Smith Set For Daytona 500 Qualifying Race

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 13, 2011) -- Regan Smith's Pole Day qualifying effort Sunday landed him the 16th starting position in Thursday's first Gatorade Duel qualifying race at Daytona International Speedway.  

Sunday's Pole Day at the World Center of Racing locked in the front row for next Sunday's (Feb. 20) Daytona 500 and determined the starting positions for the 150-mile Duel races.

The results from the Duel races will determine the 43-car lineup for the Daytona 500. Thursday's first qualifying race is scheduled for noon MT and will be televised on SPEED. 

Smith's 28th fastest time Sunday out of 48 drivers was a result of his No. 78 Furniture Row Chevrolet posting a time and speed of 48.998 seconds at 183.681 miles per hour on the 2.5-mile oval.

"We're working hard and we are improving," said Smith. "We have three more days of practice plus the qualifying race to get us dialed in for the 500. We'll not only be looking for more speed in our Furniture Row Chevrolet, but also for a Daytona 500 drafting partner. It's like musical chairs -- you don't want to be the last guy without a chair, and you sure don't want to be the last driver without a dancing partner in the big race." 

The front row for the 500 was captured by the Hendrick Motorsports team with the pole going to Dale Earnhardt Jr. (186.089 mph) and the outside pole to Jeff Gordon (185.966 mph). 

The third through fifth fastest Pole Day drivers were: Trevor Bayne, Paul Menard and Clint Bowyer.