For the first time since October 2012, Greg Biffle will lead the field to the green flag in a Sprint Cup race.
Biffle, who is the oldest full time Cup driver active at 46, was the fastest in both round one and round two of qualifying on Friday at Daytona. Biffle’s lap at 192.955 mph earned him his 13th career pole and his second at Daytona, after being the pole sitter for the 2004 Daytona 500. The Vancouver, WA native has not won since 2013 and has not won a restrictor plate race since his first career victory at Daytona in 2003.
Starting next to Biffle will be former teammate Carl Edwards. Edwards has had some consistent runs but has never won a restrictor plate race. After the sheer domination Toyota had at Daytona in February (158 laps were lead by Toyota drivers out of 200 total), Edwards should have the best chance in his career at rectifying that come Saturday night.
Defending Cup champion Kyle Busch came back from a hard crash in the final ten minutes of practice Friday morning to qualifying third in a back-up car later in the same day. Busch will not go to the back on the start because he went to a back-up before qualifying, not after.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will have his best career starting spot at Daytona in fourth. It will be decided tonight as to if his Roush Fenway Racing teammate Biffle will start on the outside with Stenhouse pushing him or on the inside.
Brad Keselowski, who won the last restrictor plate race a couple of months ago at Talladega, will start fifth. With two wins, Keselowski is all but guaranteed a spot on the Chase grid, and he’ll be able to take plenty of chances during this week’s race.
Austin Dillon qualified sixth for the race that marks the one race anniversary of his terrifying crash into the frontstretch catchfence. Matt Kenseth starts seventh in his first start at Daytona since almost winning the Daytona 500, while fellow Cup champion Jimmie Johnson will start eighth. Denny Hamlin, who won the Daytona 500 in a photo finish aganist Martin Truex Jr. earlier this season, will start ninth while Kurt Busch will start tenth.
There were no incidents during qualifying, which is ran differently at Daytona and Talladega in that the cars are let out one at a time at timed intervals for one lap.
Josh Wise was the lone driver who did not qualify.
Full lineup can be found here.
About the author
Michael has watched NASCAR for 15 years and began covering the sport five years ago. He is a graduate of Salisbury University and a proud member of the National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA).
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