Chase Elliot wins Daytona 500 pole

Brendan Gaughan and Elliott Sadler ended up with the two fastest speeds among non-charter teams and are locked in next Sunday's 500 field regardless of their performance in Thursday's qualifying races.

The Georgia native and son of former NASCAR driver Bill Elliot had the fastest lap of 46.663 miles per hour.

Chase Elliott won the pole for the Daytona 500 on Sunday.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. has made his return to NASCAR by taking part in the first Daytona 500 practice of Speedweeks.

Earnhardt went to the top of speed chart as the 11th of the 12 cars to take a run in the second and final round of qualifying with an average lap speed of 192.864 miles per hour.

Matt DiBenedetto was cleared to race at Phoenix International Raceway in November after NASCAR held him out of one event because of a possible concussion.

Clint Bowyer stands next to his car in the garage during NASCAR auto racing practice session at Daytona International Speedway Saturday Feb. 18 2017 in Daytona Beach Fla

Stewart-Haas Racing has filed a $31 million lawsuit against Nature's Bakery, saying the food company concocted false claims to dump the remaining two years on its sponsorship deal for Patrick.

Meanwhile, Dale Earnhardt Jr., who missed a large chunk of the 2016 season due to a concussion, returned to his No. 88 vehicle to finish 11th in practice. I'm disappointed too, but am absolutely thrilled to have an all-Hendrick Motorsports front row. It's cool to share a front row with a teammate is really the biggest thing I look at with that.

"They (the No. 24 team) just, certainly, know how to get the job done at these plate tracks, for sure", Earnhardt said. "Obviously, you never hope that situation comes up, but I think after previous year as easy as it is for me as far as already being here with Hendrick Motorsports, I think if something did come up, that I would think I would be the one that would get called for it". I didn't know what we had as far as our auto in practice.

Only four "open" cars will make the Daytona 500. The pilot of the No. 24 Chevy becomes just the fifth driver to win back-to-back poles for the Daytona 500. "I think that's where the attention should be, where it should be centered". The cars and drivers positions behind Elliot and Earnhardt will be determined on Thursday in the two qualifying races.

In the second round of qualifying, Keselowski was third fastest at 192.691 mph, Clint Bowyer was fourth fastest at 192.571 mph, and Truex Jr. rounded out the top-five at 192.308 mph. Looking for his first Daytona win, Brad Keselowski isn't far behind with 8-to-1 odds.

Vanessa Coleman

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