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Joey Logano, Michael McDowell End Chevrolet Dominance with Ford Daytona 500 Front Row Sweep

Joey Logano and Michael McDowell will lead the field to green in Sunday's NASCAR Cup Series Daytona 500, marking the first time since 2012 that a Ford Performance entry has won the pole. Photo Credit: Craig White,

For the first time in more than a decade, a Ford has won the pole for the Daytona 500.

Joey Logano, driving the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang Dark Horse for Team Penske, is the driver who is responsible for breaking the stranglehold that Hendrick Motorsports and Chevrolet have had on single-vehicle qualifying for the Daytona 500.

The two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion was the fastest in both rounds of qualifying on Wednesday, posting a blistering time of 49.465 seconds (181.947mph) as the final driver to make a lap in the second round.

RELATED: 2024 NASCAR Cup Series Daytona 500 Qualifying Results

While Logano securing the Daytona 500 could already be considered a major upset, considering Chevrolet has posted the fastest qualifying time in each of the last eleven seasons, there is an even bigger surprise starting on the outside of the front row.

“This is all about the team. Honestly, I’d like to take credit, but I can’t today. The guys have done such an amazing job working on these cars. The superspeedway qualifying is 100 percent the car,” said Logano. “There’s only so much the driver can do, so I’m really proud of them.  That’s a big win for our team, for everyone at Team Penske, Ford with the new Dark Horse Mustang. Being able to come down here and put it on the pin and finally. someone else wins the pole here. That part feels good. I’ve never even been close to a superspeedway pole before, so this is my first pole on a speedway. It couldn’t be at a cooler event, obviously at the Daytona 500. I’m proud of the team.”

2021 Daytona 500 champion Michael McDowell, piloting the No. 34 Ford Mustang for Front Row Motorsports, managed to secure a career-best qualifying result on Wednesday, putting his Love’s Travel Stops-sponsored entry in the runner-up spot, less than a tenth of a second behind Logano.

“This is the best that we have ever qualified down here. We’ve always had fast Ford Mustangs, but we really put an emphasis on seeing how much speed we could get out of it,” said McDowell. “We know that we can work on it Thursday and Friday, and all of those things. A pole is something that is on the bucket list this year to try and get done. I don’t have a Cup Series pole, so I thought we had a good shot at that one.”

Both Logano and McDowell have locked down their starting spots for Sunday’s 200-lap contest in Daytona Beach, Florida — barring a situation in which they must use a backup car. Additionally, the alliance teammates will each lead the field to green in a Bluegreen Vacations Duel on Thursday.

Kyle Larson was third quickest in time trials on Wednesday, with Austin Cindric and Chase Elliott completing the top five. William Byron, Austin Dillon, Kyle Busch, Ross Chastain, and Harrison Burton rounded out the top-10.

Todd Gilliland, a teammate to outside polesitter Michael McDowell at Front Row Motorsports, narrowly missed out on advancing to the second round of qualifying, coming just three one-thousandths short of Harrison Burton, who ultimately earned the final spot in the second round.

Among the notable drivers that failed to advance into the second round of qualifying on Wednesday are Chris Buescher (15th), Alex Bowman (17th), Ryan Blaney (18th), Brad Keselowski (25th), Martin Truex, Jr. (26th), Bubba Wallace (28th), Ty Gibbs (29th), Christopher Bell (32nd), Denny Hamlin (34th), and Tyler Reddick (36th).

The Toyota camp, consisting this year of entries from Joe Gibbs Racing, LEGACY MOTOR CLUB, and 23XI Racing, were noticeably off-pace in qualifying this season, with Erik Jones being the quickest of the eight Toyota-aligned drivers in 22nd.

With a lap good enough for 20th-place in the final rundown, Anthony Alfredo and Beard Motorsports have locked themselves into the 2024 Daytona 500, as have David Ragan and RFK Racing, whose lap time was only good enough for 27th.

Jimmie Johnson was the third-quickest open entry in qualifying, 35th overall, and could fall back on his qualifying speed if either Alfredo or Ragan can be the highest-finishing open entry in their respective Bluegreen Vacations Duel. Similarly, BJ McLeod, 40th overall, could fall back on his qualifying speed should both Anthony Alfredo and David Ragan end up as the highest-finishing open entry in their duel races.

JJ Yeley and Kaz Grala, the slowest two open entries in 41st and 42nd overall, will have to rely on their Bluegreen Vacations Duel on Thursday if they hope to qualify for the 2024 Daytona 500.

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