Dillon Wins Daytona 500 Pole
By: MRN Staff on February 16, 2014 | 3:28 P.M. EST
Dillon's first career pole marked the fourth time a No. 3 car has taken the top spot for the Daytona 500. (Photo: Getty Images)
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Austin Dillon returned the No. 3 to the top of the scoreboard, earning the pole Sunday for next week’s Daytona 500.
In a way it wasn’t a surprise. Dillon was fast in testing last month and was just as fast this week.
The 23-year-old grandson of car owner Richard Childress won the pole with a lap of 196.019 mph. Martin Truex Jr., in his first race for Furniture Row Racing, starts second.
"This is awesome," Dillon said. "It is all for our guys, and this guy right here Danny Lawrence, (head engine builder at ECR), it is his birthday. So we got him a one-two start at Daytona! That is pretty awesome."
Dillon became the fourth driver to put a No. 3 car on the Daytona 500 pole following Dale Earnhardt (1996), Ricky Rudd (1983) and Buddy Baker (1969).
"It's a tremendous amount of motivation for us and momentum for us," said Gil Martin, Dillon's crew chief. "I mean, because every day you drive onto our complex, you see Richard's '3' and you see the heritage of that 3 there, so to be able to be a part of this, it's a dream come true for me, and I know it is for everybody in our whole team and our whole organization because I've watched Austin come from being a little guy to where he's at today, and it's been an amazing journey to watch. And to be a part of it now, I'm looking forward to it. I think it's going to be a great run."
Only the top two starting spots are guaranteed. Eleven drivers are guaranteed spots in the Daytona 500.
The four fastest drivers outside the front two will be in the Daytona 500 - Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards, Ryan Newman and Brad Keselowski. Six provisional spots at the least have been earned by Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon and Clint Bowyer. Tony Stewart would be guaranteed a starting spot via a champion’s provisional at the least.
That will likely change with the Duel on Thursday. That race will determine the starting lineup for the Daytona 500.