NASCAR: Dillon puts No. 3 on pole in its Daytona return

NASCAR: Dillon puts No. 3 on pole in its Daytona return

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NASCAR: Dillon puts No. 3 on pole in its Daytona return

Austin Dillon marked the return of the iconic No. 3 to the NASCAR Sprint Cup by earning pole for the 2014 Daytona 500.

Richard Childress Racing rookie Dillon is the first man to use No. 3 in the Cup series since the death of Dale Earnhardt 13 years ago.

Having been fastest in January’s official test at Daytona and among the front-runners in practice all weekend, reigning Nationwide Series champion Dillon was among the pole favourites from the outset. His 45.914-second, 196.019mph lap was sufficient to depose Greg Biffle’s Roush Fenway Ford from provisional pole.

Martin Truex Jr. came close to denying Dillon, but fell 0.039s short as he secured second place on his debut with Furniture Row.

Dillon and Truex’s starting positions for next Sunday’s race are now set, while the rest of the field will be decided by Thursday night’s Duel qualifying races.

Biffle was pushed back to third, ahead of teammate Carl Edwards and the second Childress car of Ryan Newman.

First man out Dale Earnhardt Jr. held on to provisional pole for most of the afternoon, unbeaten until Biffle – 33rd in the qualifying line – came out. The Hendrick driver eventually fell to seventh.

Reigning champion and 2013 Daytona 500 winner Jimmie Johnson was 14th, with Sprint Unlimited victor Denny Hamlin 22nd.

Last year’s Daytona polesitter Danica Patrick was only 25th this time and will have to start at the back following an engine change after Saturday practice.

(All photos by LAT)

Pos  Driver              Team/Car                 Time     Gap
 1.  Austin Dillon       Childress Chevrolet      45.914s
 2.  Martin Truex Jr     Furniture Row Chevrolet  45.953s  +0.039s
 3.  Greg Biffle         Roush Fenway Ford        45.961s  +0.047s
 4.  Carl Edwards        Roush Fenway Ford        45.986s  +0.072s
 5.  Ryan Newman         Childress Chevrolet      45.987s  +0.073s
 6.  Brad Keselowski     Penske Ford              46.084s  +0.170s
 7.  Dale Earnhardt Jr   Hendrick Chevrolet       46.104s  +0.190s
 8.  Jeff Gordon         Hendrick Chevrolet       46.144s  +0.230s
 9.  Ricky Stenhouse Jr  Roush Fenway Ford        46.153s  +0.239s
10.  Paul Menard         Childress Chevrolet      46.173s  +0.259s
11.  Marcos Ambrose      Petty Ford               46.179s  +0.265s
12.  Brian Scott         Childress Chevrolet      46.207s  +0.293s
13.  Aric Almirola       Petty Ford               46.235s  +0.321s
14.  Jimmie Johnson      Hendrick Chevrolet       46.240s  +0.326s
15.  Joey Logano         Penske Ford              46.253s  +0.339s
16.  Casey Mears         Germain Ford             46.253s  +0.339s
17.  Matt Kenseth        Joe Gibbs Toyota         46.255s  +0.341s
18.  Michael Annett      Baldwin Chevrolet        46.255s  +0.341s
19.  Kasey Kahne         Hendrick Chevrolet       46.262s  +0.348s
20.  Clint Bowyer        Waltrip Toyota           46.267s  +0.353s
21.  Kyle Busch          Joe Gibbs Toyota         46.272s  +0.358s
22.  Denny Hamlin        Joe Gibbs Toyota         46.278s  +0.364s
23.  Kevin Harvick       Stewart-Haas Chevrolet   46.291s  +0.377s
24.  Kyle Larson         Ganassi Chevrolet        46.294s  +0.380s
25.  Danica Patrick      Stewart-Haas Chevrolet   46.301s  +0.387s
26.  Trevor Bayne        Wood Brothers Ford       46.312s  +0.398s
27.  AJ Allmendinger     JTG Daugherty Chevrolet  46.366s  +0.452s
28.  Kurt Busch          Stewart-Haas Chevrolet   46.373s  +0.459s
29.  Reed Sorenson       Baldwin Chevrolet        46.376s  +0.462s
30.  Justin Allgaier     Hscott Chevrolet         46.436s  +0.522s
31.  David Gilliland     Front Row Ford           46.455s  +0.541s
32.  Landon Cassill      Circle Sport Chevrolet   46.456s  +0.542s
33.  Parker Kligerman    Swan Toyota              46.489s  +0.575s
34.  Michael Waltrip     Waltrip Toyota           46.529s  +0.615s
35.  Tony Stewart        Stewart-Haas Chevrolet   46.544s  +0.630s
36.  Eric McClure        Front Row Ford           46.655s  +0.741s
37.  Brian Vickers       Waltrip Toyota           46.681s  +0.767s
38.  Jamie McMurray      Ganassi Chevrolet        46.706s  +0.792s
39.  Cole Whitt          Swan Toyota              46.744s  +0.830s
40.  David Ragan         Front Row Ford           46.795s  +0.881s
41.  Michael McDowell    Leavine Ford             46.804s  +0.890s
42.  Terry Labonte       Go FAS Ford              46.842s  +0.928s
43.  Josh Wise           Parsons Chevrolet        46.860s  +0.946s
44.  Bobby Labonte       Hscott Chevrolet         46.999s  +1.046s
45.  Joe Nemechek        NEMCO Toyota             47.249s  +1.288s
46.  Ryan Truex          BK Toyota                47.282s  +1.296s
47.  Alex Bowman         BK Toyota                47.447s  +1.460s
48.  Morgan Shepherd     Shepherd Toyota          47.483s  +1.399s
49.  Dave Blaney         Humphrey Ford

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