Driving a Pontiac owned by Felix Sabates with crew chief Robin Pemberton, Petty claimed the 500 pole but finished the race 31st after a crash that sidelined him after 170 of 200 laps.
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9. David Gilliland, 2007
In Gilliland’s first full season in the Sprint Cup Series, he claimed the Daytona 500 pole from Robert Yates Racing teammate Ricky Rudd. Gilliland went on to finish eighth.
8. Mark Martin, 2010
For his career, Martin was one of NASCAR’s top drivers, but he absolutely abhorred restrictor-plate racing. That makes his Daytona 500 pole something of a surprise.
7. Austin Dillon, 2014
Part of the significance of Dillon’s pole is that it came in his rookie season. But of greater importance was the fact that he did it in the first outing for the No. 3 since Dale Earnhardt’s death in 2001.
6. Mike Skinner, 1997
In 286 career Sprint Cup starts, Skinner claimed just six poles. The first one came in the 1997 Daytona 500, driving for Richard Childress Racing.
5. Ramo Stott, 1976
The Iowa born journeyman made only 35 starts in NASCAR’s premier division between 1967 and ’84. His only pole came in the Daytona 500 of 1976, when he was 41 years old.
4. Danica Patrick, 2013
In her rookie season, Patrick shocked the world and made national headlines by becoming the first woman to claim the Daytona 500 pole. She was in third place when she took the white flag and finished in the top 10.
3. Jeff Green, 2003
Driving a Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet with America Online sponsorship, Green took the first of only two career poles in 269 career Sprint Cup starts.
2. Curtis Turner, 1967
Chevrolet wasn’t even in racing when Curtis Turned stunned the world by taking the ’67 Daytona pole. It turned out that the No. 13 Smokey Yunick-owned Chevrolet Chevelle was actually only 7/8th-size compared to a stock Chevelle.
1. Loy Allen Jr., 1994
Arguably the biggest shocker in Daytona 500 pole history, unheralded Loy Allen Jr. took the top spot 21 years ago driving a Ford Thunderbird with Hooters sponsorship. Allen wound up with just one top-10 finish in 48 career Sprint Cup starts.