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Kyle Larson will start the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season where he left off last year.
The defending series champion set the fastest single-seater qualifying time on Wednesday night to claim pole position for the season-opening Daytona 500.
The Hendrick Motorsports driver was the second to last driver to go and posted a time of 49.68 seconds at 181.159 mph to beat teammate Alex Bowman’s 49.711 second lap at 181.046 mph. Both drivers will start on the front row on Sunday while the other drivers will look to secure positions in Thursday’s Daytona Duels races.
The session marked the first official outing of the all-new NASCAR Next Gen car. Bowman took the 2021 pole in the previous car with a time of 47.056 seconds at 190.261 mph.
Fellow Hendrick riders William Byron and Chase Elliott finished third and fifth, and were separated by Stewart-Haas rider Aric Almirola in fourth. Among the surprises, Pitbull’s Trackhouse Racing team placed two drivers in the top 10, with Ross Chastain and Daniel Suarez finishing seventh and ninth.
Last year’s Daytona 500 winner Michael McDowell qualified 22nd, while 1995 Indy 500 winner Jacques Villeneuve’s 27th place finish was the highest among non-chartered entrants and guarantees him a place in the Great American Race.
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The 42 cars will now be split into two groups that will compete in Daytona Duels on Thursday night, with the results used to define the 40-car field for the Daytona 500, which airs Sunday on FOX beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET.
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