Alex Bowman puts No. 88 on the pole at Daytona

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Alex Bowman has won the pole for next week's Daytona 500 with a lap at 195.644mph (46.002s), beating out 2016 race victor Denny Hamlin by 0.130s.

Denny Hamlin, the 2016 victor, qualified second in a Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing with a lap at 195.092.

So much for Alex Bowman suffering from the pressure of taking over ride of NASCAR superstar Dale Earnhardt Jr. "The reality of it will probably be a little bit more sad than what I'm making it out to be right now, but I'm ready".

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Coming off a dominating 2017 campaign, Martin Truex Jr. and Furniture Row Racing hope to continue their success into 2018, while Hendrick Motorsports, featuring two new and younger drivers, is eager to begin a new era. "I never would have thought it would happen after the path my career took". William Byron is not most 20-year-olds, a fact he demonstrated by posting the fifth-fastest time in Daytona 500 qualifying on Sunday.

Earnhardt retired past year after missing half of the 2016 season, though he will be at the track serving as grand marshal for the season-opening race. Keselowski had the race in control, and Kyle Larson made contact with Jimmie Johnson on the final lap to trigger an accident that allowed Keselowski an easier route to victory lane. "I don't know, new rules package and all, we're just trying to figure that out. Just so thankful to be able to do this, I'm very blessed to be able to call driving a racecar my job and now I get to drive what I think is the best racecar in the business, it's a dream come true".

"I was like, 'Man, where was I on that one?' It would have just been a good gamble to use the backup but didn't think of it soon enough and was honestly just really concerned about the work getting done to put the primary auto out there for the 500". Hendrick is now tied with Harry Ranier for the record of most consecutive Daytona 500 poles at four. He had 75 laps to get to the front, which was easy enough for the three-car Penske contingent.

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Bowman sat out the entire 2017 season to help develop Hendrick Motorsports racing simulator.

"I just kind of manage it whenever I can, so it's not too bad", Byron said.

Kurt Busch, victor of the Daytona 500 a year ago, was 17th fastest. His lap of 44.625 measured at 201.681 miles per hour narrowly ahead of Ricky Stenhouse Jr's lap of 44.632. "We've run well over 220 scans by this point and so far, so good".

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She returned to her NASCAR people Saturday in Daytona Beach, only to say it felt like Key West. GoDaddy chose to rejoin Patrick for her final two races, and she reached out to Eury to set up her Daytona ride.