With the first half of pole qualifying for the 2022 Daytona 500 complete, we can now officially say that Jacques Villeneuve and Noah Gragson will take the green flag in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series season-opener.
Gragson, driving the No. 62 for Beard Motorsports, posted the fastest lap of the six ‘open entries’ on Wednesday night, locking himself into ‘The Great American Race’.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series winner attempted to qualify for the 2021 edition of the event but was swept up in a late-race accident in his duel race, resulting in his failure to qualify.
— Daniel McFadin (@danielmcfadin) February 17, 2022
Villeneuve, driving for the newly-formed Team Hezeberg powered by Reaume Brothers Racing, has locked into his first career Daytona 500, after failing to qualify nearly 15 years ago for Bill Davis Racing.
The 50-year-old posted the second-fastest lap of the ‘open entries’ in single-vehicle qualifying, edging out the No. 50 Chevrolet Camaro by less than a tenth of a second.
Having won the Formula 1 title and an Indy 500, where does making the Daytona 500 rank in the career of Jacques Villeneuve? He answers: pic.twitter.com/EKUEwlHwQD
— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) February 17, 2022
Kaz Grala and Greg Biffle posted the third and fourth quickest times of the six ‘open entries’ in the session, meaning they’ll either have to race their way in through the duels or fall back on qualifying speed should Gragson or Villeneuve race in through the duels.
MBM Motorsports teammates JJ Yeley and Timmy Hill posted the two slowest times in the session, which means both drivers will have to race in through their duel race, if they are hoping to qualify for the 2022 Daytona 500.
Here are the final results of Round 1 of 2022 Daytona 500 qualifying for the drivers of the Open teams: