Budweiser Duels Set the Field for the Daytona 500

Duel #1 

The first Budweiser Duel was a fairly uneventful race. Austin Dillon took the lead at the start and most drivers lined up behind him in more of a “freight train” race. Kevin Harvick and A.J. Allmendinger were on the move with Allmendinger being fairly aggressive in his racecar. Reed Sorenson ended his race after a flat tire caused by issues with a brake caliper that sent him to the garage by halfway.

Matt Kenseth took the lead from Dillon and pretty much never looked back. Dale Earnhardt Jr. gambled on not taking any tires on his pit stop, even though he slid pretty good getting into his pits and flat spotted his tires, hanging on to see if the tires would hold out until the end of the race. The race itself was caution free, with an exciting finish between Matt Kenseth, Kevin Harvick, and Kasey Kahne, with Matt Kenseth coming out the victor of the first duel.

It was announced after the race that Kevin Harvick’s car had failed post race inspection which will send him to the rear of the field for the Daytona 500.

Duel #2

Brad Keselowski took off in the lead and for a while it looked like he was going to be the driver to beat. For the most part the drivers once again were pretty much single file. Kurt Busch had a good run along Landon Cassill and Casey Mears, however Mears would run out of gas with two laps to go. Pit stops took place with 24 laps to go out of the 60 lap race. This would put the end to Brad Keselowski’s good run as he was caught leaving pit road too fast and had to make a drive through penalty.

When pit stops were done, Denny Hamlin emerged as the new leader and took control of the race. As the final laps neared the drivers started to jockey for position and it was only a matter of time before something happened. On the last lap Jimmie Johnson was in the outside lane and ran out of gas triggering a seven car pile-up which would send Clint Bowyer upside down but luckily landing on all four tires instead of flipping more. Other cars involved were Michael Waltrip who took a pretty hard hit into the inside wall, Jamie McMurray, Carl Edwards, David Ragan, and Martin Truex Jr. After the smoke cleared Denny Hamlin was declared the winner.

In closing, seven out of the eight rookies did make it into the Daytona 500. Failing to make the field was Eric McClure, Ryan Truex, Joe Nemechek, Morgan Shepherd, and Michael McDowell. Several cars from the second duel will more than likely need to go to their back up cars sending them to the rear of the field for the Daytona 500 Sunday.

Official Starting Lineup for the Daytona 500 per nascar.com

Drivers marked with “#” signifies a rookie; a “(i)” signifies a driver is not eligible to earn points

Pos No. Driver Sponsor
1 3 Austin Dillon # DOW Chevrolet
2 78 Martin Truex. Jr. Furniture Row Chevrolet
3 20 Matt Kenseth Dollar General Toyota
4 11 Denny Hamlin FedEx Express Toyota
5 5 Kasey Kahne Farmers Insurance Chevrolet
6 24 Jeff Gordon Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet
7 9 Marcos Ambrose Stanley Ford
8 41 Kurt Busch Haas Automation Chevrolet
9 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. National Guard Chevrolet
10 27 Paul Menard Peak/Menards Chevrolet
11 98 Josh Wise Curb Records Ford
12 33 Brian Scott (i) Whitetail Chevrolet
13 43 Aric Almirola Smithfield Ford
14 21 Trevor Bayne (i) Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford
15 47 AJ Allmendinger Kroger/USO Chevrolet
16 42 Kyle Larson # Target Chevrolet
17 38 David Gilliland Love’s Travel Stops Ford
18 40 Landon Cassill (i) Hillman Racing Chevrolet
19 31 Ryan Newman Caterpillar Chevrolet
20 15 Clint Bowyer 5-hour Energy Toyota
21 14 Tony Stewart Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet
22 1 Jamie McMurray McDonald’s Chevrolet
23 26 Cole Whitt # Speed Stick Gear Toyota
24 32 Terry Labonte C&J Energy Services Ford
25 16 Greg Biffle 3M Ford
26 52 Bobby Labonte Phoenix Construction Chevrolet
27 10 Danica Patrick GoDaddy Chevrolet
28 13 Casey Mears GEICO Chevrolet
29 23 Alex Bowman # Dr. Pepper Toyota
30 99 Carl Edwards Fastenal Ford
31 55 Brian Vickers Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota
32 48 Jimmie Johnson Lowe’s Chevrolet
33 2 Brad Keselowski Miller Lite Ford
34 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Nationwide Insurance Ford
35 22 Joey Logano Shell Pennzoil Ford
36 7 Michael Annett # Pilot/Flying J Travel Centers Chevrolet
37 18 Kyle Busch M&M’s Toyota
38 4 Kevin Harvick Budweiser Chevrolet
39 36 Reed Sorenson Golden Corral Chevrolet
40 51 Justin Allgaier # Brandt Professional Agriculture Chevrolet
41 30 Parker Kligerman # Swan Energy Toyota
42 66 Michael Waltrip BlueDEF/AAA Toyota
43 34 David Ragan CSX – Play It Safe Ford

Failed to qualify: No. 35 Eric McClure, No. 83 Ryan Truex, No. 87 Joe Nemechek, No. 93 Morgan Shepherd, No. 95 Michael McDowell

Withdrew: No. 77 Dave Blaney



The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com

Michelle Lippold
Michelle Lippold
I've grown up watching racing of some sort from midgets to Stock Cars since I was a child. I run the FB page Everything NASCAR but really want to explore my love of writing and racing together. I love both things so I decided to try combining them.


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