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As qualifying for the Daytona 500 got underway, it must have been hard for Dale Earnhardt Jr. to watch as his first season of retirement got underway.

Then, the perfect remedy to any blues he was feeling came along when Alex Bowman, driving Junior’s old car for Junior’s old team, secured pole position for the Daytona 500. Dale went to Twitter to congratulate his replacement on a job well done:

Amy Earnhardt was also thrilled to see Bowman capture the pole.

With his great showing during qualifying, Alex Bowman will start out front, while Denny Hamlin locked in the second place starting spot for the Daytona 500.

Jimmie Johnson looked like he had a chance to start on the front row, as he sat in first with only two drivers to go. Unfortunately for him, those last two were Bowman and Hamlin, so Johnson will need to perform well at the Can Am duels on Thursday if he wants that third spot.

Qualifying was Bowman’s first competitive drive in the 88 car after taking over for Dale Earnhardt Jr.

The remaining qualifying spots will be determined Thursday at the Can-am duels, and the Daytona 500 is only one week away.

Related: Dale Jr.’s replacement does Junior Nation proud by winning the Daytona 500 pole

Dale Earnhardt Jr. congratulates his former team on their latest feat Sean Gardner / Stringer
Anthony Brown About the author:
Anthony Brown's crowning achievements are rebuilding a $500 Honda VFR and getting rid of his wife's beige Camry. He has owned nine cars in the last ten years, none of them automatic.
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