|An all-Chevrolet front row will lead the NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) to the green flag of the 65th running of the Daytona 500 after Hendrick Motorsports teammates, Alex Bowman and Kyle Larson, drove their Camaro ZL1’s to the top of the speed charts. Bowman powered his No. 48 Ally Camaro ZL1 to a lap at 181.686 mph to take his third career pole in the “Great American Race”. The feat delivered Chevrolet its 11th consecutive pole – and 31st all-time – in the crown jewel event.|
|The 29-year-old Arizona native is no stranger to the top of the speed charts at Daytona International Speedway. With the pole win, Bowman has taken a spot on the front row of the Daytona 500 for the sixth consecutive year, extending his series record as the only driver to accomplish that feat. |
Laying down a lap at 181.067 mph in his No. 5 HendrickCars.com Camaro ZL1, Larson will join his teammate on the front row, marking the 21st time in the event’s history that Chevrolet has swept the Daytona 500 front row.
In his return to the driver’s seat in NASCAR’s premier series, career Chevrolet driver Jimmie Johnson secured his spot in the 40-car field for the Daytona 500. Johnson and the No. 84 LEGACY MOTOR CLUB Camaro ZL1 team is one of two open cars that was able to qualify for Sunday’s race on time.
Next up for the NCS will be the two 60-lap, 150-mile Bluegreen Vacation Duels at Daytona to determine the remaining starting lineup of the Daytona 500. FS1 will telecast the Duels on Thursday, February 16, at 7 p.m. ET. Live coverage can also be found on MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.
|ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 48 ALLY CAMARO ZL1 – Press Conference Transcript: |
THE MODERATOR: Our Daytona 500 polesitter, Alex Bowman.We’ll take questions for Alex.
Q. Is this talked about, the streak, the importance of keeping this streak alive, wanting to maintain a spot in the front row?ALEX BOWMAN: Yeah, for me it’s a really interesting thing to be a part of because I have so little to do with it, right? Like obviously once you get five, man, it would be really cool to have six. Next year I’ll be like, Man, it will be really cool to have seven.At the same time it’s way more about my guys and everybody at Hendrick Motorsports. Just appreciative for all their hard work, the time and effort, whether it’s the engine shop or all the guys in the car shop. There’s a ton of effort that goes into trying to qualify well here. Most of it’s on their end. So definitely really appreciative.
Q. They mentioned on the telecast it looked like you were going on a different line, higher through the corners. Is that true? That seems like a driver initiative to get more speed.ALEX BOWMAN: I don’t really feel like I tried to do anything different than the other guys. Just try to kind of let the race car go where it wants and not bind it up.As a driver, really all you can do is get the best launch you can, hit your shift points right, try to run the best you can, not mess it up.Yeah, glad I didn’t mess it up. I was kind of just letting the race car go where it wanted to.
Q. You say you have so little to do with this. Does it ever get old after six times in a row?ALEX BOWMAN: It’s really good to see it here. Yeah, I mean, it doesn’t get old by any means. It’s so special to be a part of. Just really thankful for the opportunity.Definitely want more, but I think it’s on that guy sitting over there. I petition that he’s got to do the media availability tomorrow for three hours of calls. I think that’s going to be on him (smiling).
Q. Everybody wondered what it was going to be like having a new face come in atop the pit box after the success you had with Greg. What has this been like working with Blake?ALEX BOWMAN: Yeah, man, he’s just really annoying. He texts me all the time. Pretty awful.No, it’s been really fun. Enjoyed working with him a lot. It’s been cool to get to know each other more. We have common interests with the open-wheel dirt stuff. Just spending some time together during this off-season. Obviously trying to be ready to go for this season has been a lot of fun.We started off well at the Clash. Obviously tonight. But there’s a long season to go. I’m really looking forward to it.
Q. You get trophies for the pole. Do you keep all the trophies anywhere?ALEX BOWMAN: I think I have the pole trophies, but I don’t have the second-place trophies because you get a trophy for the front row as well. Yeah, they’re in my office. They’re all together.Yeah, it’s a cool one to have, right? It says Daytona 500 on it. It’s a trophy. It may not be the big one, but it’s still not a bad one to have.
Q. You did so much simulator work. Did you do tons and tons of laps at Daytona? Could that possibly be why you’re so good in qualifying here?ALEX BOWMAN: You can’t tell everybody my secret like that (smiling). I can’t believe you’d call me out.No, I don’t even know if the simulator has Daytona. If it does, well, it did for the road course stuff. But, yeah, I’ve never run speedway sim stuff.I would love to be able to sit here and take a little bit of credit. I feel like my launch was okay and my shifts were good.Man, it’s really on the team guys. They get the job done.
Q. What did Rick have to say to you?ALEX BOWMAN: Yeah, he’s just excited. I think Daytona 500 qualifying means a lot to him. It’s something he’s very prideful of. Our record speaks for itself on that.We’ve talked about it quite a few times this off-season, it’s been a long time since Hendrick Motorsports won the Daytona 500. We got to make that change on Sunday, for sure. We’re doing all we can to make that happen.
