DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Kyle Larson paced Hendrick Motorsports in qualifying at Daytona International Speedway for Saturday night’s regular-season finale.
Larson’s lap of 181.254 mph in the final round of qualifying earned the driver of the No. 5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 the seventh spot in the starting lineup. The 31-year-old has started inside the top-eight spots in six of the last seven races at Daytona and this is his 16th top-10 starting spot of the 2023 season. In 18 starts at Daytona, Larson has five top-10 finishes.
Chase Elliott will start 23rd in the No. 9 LLumar Chevy. Elliott has three career wins on drafting tracks, but none have come at Daytona. His best finish at the 2.5-mile Florida track is second, which he has done twice in the Cup Series at this venue. The 27-year-old driver has four top-10s and 157 laps led in 15 starts here.
RELATED: See this weekend's paint schemes
William Byron is going to start 27th in the No. 24 RaptorTough.com Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. His first Cup Series win came at Daytona in 2020. He has two top-five finishes and 94 laps led in 11 starts at the "World Center of Racing."
Alex Bowman takes the grid from the 31st position in the No. 48 Ally Arena Chevy. He started from the pole in the 2023 DAYTONA 500 and earned a fifth-place finish. He has three top-10 finishes in the summer race.
PHOTOS: Check out every angle of the No. 48 Ally Arena Chevy
Chase Briscoe earned the pole position for the 160-lap, 400-mile race.
Byron (five wins) and Larson (two wins) are locked into the playoffs. Elliott and Bowman are facing a must-win race to try and grab the final playoff spot in the 16-driver field. On two occasions in team history, a Hendrick Motorsports driver has raced their way into the postseason in the final regular-season race. In 2012, Jeff Gordon earned a wild card slot with a second-place finish at Richmond Raceway. In 2020, Byron was on the outside looking in following the first two stages but went on to win the event at Daytona to make the playoffs.
The organization is tied for the most points-paying Cup Series wins at Daytona with 15 and those victories have come from seven different drivers. Gordon’s six wins top the board, followed by Jimmie Johnson with three victories and Dale Earnhardt Jr. at two triumphs. Byron, Geoff Bodine, Tim Richmond and Darrell Waltrip each have one win. Specific to the team's seven summer race wins, Gordon won three times, while Byron, Earnhardt Jr., Johnson and Richmond each have one victory for the team.
In total, the team has 32 wins on drafting tracks, which is the highest total among active teams in the series by 12 victories. The drafting tracks on the circuit are 2.5-mile Daytona, 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway and 1.54-mile Atlanta Motor Speedway (since its reprofiling for the 2022 season). In addition to its 15 wins at Daytona, the team has 14 victories at Talladega and three triumphs at Atlanta. During the Next Gen era, the squad has four wins on drafting tracks – two each for Byron and Elliott (One of those at Talladega and three at Atlanta).
Tune in to watch the regular-season finale on Saturday, Aug. 26, at 7 p.m. ET on NBC, Peacock, MRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Channel 90).