(DAYTONA, Florida) — Dale Earnhardt, Junior grabbed his 10th career pole on Sunday for NASCAR's biggest race of the year. Junior put up a fast last of 186.089 mph in Daytona 500 qualifying, nipping his teammate Jeff Gordon, who timed in at 185.966 mph.
Qualifying for the season opening race is different then that of other races. Sunday session sets the front row for the 500 only. The rest of the drivers will start based on how they finish in Thursday's Gatorade 150s.
The top 35 in last seasons points are locked in to the race, along with the cars with the top three speeds from qualifying, not in the top 35, and one past champion. That means Bill Elliott, Joe Nemecheck, Travis Kvapil and Terry Labonte know they are locked into the race. Eight other drivers will have to race their way in, via the twin 150s. The top two finishers from each race will get the final spots.