Q. Do you get a bonus for the pole or anything?ALEX BOWMAN: No, no. I get added workload. I don’t get any bonus. Nothing. I get a trophy and three more hours of work tomorrow (smiling).
Q. Is there pressure at some point being on pole, now it’s time to win it?ALEX BOWMAN: Yeah, for sure. Every year. Man, now it’s time to finish, like make it to the end. Last year I think I sat on the back straightaway for four laps before they could figure out how to get me to pit road with four flat tires.Yeah, it’s such a hard race to finish. We’ve crashed early, we’ve crashed in the middle, we’ve crashed late. Obviously I don’t have the answer to that. I haven’t figured out how to finish it yet.I know we have a really fast race car and a great group of guys that are capable of doing great. But, man, it’s been tough. We want to finish this race and finish it well.
Q. Do you approach the Duels any differently from the past five years?ALEX BOWMAN: It’s hard to say. Last year I think the state of who had cars and all that was really worrying kind of across the board. This year it just really depends on how it drives, right? Obviously we’re here to get the front row. We’re in qualifying trim. You can’t really change much.We’ll see how it drives in the draft. If it drives well, we’ll race hard. If it’s sketchy and I’m going to crash the thing, obviously you want to protect it. Yeah, going to do all we can to keep it up front and see how it drives.
Q. Is that the first time both your dogs were in Victory Lane for you?ALEX BOWMAN: Yeah, for sure. I have to thank Jess. She went and got Finn and Roscoe. It’s not a win. They don’t go to many races. Any time they’re here, it’s special. I’ve never had them in Victory Lane. It was cool to do that. Roscoe didn’t bite anybody that I know of so we’re good.Yeah, it was cool to get to do that for sure.
KYLE LARSON, NO. 5 HENDRICKCARS.COM CAMARO ZL1 – Press Conference Transcript
THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by Kyle Larson, driver of the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.We’ll take questions for Kyle.
Q. Are you going to need to steal some setup secrets from Bowman? Even when all you Hendrick cars are so good in qualifying, seems they have something a little bit extra.KYLE LARSON: I don’t know. I think it’s just because he’s taller, he can push the gas further (laughter).No, I don’t know, just hats off to their team. We were able to edge them out last year. I don’t remember what lap times were last year, but they clobbered us all this year.Hats off to the 48 team and everybody at Hendrick Motorsports because everybody has a hand in all of our cars going as fast as they do in qualifying here.
Q. You’ve been good in qualifying here, particularly since you came over to Hendrick. You said yourself that racing at superspeedways has never treated you well. You said you’re going to spend some time with Tyler studying tape. Is that what it’s going to take? Are you trying to figure anything out to change your fortune going into Sunday?KYLE LARSON: I don’t know, I mean, you always study before every race. I don’t know. We do it every week. We go over every race. Same as for Daytona and Talladega both, we go and try to probably dive deeper than normal. More of the same tomorrow.But I would like to kind of see how the good guys set themselves up throughout a run to be up towards the front or wherever they need to be to miss wrecks and stuff.It’s just a difficult style of racing that, I don’t know, I just haven’t had the best of time in my career. I used to always say it’s bad luck, but I don’t necessarily feel that way any more.Yeah, just try to, as you do with every racetrack, just get better.
Q. The fact that Hendrick Motorsports has been so dominant so often for so long for this race, how do you even begin to describe that?KYLE LARSON: Yeah, I don’t know. I’m new, pretty new, to Hendrick still. I don’t obviously get involved in car stuff.Yeah, they’ve got something figured out for sure. I mean, there’s other teams outside of Hendrick Motorsports that use Hendrick engines. The cars are more similar these days, where they’re not kind of hand-built in the shop.There’s obviously tricks and stuff that they’ve learned along the way that still apply to I’m assuming these cars. It’s pretty neat. It’s pretty cool to see the success that they’ve had on qualifying day.Rick gets really excited about that. I know he’d be even more excited if one of the four of us could end up in Victory Lane on Sunday.
Q. Is it also more impressive when you think there’s so little you can change on these cars, and they still are just as dominant as they were with the previous car?KYLE LARSON: Yeah, yeah, I mean, I guess I kind of touched on that a little bit.Again, I don’t know. You’ll have to ask Blake about car stuff. He’s worked on the old ones and the new ones. I don’t know what makes them go fast. He comes from a different team. He might spill all the beans to you here soon.
Q. You were on the phone with Rick. What did he have to say to you? This has to be a big feather in your cap to be on the front row again.KYLE LARSON: Yeah, no, he was just really happy, as he has been for whatever, 16 times or so, for qualifying (smiling).No, just quick congratulations. Happy to see him tomorrow, get to hang out with him some this week. Haven’t got to see him much this off-season. Excited to see Rick tomorrow.
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