Daytona 500 2014: Official Starting Lineup Announced for Classic Race

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Daytona 500 2014: Official Starting Lineup Announced for Classic Race
Chuck Burton/Associated Press

The running order for the 2014 Daytona 500 was unveiled late Thursday night.

The top of the lineup had already been decided before the final announcement. Austin Dillon won the pole, while Martin Truex earned the right to start in the front row, per Daytona International Speedway:

Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin won the Budweiser Duels on Thursday to get third and fourth, respectively, in the starting grid, per NASCAR:

Here's the full lineup, courtesy of NASCAR.com.

Daytona 500 Lineup
Pos. Car No. Driver
1 3 Austin Dillon
2 78 Martin Truex Jr.
3 20 Matt Kenseth
4 11 Denny Hamlin
5 5 Kasey Kahne
6 24 Jeff Gordon
7 9 Marcos Ambrose
8 41 Kurt Busch
9 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.
10 27 Paul Menard
11 98 Josh Wise
12 33 Brian Scott
13 43 Alec Almirola
14 21 Trevor Bayne
15 47 AJ Allmendinger
16 42 Kyle Larson
17 38 David Gilliland
18 40 Landon Cassill
19 31 Ryan Newman
20 15 Clint Bowyer
21 14 Tony Stewart
22 1 Jamie McMurray
23 26 Cole Whitt
24 32 Terry Labonte
25 16 Greg Biffle
26 52 Bobby Labonte
27 10 Danica Patrick
28 13 Casey Mears
29 23 Alex Bowman
30 99 Carl Edwards
31 55 Brian Vickers
32 48 Jimmie Johnson
33 2 Brad Keselowski
34 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
35 22 Joey Logano
36 7 Michael Annett
37 18 Kyle Busch
38 4 Kevin Harvick
39 36 Reed Sorensen
40 51 Justin Allgaier
41 30 Parker Kligerman
42 66 Michael Waltrip
43 34 David Ragan

NASCAR.com

The notable aspect of Dillon starting out on the pole is that he's doing so with the No. 3 car, made famous by the late Dale Earnhardt. It's the first time it will be on a NASCAR track since Earnhardt's crash here at Daytona in 2001, per USA Today's Jeff Gluck:

The 23-year-old said that the fan reaction has mostly been positive to the switch, per FoxSports.com's Tom Jensen:

To see the fans light up at every autograph session excited, (asking) if we're going to bring it back, asking those questions ... I might hear a jeer as I'm walking away or driving away, but at autograph sessions, I've never had anybody not positive about it. If I was getting beat up every time I went to an autograph session because we were thinking about it, then it would change my mindset.

But they were so excited about, 'Man, we want to see it back, we're in support of it.' And they'd tap your (autograph) card while you're signing it and that's what you remember at autograph sessions.

Seeing the No. 3 car on a NASCAR track again is long overdue.

That's where the positivity ends, though, for Dillon, because starting on the pole is often more of a hindrance than it is a help. Dale Jarrett was the last driver to win the Daytona 500 from the pole position, and that was all the way back in 2000.

The size of the track and length of the race means that you can easily go from the back to the front in the space of a few laps. If anything, it's much better to start a little further back, so you can draft and plot your race strategy without worrying about holding the lead.

Somebody like Jimmie Johnson, starting in 32nd, is in a great spot. It will be interesting to see how quickly he rises up the race leaderboard and when he chooses to make his big move.

The Daytona 500 is the biggest race of the year, so while it doesn't impact the standings more than any other race, a win can make a driver's season. When debating the best drivers of all time, the number of Daytona 500 wins is often a talking point.

Only time will tell if Dillon can make it a storybook ending and take home the win in the No. 3, or if Johnson or someone else back in the pack will come on strong and make the trip to victory lane.

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