Jeff Gordon starts his final race at the Daytona 500 in the pole position.
“I don’t think words can really describe what it means,” he explained to Fox Sports after winning the pole on Sunday. “We’re excited to be starting where we’re starting but maintaining that starting position is going to be the big challenge on Sunday.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Denny Hamlin face a bigger challenge. They will start in the rear of the pack next Sunday because their cars failed inspections. The new group-qualifying format replacing single-racer runs left other drivers angry, against the wall, and likely out of Sunday’s race. “It ain’t his fault,” Clint Bowyer said of accident partner Reed Sorenson. “It’s NASCAR’s fault for putting us out in the middle of this crap for nothing.”
Gordon, who has won three Daytona 500 races, announced that the 2015 season would be his last full one in NASCAR earlier this year.
“So far, it’s going really well,” he says of his thoughts on his swan song. “We’ve carried a lot of momentum from last year.”