Ford Mustang Dark Horse Locks Up Daytona 500 Front Row

By Seth Eggert, Associate Editor

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The new Ford Mustang Dark Horses of Joey Logano and Michael McDowell ended Hendrick Motorsports’ dominance of the Daytona 500 front row.

Logano’s pole is the first for Ford Performance in ‘The Great American Race’ since Carl Edwards in the 2012 running of the event. That season also marked the last time that Ford swept the front row of the season opener at Daytona Int’l Speedway with Greg Biffle qualifying second that weekend.

The Team Penske driver was quick to credit his team in ending the decade long run of Hendrick powered cars taking the pole in the Daytona 500. It was also the first pole position for Roger Penske in ‘The Great American Race.’

“Anytime you walk into this area we’re standing here in Victory Lane, I don’t care if it’s qualifying or the Duel or the 500 it’s always special,” Logano said. “This is about the team. The driver doesn’t really do a whole bunch in qualifying here. I can’t take much credit today, so these guys did a tremendous job giving me a really fast Mustang. A couple Fords on the front row is something pretty special seeing those Mustangs up front here. It’s a pretty exciting start to Speedweek and hopefully tomorrow night we have a good one and we’ll be in the same spot.”

Logano ran a 49.465 second, 181.947 MPH lap in his No. 22 Shell / Pennzoil Ford Mustang Darkhorse with McDowell running a 49.536 second, 181.686 MPH lap in the No. 34 Love’s Travel Stops Ford. The Front Row Motorsports driver missed his first career NASCAR Cup Series pole by 0.076 seconds.

“The feeling is awesome,” McDowell said. “This is the best that we have ever qualified down here. We’ve always had fast Ford Mustangs, but we really put an emphasis on seeing how much speed we could get out of it. We know that we can work on it Thursday and Friday and all those things.

“A pole is something that is on the bucket list this year to try and get done. I don’t have a Cup Series pole, so I thought we had a good shot at that one. Obviously, Joey got us there, but two Dark Horse Mustangs on the front row for the Daytona 500 is awesome. A big thanks to everybody at Ford Performance and Doug Yates and Roush Yates Engines. We know a lot has to do with all the hard work that they put in, but I’m just really proud of my guys. We put in a massive effort to try to come down here and have a lot of speed and we did, so it’s a good start to the weekend.”

Kyle Larson was the best of the Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro ZL1s, qualifying third. Larson’s No. 5 machine missed the front row by 0.014 seconds.

Erik Jones was the best of the new Toyota Camry XSEs. Jones’ No. 43 Advent Health car was 22nd fastest on the speed charts. None of the new Toyota Racing machines made it to the second round of qualifying.

Anthony Alfredo and David Ragan were the two open cars that locked themselves into the 500-mile classic. Alfredo’s No. 62 Deathwish Coffee Company Chevrolet was the fastest of those not locked into the field. Ragan was second fastest.

Jimmie Johnson, B.J. McLeod, J.J. Yeley, and Kaz Grala will have to race their way into the Daytona 500 via the Bluegreen Vacations Duels at Daytona. Grala was forced into the Duels after a broken shifter prevented him from completing a qualifying lap.

The rest of the lineup for the 66th Annual Daytona 500 will be determined by the results of the Bluegreen Vacations Duels at Daytona. The first of the two Duel races is scheduled to start Thursday, February 15, at 7:00 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1. The races will also be broadcast on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.

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