CONCORD, N.C. - Alex Bowman's top-five finish in the 2023 DAYTONA 500 snapped a cold spell for pole winners in "The Great American Race."
Bowman's finish on Sunday was the first top-five result for a pole sitter in this race in 21 years. In 2001, Bill Elliott earned the pole position for the DAYTONA 500 and also finished fifth.
PHOTOS: Scenes from the 2023 DAYTONA 500 | Hendrick Motorsports sweeps front row
"Proud of my team and glad we were able to make it out clean," Bowman said of his top-five result in his first regular-season race with new crew chief Blake Harris. "Starting the year off strong on the right foot gives us momentum."
Scoring the pole marked the sixth straight time that Bowman started on the front row for the DAYTONA 500. That feat extended his record and also gave him the record for most front row starts in the crown jewel event among all drivers, which is six, too. In addition, it was his third pole for the season-opening race in Daytona Beach, Florida.
The big start to the season came just days after Bowman's three-year extension with Hendrick Motorsports was announced. In addition, primary partner Ally reached a five-year pact with the 14-time NASCAR Cup Series championship-winning organization.
Of the 21 instances where the pole sitter earned a top five in the DAYTONA 500, three times have involved a Hendrick Motorsports driver (see below for the full list).
DAYTONA 500 pole sitters to finish in the top five:
Bold means accomplished by a Hendrick Motorsports driver
2022: Bowman (finished fifth)
2001: Bill Elliott (finished fifth)
2000: Dale Jarrett (WON)
1999: Jeff Gordon (WON)
1998: Bobby Labonte (finished second)
1996: Dale Earnhardt (finished second)
1995: Jarrett (finished fifth)
1989: Ken Schrader (finished second)
1987: Elliott (WON)
1985: Elliott (WON)
1984: Cale Yarborough (WON)
1981: Bobby Allison (finished second)
1980: Buddy Baker (WON)
1978: Yarborough (finished second)
1971: A.J. Foyt (finished third)
1969: Baker (finished fifth)
1968: Yarborough (WON)
1966: Richard Petty (WON)
1965: Darel Dieringer (finished second)
1964: Paul Goldsmith (finished third)
1962: Fireball Roberts (WON)