The efforts of Hendrick Motorsports paid big dividends as Mark Martin won the pole for the Daytona 500 and Dale Earnhardt Jr. was second. The pair will start on the front row for the Sunday’s race.
These are the first teammates to sweep the front row for the Daytona 500 since 2007, when David Gilliland and Ricky Rudd did it for Yates Racing.
Martin, who has never won the Daytona 500, qualified at 191.188 mph while Earnhardt’s speed was 190.913.
Maybe Earnhardt’s fortune has changed. It’s the first time in his career that he has been on the front row for a restrictor-plate race, where seven of his 18 career wins have come.
Only the front starting row is locked in for next Sunday’s Daytona 500. The rest of the field must race their way in or use provisionals from last year
Martin Truex Jr., winner of the 2009 Daytona 500 will be with a new team this season. He left Dale Earnhardt Inc. and moved to Michael Waltrip Racing. Truex had several good practice sessions this past week and looks like he can stay with the leaders in the Sunday race.
“It’s a new start for me,” said the driver of the No. 56 NAPA Toyota. “I have had a couple tough seasons in the last two years, so I’m looking forward to some change. There are a lot of things I have seen going on during the off season that shows me it’s going to be a great deal.
“All the testing has gone really well. We have a lot of good guys and a lot of ambition. The opportunity is here to succeed. We just have to do every thing we can to take advantage of opportunities as they come our way. It’s a great team and we’ve got a lot of great stuff.”