The season opening race for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is the Daytona 500 and for the 55th time the lineup is set for the “Great American Race.”
Unlike any of the other 35 races for the season, the field was set by two qualifying races in the Budweiser Duels. Both 150-mile twin races were run today as Kevin Harvick won the first duel while Kyle Busch won the second.
They will start third and fourth respectively one row behind Danica Patrick and Jeff Gordon in Sunday’s 500 mile race who’s starting spots were guaranteed after earning the front row in last Sunday’s qualifying.
Both duels didn’t show too much excitement as only two cars were going to go home as only 45 cars were entered. The drivers decided to keep it calm for majority of both races and didn’t do much racing until after the first and only round of pit stops. In what was rare for Daytona, both races came down to fuel and pit strategy as it was incredibly hard to pass and make a “winning move” on the final lap.
The only wreck of the day was on Lap 52 in the first duel when Denny Hamlin lost control of his No. 11 FedEx Toyota and slammed into the right rear of Carl Edwards. The wrecked also collected Trevor Bayne who prior to his pit stop dominated the race.
The second race was run caution and drama free as once everyone know Brian Keselowski didn’t advance past the first race and Mike Bliss fell five laps down early would be locked in. No one wanted to tear up their race cars and force extra work on their crews so they raced tame. Busch’s crew chief Dave Rogers made a bold move of fuel only on his pit stop and that proved to be the winning move of the race.
Below is the starting line-up for Sunday’s race that can be seen live on FOX at 1 PM ET.
Daytona 500 Starting Line-Up
Row 1: Danica Patrick, Jeff Gordon
Row 2: Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch
Row 3: Greg Biffle, Kasey Kahne
Row 4: Juan Pablo Montoya, Austin Dillon R
Row 5: Jimmie Johnson, Clint Bowyer
Row 6: Kurt Busch, Matt Kenseth
Row 7: Tony Stewart, Mark Martin
Row 8: Brad Keselowski, Paul Menard
Row 9: Casey Mears, Jeff Burton
Row 10: Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jamie McMurray
Row 11: Joey Logano, David Ragan
Row 12: Bobby Labonte, Marco Ambrose
Row 13: David Gilliland, Aric Almirola
Row 14: Joe Nemechek, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. R
Row 15: Michael Waltrip, Dave Blaney
Row 16: Scott Speed, Josh Wise
Row 17: Trevor Bayne, Ryan Newman
Row 18: Denny Hamlin, Carl Edwards
Row 19: Martin Truex Jr., Michael McDowell
Row 20: Terry Labonte, Regan Smith
Row 21: J.J. Yeley, David Reutimann
Row 22: Travis Kvapil
DNQ: Mike Bliss, Brian Keselowski
Follow Eric Smith on Twitter @ericsportsguru for all NASCAR and IndyCar news and updates
The post Daytona 500: Line-up set for Sunday’s race as Kevin Harvick/Kyle Busch Win Budweiser Duels appeared first on Race Review Online.