David Gilliland claimed his third-career pole on Friday, turning in a 45.153-second/199.322 mph lap at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway during qualifying for the Coke Zero 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race to be held Saturday night at the track. It’s his second pole at Daytona.
“You know, the win last year at Talladega was big for (Front Row Motorsports teammate) David Ragan, and I feel like this is our strong suit for our team,” Gilliland said. “Out there qualifying, we knew that anything could happen and Frank Kerr, my crew chief, has worked really hard on this car and it has a lot of speed. We are really looking forward to tomorrow.”
Because of rain, the qualifying session was abbreviated to a single round, instead of the planned three.
Gilliland will be joined on the front row by Reed Sorenson. Landon Cassill and Bobby Labonte will share row two. Jimmie Johnson rounded out the top-five in qualifying.
Three of the four Hendrick Motorsports entries qualified in the top-10. Joining Johnson was Dale Earnhardt Jr. in seventh and Jeff Gordon in ninth. The other HMS driver, Kasey Kahne, qualified 14th.
Matt Kenseth led the way for Toyota, qualifying sixth. He was the only Toyota driver to qualify in the top-10. The next fastest Toyota driver was Cole Whitt, who qualified 17th.
David Ragan qualified eighth, and Greg Biffle rounded out the top-10.
Forty-four drivers made qualifying attempts for the 43 available spots on the starting grid for Saturday night’s race. The one driver on the outside looking in after qualifying was Joe Nemechek. Nemechek attempted to qualify a No. 29 entry for RAB Racing. The team, which competes regularly in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, was hoping to make its first Sprint Cup start of the season.