Alex Bowman puts No. 88 on the pole at Daytona

PREVIEW: 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series – Speedweeks

NASCAR season begins with Truex reigning, series rebuilding

BC-CAR-NASCAR-Daytona 500, 2nd Ld-Writethru, 812Alex Bowman puts No. 88 on the pole at DaytonaAP Photo DBR108, DBR106, DBR103, DBR101, DBR102, DBR109, DBR107, DBR110, DBR104, DBR105, DBR130, DBR126Eds: Updates with quotes, details.

Patrick said she hopes to have fun as she ends her racing career with the Daytona 500 on Sunday and then the IndyCar Indianapolis 500 in May. He joins a Hendrick Motorsports organization that is very much in transition coming off a disappointing 2017 (by its standards) and has retooled both its driver lineup and behind-the-scenes personnel with numerous changes.

Bowman and Hamlin also were fastest in the opening round of qualifying. Only the top 2 cars are locked into next Sunday's season-opening race in this round of qualifying. Stenhouse is the most recent victor at Daytona when he won his second Super Speedway race in a row during the 2017 Coke Zero 400.

The Daytona 500 kicks off the 2018 NASCAR Monster Energy Series Cup season on Sunday, Feb. 18 at 1:30 p.m. CT; the race will be televised live on Fox. He turned a fast lap of 195.092 miles per hour.

"It's a dream come true just to drive for Hendrick Motorsports", Bowman said. "I feel like I can do what I need to do in the race auto, and that's going to take care of itself". He edged out Denny Hamlin, who finished with a speed oof 195.092 miles per hour in his No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.

Bowman was a driver struggling to piece together a schedule when Earnhardt was injured in 2016.

"I think it's still a little surreal", Bowman said of replacing Earnhardt, per NASCAR's official site.

He made his boss proud, too, with the pole-winning run. The rest of the order for the 500 will be determined on Thursday in the Can-Am Duels.

"I just held the steering wheel".

"It was really just to do Daytona and Indy and The Clash wasn't a priority", she said. "With the Hashtag 500, we're once again extending the competition to our fans on social media and creating yet another fun way to engage with the Great American Race on Daytona Day". "I did everything I could do, but it really comes down to the crew and all the guys back at the shop".

Earnhardt tweeted congratulations to his replacement, who also won a Cup pole while filling in for Earnhardt in 2016. He earned the Xfinity Series championship as a rookie previous year, and won eight races and almost the Camping World Truck Series championship in 2015, also as a rookie.

Hamlin was thrilled to have earned such a strong starting spot at second.

"I literally am so ecstatic", Hamlin said. "This came out of the blue for me and is a great opportunity for me to win a second Daytona 500". Kyle Busch was fourth, Erik Jones sixth and Daniel Suarez seventh.

For all the talk about Hendrick and their excellence on Sunday, where was reigning Cup Series champion Martin Truex Jr.? "I knew it was a special run at the 330-foot mark, and I even shut the vehicle off a bit early so we know we can improve upon those numbers at some point".

"I don't know if we quite figured it out yet". "Actually, a lot of times in Daytona, in super-speedway weekends, you walk away going, "Well, go to bed" instead of being frustrated that you weren't close or you weren't in the ballgame. We're going to hope that our vehicle handles really good and we can out drive them in race trim".

Truex amassed 19 stage wins and 54 playoff points before rolling into last year's winner-take-all season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, where he won the race to capture the championship. Ford drivers won all four of last season's restrictor plate races, where the strength of an engine is one of the most important tools. "I think the hard part was getting to that point". We're still learning ways as a team to make moves better and to position ourselves in front of the field and stay there. She's racing in only the Daytona 500 and then the Indianapolis 500 in May before she retires as a race vehicle driver.

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