotional story line for this year's Daytona 500. Team owner Linda Beard is fielding the family-owned team in honor of her late husband Mark. “It’s really emotional being able to make the race after not making it last year,” Gragson said, adding, “Last year not making the race, makes this year that much more special. … I really hope to make the Beard family proud this weekend.”

Jamie Little Fox Sports NASCAR reporter with Noah Gragson after Daytona 500 qualifying (Image: nascar.com)

“People that don’t race have no idea how much this means... when you are a team like us, we love it,” Linda Beard said. “To do this means so much to us, not only emotionally but just the thrill of it.”

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Up next the Bluegreen Vacations Duel 150 qualifying races with reports here on our medium blog and full coverage at https://gofullthrottle.net/

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Bob Francis - Go Full Throttle

Go Full Throttle editors and reporters bring you news & commentary on NASCAR, F1, IndyCar, and World of Outlaws. Member: National Motorsports Press Association