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36 of the 42 cars entered in the Daytona 500 have guaranteed spots

February 9, 2019


Photo Credit: Mike Gentry / UPI

Pole qualifying for this year’s Daytona 500 begins on Feb. 10, 2019.  The top two qualifiers will start in the front row.  Spots ## 3-40 will be determined on Feb. 14 in two pre-qualifying races.

This will be the 61st running of the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway at Daytona Beach, Florida.  The race consists of 200 laps over a 2.5 mile asphalt super speedway.  Forty-two cars will participate in the event on Feb. 17, 2019. Under NASCAR’s charter system, 36 cars have guaranteed spots.  Six cars will attempt to qualify for the remaining four spots.

The Daytona 500 is known as “The Great American Race” and the “Super Bowl of Stock Racing.”  The winner of the race is presented with the Harley J. Earl Trophy.

The defending winner is Austin Dillon, 28, who drives a Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing.  Second place went to rookie Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr., 25, driving a Richard Petty Motorsports Chevrolet, and third place was Denny Hamlin, 38, who drove a Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.

Aric Almirola, 34, was leading last year’s race in a Stewart-Haas Racing Ford on the last lap until Dillon’s car struck the right-rear corner of Almirola’s car and caused it to crash into the wall.  Almirola ended up finishing 11th.

The pole position was won last year by Alex Bowman, 25, in a Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.  The other car on the front row was driven by Hamlin.

Other drivers to win the Daytona 500 in recent years are Kurt Busch (2017 in a Stewart-Haas Racing Ford), Denny Hamlin (2016 in a Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota), Joey Logano (2015 in a Team Penske Ford), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2014 in a Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet), Jimmie Johnson (2013 in a Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet), Matt Kenseth (2012 in a Rousch Fenway Racing Ford), Trevor Bayne (2011 in a Wood Brothers Racing Ford), Jamie McMurray (2010 in a Earnhardt Ganassi Racing Chevrolet) and Kenseth (2009 in a Rousch Fenway Racing Ford).

Former winners Busch, Hamlin, Logano, Johnson and McMurray all have guaranteed spots in this years’ race.

Multiple winners of the Daytona 500 are Richard Petty (seven times), Cale Yarborough (four times), Bobby Allison, Dale Jarrett and Jeff Gordon (each three times), and Bill Elliott, Sterling Martin, Michael Waltrip, Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (each two times).

Dale Earnhardt, 49, one of the greatest NASCAR drivers of all time, was killed in the 2001 Daytona 500.  Two drivers have died during practice for the Daytona 500.  They are Neil Bonnett, 47 (1994) and Rodney Orr, 31 (1994),

The drivers competing for the last four spots in this years’ Daytona 500 are Casey Mears, Tyler Reddick, Parker Kligerman, Brendan Gaughan, Joey Gase and Ryan Truex.

UDATE AFTER THE RACE: The 2019 Daytona 500 was won by Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing, who started from Position No. 6.  Hamlin won for the second time in four years. The pole positions went to Kyle Busch of Job Gibbs Racing and Alex Bowman of Hendrick Motorsports.  There were five car crashes in the last 20 laps including one of which involved 21 cars.  The 21-car crash caused 10 cars to be knocked out of the race.  Only 19 of the 40 cars were running at the end of the race.  There were 15 lead changes among nine different drivers. The race lasted 3 hours, 45 minutes and 55 seconds.  The average speed for the winning car was 137.4 miles per hour.  In addition to Hamlin, the top five finishers were (2) Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing, (3) Erik Jones of Joe Gibbs Racing, (4) Joey Logano of Team Penske and (5) Michael McDowell of Front Row Motorsports. It was a 1-2-3 sweep for Joe Gibbs Racing.


Photo Credit: Getty Images