Since the announcement was made last December, everybody has been talking about the return of the No. 3 to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Through Preseason Testing, rookie Austin Dillon was quick, putting the car near the top of the speed charts. He also led practice yesterday.
The pieces all came together today as Austin Dillon put the No. 3 Dow Chevrolet on the pole for the Daytona 500 with a speed of 196.019 mph.
“I feel like this is all for the guys at RCR,” Dillon commented. “They brought the house down here. Our engine has been really good since we have been here. Newman had a good run. It would have been really cool to get one-two. Hopefully we can finish off this effort right here. Just proud of my guys. Thanks to Dow, Cheerios, everybody who has supported this program since we started. It’s been fun so far, we just have to keep it going. I just had to hit my shifts then I knew I could hold the wheel straight for two laps.”
Earnhardt-Childress Racing Engines would sweep the front row for the Great American Race as Martin Truex Jr. put his No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet second. This race marks his first start at FRR after making the move over from Michael Waltrip Racing.
“Yeah front row that is what we are here for today,” he commented. “Obviously can’t say enough about this team. What a great job I think we have got about seven miles on this car. One run yesterday, no testing down here, just an amazing job by Todd (Berrier, crew chief) and Cole (team engineer) and everybody on the team. Obviously pretty lucky guy to get to hold the wheel. ECR engines front row, we are lucky to have them under the hood and just have to thank everyone for the hard work. Really excited about the rest of Speedweeks.”
Greg Biffle was the fastest Ford in third, followed by his teammate Carl Edwards. Ryan Newman qualified fifth to put two RCR cars in the top five.
Brad Keselowski was sixth, followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Paul Menard.
2013 Daytona 500 winner Jimmie Johnson qualified 14th while last year’s pole sitter Danica Patrick qualified 25th. Patrick, along with Tony Stewart and Bobby Labonte, will have to start at the back of both the Budweiser Duel and the Daytona 500 due to changing their Hendrick engines yesterday. Hendrick Motorsports believes that they have the issues that they were experiencing sorted out.
The next stage in qualifying is the Budweiser Duels, which will take place on Thursday at 7pm EST.