It's Burton's first-ever pole for NASCAR's biggest race and he credited a big gust of wind for aiding him on his fast lap at Daytona International Speedway.
"You lay your cards on the table when you pull out there," Burton said. "There is really nothing you can do to control the wind. We just got lucky and caught that. That's the best wind we've had down here in all of testing and everything else. It just played in our hands and we had a car that could take advantage of it."
Jeff Gordon, the Daytona 500 defending champion, made it an all-Chevy front row with a lap of 188.877 mph at the 2 1/2-mile superspeedway.
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But Gordon wasn't buying into Burton's wind theory.
"Jeff Burton is a wise veteran. Don't believe all of that," Gordon said. "When you are in the car, you can't tell if the wind is blowing or not. I knew it was going to be really close. We weren't dropping from what we were yesterday, but I couldn't tell you if it was a pole run or a 21st-place run."
Three-time Daytona 500 winner Dale Jarrett qualified third at 188.849 mph in a Ford Fusion, followed by Robert Yates Racing teammate Elliott Sadler, who raced a lap of 188.810 mph.
Burton's team owner Richard Childress usually has a car at Daytona capable of winning any race. That was the case in the days of the late Dale Earnhardt, who won a Daytona record 34 races in all stock car categories at this track.
Earnhardt was killed when he crashed in the last turn of the last lap of the 2001 Daytona 500. Since that time, Richard Childress has qualified well with Jeff Green winning the pole for the 2003 Daytona 500. But the team hasn't been able to return to victory lane at this track.
Burton hopes to change that next Sunday.
"We have enough tools at RCR to compete at a very high level," Burton said. "We have the tools to compete and one of the reasons Richard wanted me to join the team was to do that. I've won down here before and I've only sat in a car one time that felt like it would. You have to have a fast car that will drive well to win. You have to have a fast car and I believe that we do."
Burton won the 2000 Pepsi 400 at Daytona for his lone victory at this historic speedway.
Although Gordon won last year's Daytona 500 victory for the third time in his career, the rest of his season was a disappointment as he never made the 10-driver Chase for the Championship. He is hopeful that a fast start at Daytona will change that and allow him to regain the form that helped him win four Cup series titles.
"It's great. I'm really excited about being on the front row," Gordon said. "We are as hungry and fired up as we've ever been. We have youth and experience. It's all about chemistry and I'm seeing that chemistry back in our team
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