Daytona 500 2014: Analyzing Qualifying Results for the Great American Race

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Daytona 500 2014: Analyzing Qualifying Results for the Great American Race
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

It's been a long time since the No. 3 car graced the Daytona 500 stage. This time, it will be at the front of the pack.

Austin Dillon of Richard Childress Racing caused a stir late last year after it was revealed that he would be bringing the No. 3 car back to the NASCAR Sprint Cup stage. Now the 23-year-old rookie has the Daytona 500 pole award in his first race in the famed black ride.

NASCAR on Fox provided a look at Dillon crossing the finish line after taking the pole:

Dillon knows the importance of the car and told Krista Voda of Fox that it meant a lot for fans of Dale Earnhardt, according to NASCAR on Fox:

While Dillon was the big story on Sunday, teammate Martin Truex Jr. clinched not only a spot in the field but also a place right alongside Dillon on the front row as the No. 2 qualifier.

With both earning their right to race in the Daytona 500, here is a look at the full table of results and a breakdown of what Sunday's final leaderboard means for the race.

Daytona 500 Qualifying Results
Position Car Driver Team Time Speed
1) 3 Austin Dillon DOW Chevrolet 45.914 196.019
2) 78 Martin Truex Jr. Furniture Row Chevrolet 45.953 195.852
3) 16 Greg Biffle 3M Ford 45.961 195.818
4) 99 Carl Edwards Fastenal Ford 45.986 195.712
5) 31 Ryan Newman Caterpillar Chevrolet 45.987 195.707
6) 2 Brad Keselowski Miller Lite Ford 46.084 195.296
7) 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. National Guard Chevrolet 46.104 195.211
8) 24 Jeff Gordon Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet 46.144 195.042
9) 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Nationwide Insurance Ford 46.153 195.004
10) 27 Paul Menard Peak/Menards Chevrolet 46.173 194.919
11) 9 Marcos Ambrose Stanley Ford 46.179 194.894
12) 33 Brian Scott Whitetail Chevrolet 46.207 194.776
13) 43 Aric Almirola Smithfield Ford 46.235 194.658
14) 48 Jimmie Johnson Lowe's Chevrolet 46.24 194.637
15) 22 Joey Logano Shell Pennzoil Ford 46.253 194.582
16) 13 Casey Mears GEICO Chevrolet 46.253 194.582
17) 20 Matt Kenseth Dollar General Toyota 46.255 194.574
18) 7 Michael Annett Pilot/Flying J Travel Centers Chevrolet 46.255 194.574
19) 5 Kasey Kahne Farmers Insurance Chevrolet 46.262 194.544
20) 15 Clint Bowyer 5-hour Energy Toyota 46.267 194.523
21) 18 Kyle Busch M&M's Toyota 46.272 194.502
22) 11 Denny Hamlin FedEx Express Toyota 46.278 194.477
23) 4 Kevin Harvick Budweiser Chevrolet 46.291 194.422
24) 42 Kyle Larson Target Chevrolet 46.294 194.41
25) 10 Danica Patrick GoDaddy Chevrolet 46.301 194.38
26) 21 Trevor Bayne Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford 46.312 194.334
27) 47 AJ Allmendinger Kroger/USO Chevrolet 46.366 194.108
28) 41 Kurt Busch Haas Automation Chevrolet 46.373 194.078
29) 36 Reed Sorenson Golden Corral Chevrolet 46.376 194.066
30) 51 Justin Allgaier Brandt Professional Agriculture Chevrolet 46.436 193.815
31) 38 David Gilliland Love's Travel Stops Ford 46.455 193.736
32) 40 Landon Cassill Hillman Racing Chevrolet 46.456 193.732
33) 30 Parker Kligerman Swan Energy Toyota 46.489 193.594
34) 66 Michael Waltrip BlueDEF/AAA Toyota 46.529 193.428
35) 14 Tony Stewart Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet 46.544 193.365
36) 35 Eric McClure Hefty Ultimate/Reynolds Wrap Ford 46.655 192.905
37) 55 Brian Vickers Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota 46.681 192.798
38) 1 Jamie McMurray McDonald's Chevrolet 46.706 192.695
39) 26 Cole Whitt Speed Stick Gear Toyota 46.744 192.538
40) 34 David Ragan CSX - Play It Safe Ford 46.795 192.328
41) 95 Michael McDowell K-Love Ford 46.804 192.291
42) 32 Terry Labonte C&J Energy Services Ford 46.842 192.135
43) 98 Josh Wise Curb Records Ford 46.86 192.061
44) 52 Bobby Labonte Phoenix Construction Chevrolet 46.999 191.493
45) 87 Joe Nemechek 300 Rise of an Empire Toyota 47.249 190.48
46) 83 Ryan Truex Borla Exhaust Toyota 47.282 190.347
47) 23 Alex Bowman Dr.Pepper Toyota 47.447 189.685
48) 93 Morgan Shepherd Toyota 47.483 189.542
49) 77 Dave Blaney Plinker Arms Ford N/A N/A

