Dr. Diandra: Chase Elliott good in the Duels — which is bad for the Daytona 500 Thursday NASCAR schedule at Daytona Daytona 500 Duel qualifying starting lineups Alex Bowman wins Daytona 500 pole; Kyle Larson also on front row Daytona 500 win is Jimmie Johnson’s focus after making field

Chase Elliott seems to be doing everything right to win his first Daytona 500.

He has three super speedway victories to his credit: Talladega (twice) and a second race in 2022 at the converted Atlanta Motor Speedway.

his team, Hendrik Motorsport, has won eight Daytona 500s. If Elliott or one of his teammates wins on Sunday, HMS will tie Petty Enterprises for most Daytona 500 trophies.

In addition to these eight victories, the 132 drivers who competed in the Daytona 500 with a Hendrick Motorsports car have:

  • Seven second places
  • 29 Top 5 hits
  • 50 top 10 finishes
  • 30 starting places in the front row, 15 of them pole position

MORE: Trackhouse Racing signs Daniel Suarez for contract extension

Elliott’s manufacturer, Chevrolet, has the most Daytona 500 wins of any manufacturer, with 24.

But none of this resulted in a victory for Elliot or his teammates. Kyle Larson, Alex Bowman And William Byron.

It’s all in time

Digging into the timeline reveals the extent of Elliott’s problems. The table below shows Hendrick Motorsports wins in the Daytona 500.

HMS last won the Daytona 500 in 2014. The team has only won two of the last 16 Daytona 500s, and the drivers who take home those trophies no longer race for the team.

Chevrolet has only won one of the last eight Daytona 500 races – with Richard Childress Racing – and three of the last 12.

Current HMS riders have 19 Daytona 500 starts without a win. Elliot was closest to winning, finishing second in 2021. The next best score is– Placed by Elliott (2022) and Kyle Larson (2021).

Speed ​​is the forte of Hendrick Motorsports

The top two finishers in the single car qualifying secure first and second starting places for the Daytona 500. They also start from pole in their respective duels.

Hendrick Motorsports has 16 duel wins, 14 second places, 10 third places and 11 fourth places. Unlike victories, this statistic has been retained by the current generation of riders.

  • Bowman makes his sixth front row start in duels (and thus the Daytona 500).
  • Bowman has six duel poles in just eight races, giving him a 75% pole position. The second person on the frequency list, Byron, has a pole frequency of 33.3%.
  • Elliott has the highest duel winning percentage of any active driver at 28.8%. He is fourth on the all-time list, which is topped by Dale Earnhardt with an amazing win rate of 52.2%.
  • An average finishing position of 5.6 in duels puts Elliott in fifth place of all time. Dale Earnhardt Jr. ranks first with an average score of 4.5.

This superiority in speed should be positive, right?

It was. But no more.

Speed ​​no longer beats the Daytona 500

The table below shows one aspect of how the fundamental nature of Daytona 500 racing has changed over time. Being ahead of the field can be an honor, but it’s not an advantage when it comes to winning.

A table showing that over the past 20 years, starting the Daytona 500 from the front is NOT an advantage.

  • The last driver to win the Daytona 500 from pole was Dale Jarrett in 2000.
  • Dale Jarrett is also the last driver to win from the second starting position (in 1993).
  • The last driver to win from third starting position was in 2004: Dale Earnhardt Jr.

HMS drivers have started the Daytona 500 from the front row for the last nine races in a row. They have not won any of the previous eight races.

Chevrolet won the last nine poles of the Daytona 500, but only won one of the last eight races, and the pole winner was not the winner.

MORE: Alex Bowman signs contract extension with Hendrick Motorsports

Toyota has never won pole but has three Daytona 500 wins.

The only conclusion that can be drawn is that a car capable of winning a Daytona 500 pole and/or a duel is less likely to be competitive in the Daytona 500.

Winning teams focus on the race rather than qualifying or pole. Two of the last six winners have won after starting from behind, due to the use of a reserve car or lack of checks.

What worked for Hendrick Motorsports in past Daytona 500s doesn’t work now. It may be too late for Elliott to change his approach to this race. Maybe next year. Remember that the great Dale Earnhardt didn’t win until his 20th try.

Much of Sunday’s Daytona 500 course will be determined Thursday night in a pair of 150-mile qualifying races at Daytona International Speedway.

Cup riders opened the week of the Daytona 500 on Wednesday night with one-car qualifying. The line-up for most of the 500 grid will be determined by the finishing positions in the races on Thursday evening. The first race is scheduled for 7:00 pm ET (FS1). The second race will follow a few minutes after the end of the first.

MORE: Trackhouse Racing signs Daniel Suarez for contract extension

MORE: Alex Bowman signs new deal with Hendrick Motorsports

Also on Thursdays, DIS hosts a 50-minute Craftsman Truck Series driver training session. The opening of the truck season is scheduled for Friday evening.

Daytona International Speedway (Cup, Xfinity and Truck)

Weekend weather

Thursday: Sunlight and clouds mixed. High 80. Low 63. Wind 5-10 mph, 10% chance of rain Thursday night.

Thursday, February 16

(All time Eastern)

Garage open

  • 9:00 – 18:00 – ARKA
  • 10:00 – 19:30 – Craftsman truck series
  • 16:00 – 23:00 – Series Cup

Activity Tracking

  • 16:05 – 16:55 – ARCA training
  • 17:05 – 17:55 – Practice Craftsman Truck Series
  • 19:00 – Cup Series 1 qualifying race (60 laps, 150 miles; FS1, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
  • 8:45 pm (approx) – Cup Series 2 Qualifier (60 laps, 150 miles; FS1, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

DAYTONA BEACH, Florida. Four riders will race for starting positions at Sunday’s Daytona 500 in a pair of 150 mile qualifying races on Thursday night.

Chandler Smith, Zane Smith, Austin Hill And Conor Daly – All driving non-charter teams – Failed to clear the 500th grid at qualifying speed during Wednesday night’s time trial.

Jimmie Johnson and Travis Pastrana, the other non-charter drivers on the roster, covered the 500 miles at speed on Wednesday night.

MORE: Jimmie Johnson focused on 500 wins after qualifying

Alex Bowman took pole in Wednesday’s session and Kyle Larson, his teammate Hendrick Motorsports, starts second. They fixed on these starting positions on Wednesday evening.

The first Qualifying Duel race on Thursday is due to start at 7:00 pm ET (FS1). The second race will follow a few minutes after the end of the first race.

Qualifying race 1, starting line-up

Qualifying Race 2 starting lineup

DAYTONA BEACH, Florida – Hendrik…


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