2021 Daytona 500 Qualifying Results: Alex Bowman Wins Pole for Season Opener

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorFebruary 11, 2021

Driver Alex Bowman (48) kicks up sparks as he runs during a NASCAR Daytona 500 qualifying session Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021, at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. Bowman took the pole position for Sunday running of the race. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

Alex Bowman won the Daytona 500 pole for the second time in four years after finishing with a lap time of 47.056 seconds during the single-car qualifying time trial at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida on Wednesday.


W O W @Alex_Bowman tops @WilliamByron and puts the 4️⃣8️⃣ car on the provisional #BuschPole at @DAYTONA! (📺: FS1) https://t.co/SXtUypdhae

William Byron, Bowman's Hendrick Motorsports teammate, will join him on the front row after finishing second with a time of 47.314 seconds.


What a lap from @WilliamByron! The @TeamHendrick driver rockets to P1 at @DAYTONA! #BuschPole https://t.co/u2AqT06Qhu

Bowman's performance, which hit a top speed of 191.261 mph, marks the fourth straight time he will be on the front row for the 500. He and Byron (190.219 mph) formed the front row for the 2019 Daytona 500, with Byron earning the pole that year.

Aric Almirola, Bubba Wallace and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. rounded out the top five. Kevin Harvick, Christopher Bell, Ryan Preece, Austin Dillon and Daniel Suarez finished sixth through 10th.

The Bluegreen Vacations Duels, a pair of 60-lap, 150-mile races Thursday night, will determine the remainder of the starting grid as well as the final two qualifiers in the 40-car field.

Duel 1 will determine the participants on the inside row of the track by the order of finish. Duel 2 will determine the participants of the outside row of the track.

The 40-car field is reserved for the 36 chartered team spots plus four open spots for non-chartered teams, determined by finishes during single-car qualifying and duels.

Ryan Preece and David Ragan will assume two of those final four spots after finishing tops among the eight non-chartered teams Wednesday. Bob Pockrass of Fox Sports explained the process for how the remainder of the open drivers can qualify.

Bob Pockrass @bobpockrass

Preece and Ragan are locked into the Daytona 500. Cindric gets into D500 if tops in duel or Preece or Ragan tops in duel. Grala gets in if top in duel or Preece/Cindric and Ragan are tops in their duel. TDillon Smithley Hill Gragson must be tops in their duel to get in.

Although Bowman and Byron will start at the head of the field, it doesn't guarantee a winner's circle position. The pole winner hasn't taken home the Daytona 500 since Dale Jarrett in 2000. Jeff Gordon did the same the year before.

Overall, pole winners have won the Daytona 500 nine times since the race's inception since 1959. Seven drivers who started No. 2 have won the race, with Jarrett being the last one in 1993.

Still, Bowman and Byron can buck the trend. Bowman finished a career-high sixth in the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series standings. Byron won the summer Daytona race last year when he took home the Coke Zero Sugar 400.

This year's Daytona 500 will take place Sunday at 2:30 p.m. ET. Fox will be the television home for the event.