Bowman - Pole And Hamlin - Second - Top Qualifiers For Daytona 500

Bowman - Pole And Hamlin - Second - Top Qualifiers For Daytona 500

The 75-lap Advance Auto Parts Clash (run in segments of 50 and 25 laps) is always a Speedweeks classic, a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series non-points battle with a field featuring 2017 pole winners, former Clash champions, former DAYTONA 500 pole winners who competed full-time in 2017 and drivers who qualified for the 2017 Monster Energy Series Playoffs.

Replacing the newly-retired Dale Earnhardt Jr., the 24-year old Arizona native put the Nationwide Chevrolet in the first position for next Sunday's "Great American Race" to give Hendrick Motorsports its fourth consecutive Daytona 500 pole.

"I'm living the dream", said Bowman, driving the No. 88 this season after the retirement of Earnhardt Jr., NASCAR's most popular driver for 15 years in a row. "We're going to hope that our vehicle handles really good and we can out drive them in race trim".

Bowman had a couple of rough years at the start of his Cup career.

Bowman, who will make his 82nd Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start next Sunday (2:30 p.m. ET, Fox) in the 500, has been tagged with the "Bowman the Showman" nickname, one he doesn't particularly like. Jeff Gordon was the pole-sitter in 2015 before Chase Elliott went back-to-back in 2016 and 2017.

Hendrick Motorsports, which has won the 500 pole for four straight years, put all four of its drivers into the second and final round of qualifying.

"I don't really watch a lot of racing when I'm still racing", Patrick said. "He's got a tremendous amount of talent".

With NASCAR removing the ride-height rules at restrictor plate tracks, the cars should be less stable than in the past. Fans can stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and Snapchat, and by downloading Daytona International Speedway's mobile app, for the latest Speedway news throughout the season.

"A couple of days ago I was thinking to myself that we should have run the backup vehicle in the Clash", said Patrick, who had made four consecutive starts in The Clash with a best finish of fourth past year. Bowman drove the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet to the pole of the 2018 Daytona 500 on Sunday. "We're excited to be here and get another one".

Hamlin would finish second to Alex Bowman in both rounds of knockout qualifying. "I did everything I could do, but it really comes down to the crew and all the guys back at the shop". "Everybody works so hard at these speedway cars, especially the 500".

With no practice prior to the Duels the drivers will have to settle for their current set-up for Thursday's races. In the first practice, Kyle Busch led all four Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas to a sweep of the speed chart.

Only the front row for next week's Daytona 500 will be set Sunday through Daytona's unique qualifying format.

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