Dale Earnhardt Jr. happy to be on front row

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Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet, stands in the garage during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series 59th Annual DAYTONA 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 18, 2017 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Getty Images)

He may not have the pole, but, barring any unforeseen circumstances, Dale Earnhardt Jr. will start his first race back on the front row. Earnhardt will start the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Daytona 500 in second place.

Earnhardt put down a lap of 192.864 Sunday and held the provisional pole for almost a full minute. That was until his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott ran a lap of 192.872 to secure his second career Daytona 500 pole.

“It feels good,” Earnhardt said. “I think the guys are a little bit disappointed. They really wanted to get the pole. I’m disappointed too, but am absolutely thrilled to have an all-Hendrick Motorsports front row.”

For Earnhardt, a two-time Daytona 500 winner, the runner-up spot marks his third career Daytona 500 front-row start. The 42-year-old’s last start on the front row for the Daytona 500 came in 2010. Sunday, however, Earnhardt was quick to give the credit to his equipment, not his driving.

“Ain’t much to it,” he said. “The car does all the work. You just kind of get to the transitions are kind of important as far as feeding the car into the corner and also running as tight as you can on the apron without bouncing the skirt off the apron or giving up any speed, or just time adding feet to your lap by running high, at least a little bit, can make a big difference. But other than that, the driver, I don’t think he’s feeling like he’s in control of too much. The car is doing most of the work.” MORE>>>