Open Race Thread: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Gatorade Duel at Daytona | Daytona International Speedway

DAYTONA BEACH FL - FEBRUARY 17: Ryan Newman driver of the #39 U.S. Army Chevrolet leads the field at the start of the first race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Gatorade Duel at Daytona International Speedway on February 17 2011 in Daytona Beach Florida. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Updated: 1:05 p.m. EST - Question and answers from the pre-race drivers meeting.

Weather permitting...

For 10 drivers, Thursday is the most important day of their racing lives.

Today's Gatordade Duel at Daytona will determine the Daytona fates of Kenny Wallace, Dave Blaney, Michael Waltrip, Bill Elliott, Joe Nemechek, J.J. Yeley, Mike Wallace, Robby Gordon, Robert Richardson Jr. and Michael McDowell.

Only four of the 10 will qualify for the Daytona 500.

The other 35 drivers are already locked in, headlined by Duel pole sitters Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle. Assuming both drivers will not go to a backup car, they will start the Daytona 500 on the front row regardless of where they finish.

Positions 3-43 are yet to be decided, laying the foundation for an exciting mix of drivers racing for their Daytona lives and those hoping to build momentum for Sunday's Daytona 500.

For fans, Thursday is about maximizing your value. There are two races at a combined 350 miles, with the added bonus of big pack racing, and no event on the schedule holds more excitement or anticipation as the Gatorade Duel at Daytona.

Duel #2

Greg Biffle and Casey Mears will lead the field to the start of Gatorade Duel #2.

Much like teammate Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle will weigh the opportunity to test race conditions versus taking care of his car. The second Duel is traditionally a safer race, a fact not lost on Biffle's team.

Three cars will go to the back of the pack -- Kasey Kahne, for going to a backup car. Bill Elliott and Clint Bowyer will go to the rear of the field for an engine change and failing post-qualifying tech respectively.

Duel #1

Carl Edwards and Dale Earnhardt Jr. will share the front row for the first duel. The Blue Ovals were fastest in single-car runs but have yet to prove they can win in the big Daytona packs. Dale Earnhardt Jr. has been the fastest Chevrolet throughout Speedweeks. What a statement it would be if Earnhardt Jr. could win his Duel and stake an early claim on the Harley J. Earl Trophy.

Danica Patrick will also make her unofficial Sprint Cup debut in her first race for Tommy Baldwin Racing powered by Stewart-Hass. Patrick has proven herself capable of contending for plate race victories. But she hasn't experienced anything quite like the big-pack she'll find herself in today. She rolls off 17th.

Go-or-go-homers in Duel 1 include: Mike Wallace, Robby Gordon, Michael McDowell, and Michael Waltrip.

Weather Permitting

Weather is a concern as a line of showers is passing just north of the track. The storm is projected to miss the speedway but it's worth keeping an eye on. The projected forecast called for a 10% chance of rain.

The Gatorade Duel at Daytona is set to begin at 2 p.m. EST and will be broadcast live on Speed. See you in the comments section!

