Austin Dillon won the Coors Light Pole Award for the Daytona 500. There is a lot of prestige in winning the pole and leading the field to the green flag in the Daytona 500. Dillon also gets to start the first of the Budweiser Duel qualifying races from the Pole. He is guaranteed that he will be in the Daytona 500 no matter what happens in the qualifying races.
In years past we have seen those that win the pole or are otherwise guaranteed a starting spot,race in a timid or conservative fashion such that there would be no damage to their proven fast car. The question is why?
Just about every team changes engines after the qualifying races so there are no guarantees that the car will be just as fast. Rarely does starting the Daytona 500 from the front increase the odds of winning. Recent winners started from 9, 4, 32, 13, 39, 7, 34, 9, 15, and 3rd.
In racing you never get a “Do Over” or Mulligan for those golfers out there, but by winning the pole for the Daytona 500 you get the closest thing. You get the opportunity to race in a qualifying race without any inhibitions. It doesn’t matter if you wreck, you are in the Daytona 500 anyway.
Austin Dillon should have the advantage over everyone else in his qualifying race. He has nothing to prove but lots to learn about the new car. No stress, no worries. He should be able to win this race.
When he gets back to Daytona in July he can get the pole and race to win, because in July four of the last ten races have been won from the pole eight from the top ten. Until then he should use the power of the pole to make his Daytona 500 experience the best it can be.
If you cannot get to Daytona International Speedway the Budweiser Duels will be shown live on Fox Sports 1 Thursday February 20that 7 PM ET. Austin Dillon will be leading the first of two Duels to green.
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