Ricky Stenhouse Jr. breaks Hendrick streak to win Daytona 500 pole

This car will start first in the Daytona 500. (David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Hendrick Motorsports’ Daytona 500 pole streak is over.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. became the first non-Hendrick driver to get the Daytona 500 pole since 2014 when he posted the fastest lap during pole qualifying on Sunday. He’ll start alongside Hendrick driver Alex Bowman on the front row for the Daytona 500 and will also start first in the first Duel qualifying race on Thursday night.

Hendrick drivers had won five-straight pole positions for the 500 since Austin Dillon took the pole six years ago. But Stenhouse was able to sneak ahead of the Hendrick trio of Bowman, Chase Elliott and Jimmie Johnson in his first qualifying session for JTG-Daugherty Racing.

Hendrick does get to claim some credit for Stenhouse’s pole, however. JTG-Daugherty has an alliance with Hendrick Motorsports and gets its equipment from the powerhouse team.

Stenhouse joined the team ahead of the 2020 season when Roush Fenway Racing cut ties with him. Stenhouse was replaced at Roush by JTG driver Chris Buescher and then JTG went out and replaced Buescher with Stenhouse.

Stenhouse won his first two Cup Series races for Roush in 2017 and finished 13th in the standings. But he performed worse in each of the following two seasons as Roush decided to make a change at the end of 2019. 

After earning nine top-10s in that playoff season of 2017, Stenhouse had just eight combined top 10s over 2018 and 2019 to go with four top fives. He was 18th in the standings in 2018 and 23rd in 2019.

Sunday’s qualifying session determined the top two spots for the Daytona 500 and guaranteed that non-charter car drivers Brendan Gaughan and Justin Haley would make the race by virtue of being the fastest drivers without guaranteed starting spots. The final two qualifiers — along with the starting order for positions Nos. 3-40 — will be determined during Thursday night’s Duel qualifying races.

Daniel Suarez, Timmy Hill, Reed Sorenson, Chad Finchum and JJ Yeley will race for the final two spots in the Duel races. The first Duel will determine the odd-numbered starting positions in rows Nos. 2-20 while the second Duel will determine the even-numbered starting positions.

[Full Daytona 500 and Speedweeks schedule]

Duel 1 lineup

1. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

2. Chase Elliott

3. Denny Hamlin

4. Aric Almirola

5. Christopher Bell

6. Joey Logano

7. Clint Bowyer

8. Ryan Newman

9. Ryan Preece

10. Chris Buescher

11. Martin Truex Jr.

12. Brad Keselowski

13. John Hunter Nemechek

14. Ryan Blaney

15. Austin Dillon

16. Justin Haley

17. Bubba Wallace

18. Reed Sorenson

19. Daniel Suarez

20. Quin Houff

21. Chad Finchum

22. Joey Gase

Duel 2 lineup

1. Alex Bowman

2. Jimmie Johnson

3. Kyle Busch

4. William Byron

5. Erik Jones

6. Kevin Harvick

7. Cole Custer

8. Matt DiBenedetto

9. Tyler Reddick

10. Kyle Larson

11. Kurt Busch

12. Michael McDowell

13. David Ragan

14. Ross Chastain

15. Ty Dillon

16. Brendan Gaughan

17. Timmy Hill

18. Corey LaJoie

19. JJ Yeley

20. Brennan Poole

21. BJ McLeod

Pole qualifying results

1. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

2. Alex Bowman

3. Chase Elliott

4. Jimmie Johnson

5. Denny Hamlin

6. Kyle Busch

7. Aric Almirola

8. William Byron

9. Christopher Bell

10. Erik Jones

11. Joey Logano

12. Kevin Harvick

13. Clint Bowyer

14. Cole Custer

15. Ryan Newman

16. Matt DiBenedetto

17. Ryan Preece

18. Tyler Reddick

19. Chris Buescher

20. Kyle Larson

21. Martin Truex Jr.

22. Kurt Busch

23. Brad Keselowski

24. Michael McDowell

25. John Hunter Nemechek

26. David Ragan

27. Ryan Blaney

28. Ross Chastain

29. Austin Dillon

30. Ty Dillon

31. Justin Haley

32. Bubba Wallace

33. Brendan Gaughan

34. Reed Sorenson

35. Timmy Hill

36. Daniel Suarez

37. Corey LaJoie

38. Quin Houff

39. JJ Yeley

40. Brennan Poole

41. Chad Finchum

42. Joey Gase

43. BJ McLeod

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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