Race Weekend Central

Chase Elliott Snags Cup Pole for Daytona Road Course

Chase Elliott will lead the field to green in Sunday’s (Feb. 21) race on the Daytona International Speedway road course in the NASCAR Cup Series.

Elliott claimed the pole after finishing second in the season opener.

Daytona 500 champion Michael McDowell will line up second alongside Elliott. Austin Dillon begins in third, Denny Hamlin is fourth and Kevin Harvick rounds out the top five starters.

Ryan Preece starts sixth, Corey LaJoie begins seventh and Elliott’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kyle Larson lines up eighth. Ross Chastain and Bubba Wallace complete the top 10 in the lineup.

The 2021 owner’s points rankings, weighted 35%, as well as driver’s and owner’s results (25% each) and fastest lap (15%) from the Daytona 500 were used to form the lineup.

The Daytona road course replaces Auto Club Speedway due to COVID-19 restrictions.

O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 Starting Lineup

The O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 will air on Feb. 21 at 3 p.m. ET on FOX.

About the author

Joy Tomlinson

Joy joined Frontstretch in 2019 as a NASCAR DraftKings writer, expanding to news and iRacing coverage in 2020. She's currently an assistant editor and involved with photos, social media and news editing. A California native, Joy was raised watching motorsports and started watching NASCAR extensively in 2001. She earned her B.A. degree in Liberal Studies at California State University Bakersfield in 2010.

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i’m sorry but he didn’t physically drive his car to qualify. so snagging the pole was based on points, not actual performance.

i know but still he really didn’t go out and qualify.


Where do you think points come from? They come from performance. It’s not like they draw the numbers from a hat!


Why not just let the winner of the last event “inherit” the pole? Like Bill France left it to him in his will.

Bill B

I agree with you Janice. When talking about the pole position, terms like “earns”, “snags”, “nabs”, etc, are misleading and imply that the driver realized that position by some direct action that most normal fans would associate with traditional qualifying.

A more accurate term would be “determined to be” or “calculated to be” on the pole, since they are using some convoluted formula to determine who is on the pole. While it is largely semantics it bothers me too every time I see a headline that implies a driver actually qualified for that position. Now if it had been done that way forever then maybe a case could be made, but it hasn’t, and since we all are used to those terms being associated with traditional qualifying, new terms should be adopted.


I too agree with both you and Janice. I actually forgot they weren’t qualifying then read the title and was like that is no surprise, he runs good there. Then realized – the line up is set by a pre-determined points system from previous performance.

It would have meant a lot more if McDowell had actually timed a second place lap.

Per Jo’s comment – while this method is better than the random draw they did last year. Daytona finishing performance is not much different than drawing from a hat if we are honest lol.


If all you read is the headline, you might be confused. That’s why it’s important to read the whole story. And pay attention to how the starting lineups have been determined since mid-season last year. How much effort does that take for a “true fan?”

Bill B

That’s not the point. The words a reporter uses should be as precise as possible. No one said they didn’t realize what it meant or didn’t understand it or were confused, we said we don’t like it and that there may be better ways of verbalizing it.


I’m not sure how it is in the online world, but when physical newspapers were published, the reporter did not generally write the headlines. The editor did, and the headlines were designed to draw the reader in. And it isn’t false to say that Elliott “snagged” the pole. Maybe you’d have preferred if every story about race lineups would use the words “Drive X was awarded the pole.” But I do wonder about the attention this particular story got for that single issue. There is an undercurrent here of dissing Chase Elliott as the “golden boy.” It’s not as if the mathematical formula was designed to help him at the expense of anyone else. It’s getting old. But then, most of the complaints from FS readers are about the same tired old issues.

Bill B

Oh, so that’s what all this is about. Your perception that it’s anti Chase. For the record I like Chase, I want him to succeed, I was happy he won the championship. Me thinks you might just be a little too sensitive. I can assure you that Chase doesn’t give a rat’s ass about what anyone on some website says about him, he is living the dream, so why should you care about something that he doesn’t. Lighten up Francis.

Also the fact that you can’t stand that “… most of the complaints from FS readers are about the same tired old issues.” is what makes you such a beloved member of the FS community. I think you come here just to F with the regulars and that is why I don’t mind saying that that’s what makes you a total DB.


LMAO! Bill B, I’m just glad to see that I am so good at what I have been trying to do. OTOH, it doesn’t take much for you folks to get your panties in a wad. You don’t like one word in a headline and the comments start rolling in.

Bill B

That’s it Jo, keep proving me right. DB.


Bill B, you’re such a charmer, I’ll bet you use that term for all the females in your life!


The method they use is like an algorithm to find the perfect match on a dating site.


#9 will probably win every road coarse race, don’t bother watching this follow the leader crap


LOL! I hope you’re right.

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