Austin Dillon has joined Kyle and Kurt Busch, and rookie Chase Elliott on the list of drivers newly eligible for next year’s Sprint Unlimited non-points special event as a result of their qualifying efforts in 2016. The non-points special event features pole winners from the previous season and traditionally kicks off Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway. Dillon earned the Number-1 starting spot for this past weekend’s Auto Club 400 in Fontana, California, with a speed of 188.482 miles per hour. He finished twenty-fourth in the race, one of thirty drivers running on the lead lap with winner Jimmie Johnson at the checkered flag.
Kurt Busch is the only one of those four drivers with multiple poles thus far. He led qualifying February 26th in Atlanta and followed one week later with a track record at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Busch heads into the Easter break seventh in the regular-season standings, twenty-two points outside the top five and forty-seven behind leader Kevin Harvick.