Starting Line Up by Row, Daytona International Speedway, Gatorade Duel 1
Provided by NASCAR Statistics - Sun, February 19, 2012 @ 05:03 PM Eastern
Row Pos Car Driver Team
Row 1: 1 99 Carl Edwards Fastenal Ford
Row 1: 2 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Diet Mountain Dew/National Guard Chevrolet
Row 2: 3 9 Marcos Ambrose Stanley Ford
Row 2: 4 6 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.(i) Ford EcoBoost Ford
Row 3: 5 21 ^ Trevor Bayne(i) Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire&Auto Center Ford
Row 3: 6 14 Tony Stewart Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet
Row 4: 7 43 Aric Almirola Smithfield Helping Hungry Homes Ford
Row 4: 8 27 Paul Menard Menards/Peak Chevrolet
Row 5: 9 34 David Ragan Scorpion Truck Bedliners Ford
Row 5: 10 22 AJ Allmendinger Shell Pennzoil Dodge
Row 6: 11 2 Brad Keselowski Miller Lite Dodge
Row 6: 12 29 Kevin Harvick Budweiser Chevrolet
Row 7: 13 31 Jeff Burton Caterpillar Chevrolet
Row 7: 14 42 Juan Pablo Montoya Target Chevrolet
Row 8: 15 30 ^ David Stremme Inception Motorsports Toyota
Row 8: 16 1 Jamie McMurray Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevrolet
Row 9: 17 10 Danica Patrick(i) GoDaddy.com Chevrolet
Row 9: 18 32 ^ Terry Labonte C&J Energy Ford
Row 10: 19 40 ^ Michael Waltrip AaronsDream Machine Toyota
Row 10: 20 11 Denny Hamlin FedEx Express Toyota
Row 11: 21 98 ^ Michael McDowell No.98 KLOVE/Curb Records Ford Ford
Row 11: 22 83 Landon Cassill Burger King Toyota
Row 12: 23 38 David Gilliland MHP/Power Pak Pudding Ford
Row 12: 24 37 ^ Mike Wallace(i) Poynt.com Ford
Row 13: 25 7 ^ Robby Gordon MAPEI/Menards/SPEED Energy Dodge

Did Not Qualify: None.
Manufacturer Starting Lineup DNQs Manufacturer Starting Lineup DNQs
Chevrolet 8 0 Ford 10 0
Dodge 3 0 Toyota 4 0

(i) Ineligible for driver points in this series


Starting Line Up by Row, Daytona International Speedway, Gatorade Duel 2
Provided by NASCAR Statistics - Sun, February 19, 2012 @ 05:03 PM Eastern
Row Pos Car Driver Team
Row 1: 1 16 Greg Biffle 3M Ford
Row 1: 2 13 Casey Mears GEICO Ford
Row 2: 3 24 Jeff Gordon Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet
Row 2: 4 56 Martin Truex Jr. NAPA Auto Parts Toyota
Row 3: 5 55 Mark Martin Aaron Toyota
Row 3: 6 48 Jimmie Johnson Lowe Chevrolet
Row 4: 7 17 Matt Kenseth Best Buy Ford
Row 4: 8 39 Ryan Newman U.S. ARMY/Quicken Loans Chevrolet
Row 5: 9 20 Joey Logano The Home Depot Toyota
Row 5: 10 5 Kasey Kahne Farmers Insurance Chevrolet
Row 6: 11 26 ^ Tony Raines(i) Front Row Motorsports Ford
Row 6: 12 18 Kyle Busch M&M Brown Toyota
Row 7: 13 09 ^ Kenny Wallace(i) American Ethanol Toyota
Row 7: 14 36 ^ Dave Blaney Ollie Bargain Outlet Chevrolet
Row 8: 15 51 Kurt Busch Hendrickcars.com Chevrolet
Row 8: 16 33 Elliott Sadler(i) General Mills/Kroger Chevrolet
Row 9: 17 87 ^ Joe Nemechek(i) AM FM Energy Wood&Pellet Stoves Toyota
Row 9: 18 78 Regan Smith Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet
Row 10: 19 47 Bobby Labonte Kroger Toyota
Row 10: 20 97 ^ Bill Elliott AM FM Energy Wood&Pellet Stoves Toyota
Row 11: 21 93 David Reutimann Burger King Toyota
Row 11: 22 23 ^ Robert Richardson Jr.(i) North Texas Pipe Toyota
Row 12: 23 49 ^ JJ Yeley America Israel Racing Toyota
Row 12: 24 15 Clint Bowyer 5-hour Energy Toyota

Did Not Qualify: None.
Manufacturer Starting Lineup DNQs Manufacturer Starting Lineup DNQs
Chevrolet 8 0 Ford 4 0
Dodge 0 0 Toyota 12 0
(i) Ineligible for driver points in this series


X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.