Breakdown of Daytona 500 Qualifying

It was believed for a long time that after Dale Earnhardt passed away on the final lap of the 2001 Daytona 500, the No. 3 car would never appear in another NASCAR Sprint Cup race.

While Dillon, the grandson of car owner Richard Childress, may be just a rookie, he is already proving why he was given the honor of driving the famous car.

NASCAR fan and former Atlanta Braves third baseman Chipper Jones congratulated the young driver on Twitter:

A rookie winning the pole certainly isn't a normal occurrence, but young drivers have had a lot of success at the race in recent memory. Danica Patrick won the pole last season, and Trevor Bayne won his first Sprint Cup race in the 2011 Daytona 500.

Dillon's success on the track was due in large part, he said, to chief engine builder Danny Lawrence, who was celebrating a birthday on Sunday.

The 23-year-old spoke about Lawrence and the engine he was given during qualifying, according to Reid Spencer of

We got him a 1-2 start at Daytona, so this is pretty awesome. You just try and stay focused, because everyone wants to see this number perform well. That's what my goals are -- to stay focused.

His grandfather also added his own thoughts, according to Reid, saying, "We wanted to put on a good show with the 3, and I couldn't be prouder of everybody. (The pressure) is always on when you've got grandsons racing."

Another one of those famed Childress engines also helped Truex Jr. qualify for the field with the second-fastest time around the track.

Though he didn't claim the top spot in the Great American Race, Truex Jr. says he's happy with the finish and having a guaranteed spot, according to NASCAR on Fox:

As many fans of NASCAR already knew coming in, the Daytona 500 qualifying event only guarantees two spots in the field for those involved. For every other driver involved, claiming one of the top-15 spots in the Budweiser Duels will solidify a place in the field for the 500.

Tom Jensen of Fox Sports gave fans a look at the two fields for the Duels following qualifying:

Both fields are particularly interesting thanks to the depth in NASCAR, making both races intriguing for fans of some of the most popular drivers.

With Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth, Kevin Harvick and Tony Stewart in the first race, they will all be competing with pole-sitter Dillon to claim the top spot.

As for the second race, Carl Edwards, Jeff Gordon, Brad Keselowski and last year's winner Jimmie Johnson will start in the top 10 looking to earn placement in the field.

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Over the past five seasons, Busch has won one of the Duels twice, including last season when he and Harvick took the wins. With both having success in recent memory, fans can expect a good showing from them.

Does Austin Dillon have a shot at winning the Daytona 500?

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But with the Childress engines being the story thus far, it would be ironic to see Harvick win another Duel in his first try with Stewart Haas Racing.

Gordon has the most wins in the Duels among current drivers and could once again find himself in Victory Lane at Daytona on Thursday night. Outside of Gordon, Stewart and Earnhardt Jr. sit at second in Duel wins with three, making them other favorites to claim the win in one of the two races.

With Dillon and Truex Jr. finishing at the top of the field, every other driver qualifying will get a second chance to make the race during the Budweiser Duels on Thursday night.

While fans might not be sold on the idea of the No. 3 car on the track in Sprint Cup, it returns to its rightful place at the top of the field.

Now it's up to Dillon to keep it there.

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