Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth gave Joe Gibbs Racing a front-row sweep for the NASCAR Sprint Cup’s return to Daytona.
Toyota proved to have the upper hand in qualifying trim, with Busch’s 46.458-second lap, at an average of 193.723mph, putting him 0.102sec clear of teammate Kenseth, winner at Kentucky last weekend. Fellow Toyota squad Michael Waltrip Racing claimed third with Clint Bowyer. Team owner Waltrip qualified seventh for his return to the driving seat.
Hendrick Chevrolet’s Kasey Kahne managed to prevent an all-Toyota top four by pushing early provisional polesitter Martin Truex Jr. back to fifth, alongside Paul Menard.
Championship leader Jimmie Johnson, winner at Daytona in February’s 500, was second best of the Hendrick stable in eighth. Roush Fenway duo Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Greg Biffle completed the top 10 in the fastest of the Fords.
It was an underwhelming qualifying session for Daytona 500 polesitter Danica Patrick. She only managed 11th, although that still made her Stewart-Haas’ top contender.
Johnson’s closest points rival Carl Edwards starts 12th for Saturday night’s 400-mile race, with reigning champion Brad Keselowski 15th.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Toyota 46.458s 2. Matt Kenseth Joe Gibbs Toyota 46.560s +0.102s 3. Clint Bowyer Waltrip Toyota 46.594s +0.136s 4. Kasey Kahne Hendrick Chevrolet 46.595s +0.137s 5. Martin Truex Jr Waltrip Toyota 46.601s +0.143s 6. Paul Menard Childress Chevrolet 46.614s +0.156s 7. Michael Waltrip Waltrip Toyota 46.618s +0.160s 8. Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Chevrolet 46.630s +0.172s 9. Ricky Stenhouse Jr Roush Fenway Ford 46.636s +0.178s10. Greg Biffle Roush Fenway Ford 46.645s +0.187s11. Danica Patrick Stewart-Haas Chevrolet 46.649s +0.191s12. Carl Edwards Roush Fenway Ford 46.656s +0.198s13. Tony Stewart Stewart-Haas Chevrolet 46.662s +0.204s14. Juan Pablo Montoya Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet 46.665s +0.207s15. Brad Keselowski Penske Ford 46.680s +0.222s16. Dale Earnhardt Jr Hendrick Chevrolet 46.681s +0.223s17. Jeff Burton Childress Chevrolet 46.699s +0.241s18. Joey Logano Penske Ford 46.701s +0.243s19. Casey Mears Germain Ford 46.701s +0.243s20. Trevor Bayne Wood Brothers Ford 46.733s +0.275s21. Ryan Newman Stewart-Haas Chevrolet 46.748s +0.290s22. Kurt Busch Furniture Row Chevrolet 46.756s +0.298s23. Jeff Gordon Hendrick Chevrolet 46.766s +0.308s24. Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Toyota 46.768s +0.310s25. Marcos Ambrose Petty Ford 46.827s +0.369s26. Kevin Harvick Childress Chevrolet 46.838s +0.380s27. Jamie McMurray Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet 46.905s +0.447s28. David Gilliland Front Row Ford 46.935s +0.477s29. Dave Blaney Baldwin Chevrolet 46.986s +0.528s30. Aric Almirola Petty Ford 47.045s +0.587s31. Michael McDowell Parsons Ford 47.171s +0.713s32. JJ Yeley Baldwin Chevrolet 47.186s +0.728s33. AJ Allmendinger Phoenix Chevrolet 47.188s +0.730s34. Bobby Labonte JTG Daugherty Toyota 47.275s +0.817s35. David Stremme Swan Toyota 47.318s +0.860s36. Scott Speed Leavine Ford 47.405s +0.947s37. Josh Wise Front Row Ford 47.412s +0.954s38. David Ragan Front Row Ford 47.419s +0.961s39. Terry Labonte FAS Lane Ford 47.460s +1.002s40. Travis Kvapil BK Toyota 47.620s +1.162s41. David Reutimann BK Toyota 47.687s +1.229s42. Joe Nemechek NEMCO Toyota 47.689s +1.231s43. Landon Cassill Circle Sport Chevrolet 47.840s +1.382s