Rookie Chase Elliott wins Daytona 500 pole as controversy clouds others

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 14: Chase Elliott, driver of the #24 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, poses with the 21 Means 21 Pole Award after qualifying for pole position in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 14, 2016 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 14:  Chase Elliott, driver of the #24 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, poses with the 21 Means 21 Pole Award after qualifying for pole position in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 14, 2016 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
DAYTONA BEACH, FL – FEBRUARY 14: Chase Elliott, driver of the #24 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, poses with the 21 Means 21 Pole Award after qualifying for pole position in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 14, 2016 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Rookie Chase Elliott will start the biggest race of his young career from the pole. Elliott won the Daytona 500 pole Sunday topping the final of two rounds of qualifying with a speed of 196.314.

Elliott, in his first full season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series in replacement legendary Jeff Gordon is the youngest pole winner in Daytona 500 history at 20 years, two months and 17 days.  Elliott and his father Bill become the fourth father-son pair to win Daytona 500 poles.

“I don’t know that this opportunity has sunk in yet, much less sitting on the pole for the Daytona 500,” Elliott said. “So this is very cool. I think the big thing is just the team and the Daytona 500 qualifying is about the team guys and the effort they put into these cars and it’s nothing special I did, it’s really what kind of work they did this off-season to make it happen.”

Matt Kenseth was a close second with a speed of 196.036.

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About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.