Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth win Gatorade Duels at Daytona

Duel 1

Tony Stewart wins first Gatorade Duel

The Gatorade Duel Qualifying race for the Daytona 500 had some fireworks. Tony Stewart was victorious in the race followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr., Marcos Ambrose, Jeff Burton, and Carl Edwards. Michael McDowell and Robby Gordon earn starting spots in the Daytona 500. 

The first incident of the day occurred in between turn 1 and 2 when David Gilliland came up across the track after being tapped in the rear left corner by Michael McDowell. When Gilliland came up across the track he collected Paul Menard and Juan Pablo Montoya. Brad Keselowski also had minor damage. Gilliland, Montoya, Menard will have to start from rear of the Daytona 500 due to having to go to back up cars. 

After a long stretch of a green flag run, we started to see green flag pit stops. When Denny Hamlin and Marcos Ambrose pitted for stops together so they could have each other to draft with once they got back out onto the track. 
For the first time in a few years, the pack overtook the two car tandem and Ambrose and Hamlin both went a lap down. 

After Michael Waltrip took a pit stop he came back onto the track and with no help at the beginning of the backstretch got loose and turned up head first into the wall and ruined his chances of racing in this year’s Daytona 500. 

On the final restart with 4 laps to go. Tony Stewart and Kevin Harvick were out front. On the final lap on the backstretch, Jamie McMurray got into Aric Almirola which sent Almirola’s car into Danica Patrick’s car spinning head on into the inside wall on the backstretch causing some of the barrier to give and her car was totaled. Danica was fine after the wreck. In an interview with SPEED Danica described the wreck; she said it “Happened really quick.” At the end of the interview she says (laughing) “maybe the back-up car will be faster.” 

When the caution came out, the race went to yellow and Tony Stewart won. After the race Stewart commented on Michael Waltrip missing the 500, Tony said “Michael Waltrip eats, sleeps and breathes Daytona and Talladega. It’ll be a shame if he misses (the 500).”  

Trevor Bayne, who is already locked into 500, failed to finish in top 2 Go-or-Go homers spots which means in Duel 2 Kenny Wallace will have to race his way into the Daytona 500. After a crazy first duel we’ll see what the second one brings.

Duel 1 Results

Duel 2
Matt Kenseth wins Duel 2 at Daytona

A very cautious and quiet duel 2 ended up with Matt Kenseth winning the race. Dave Blaney and Joe Nemechek raced their way into the Daytona 500. Most of the race had little action, teams were very cautious not to wreck their Daytona 500 cars. 

Kenny Wallace’s car lost the draft halfway through the race and never re-grouped and he will miss the Daytona 500. 

The most action occurred at the last 2 laps. Going to the white flag Matt Kenseth and Jimmie Johnson got a run drafting each other and when Greg Biffle tried to move up in front of them he slid up the track and Kenseth and Johnson moved lower down the track and continued on. At the end of the backstretch on the final lap, Regan Smith and Jimmie Johnson made contact which allowed Matt Kenseth to pull ahead and win the race. 

Finishing 2nd was Regan Smith and 3rd was Jimmie Johnson. The 2nd race had much more of a qualifying race feel to it. Expect the Daytona 500 to be more like the first Gatorade Duel.

Duel 2 Results

Daytona 500 Line up

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