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Daytona 500 2012 Qualifying Lineup/Order: Your Handy Cheat Sheet

Unlike every other NASCAR race this season, the qualifying order for the Daytona 500 was not set by the first practice speeds but rather a random draw.

The lottery balls chose Paul Menard and Jamie McMurray to lead off today’s qualifying session (1 p.m. EST, FOX) – which determines the pole position and outside pole position for next Sunday’s 500 – and for David Stremme and Michael McDowell to wrap things up.

Drivers with top 35 owner points will still qualify first (as usual), followed by the drivers who don’t have guaranteed starting spots. That’s where the real drama is today, because three of those drivers (plus a past champion) will be able to lock themselves into the field based on speeds.

No one wants to have to wait until Thursday’s Gatorade Duel to get into the Daytona 500, so today’s session could be huge for drivers without the promise of a starting spot like Trevor Bayne, Michael Waltrip and Kenny Wallace.

Here’s the order of how they’ll roll off the grid today for Daytona 500 qualifying:

  • Paul Menard
  • Jamie McMurray
  • Kurt Busch
  • Casey Mears
  • Carl Edwards
  • Joey Logano
  • Denny Hamlin
  • Ryan Newman
  • Greg Biffle
  • Marcos Ambrose
  • Tony Stewart
  • Danica Patrick
  • Brad Keselowski
  • Aric Almirola
  • Bobby Labonte
  • Jeff Gordon
  • Jeff Burton
  • Kevin Harvick
  • Juan Pablo Montoya
  • AJ Allmendinger
  • Elliott Sadler
  • Kyle Busch
  • Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  • Jimmie Johnson
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  • Landon Cassill
  • Martin Truex Jr.
  • Matt Kenseth
  • Regan Smith
  • Mark Martin
  • Kasey Kahne
  • Clint Bowyer
  • David Reutimann
  • David Ragan
  • David Gilliland
Then come the drivers who aren’t into the top 35 and therefore don’t have a guaranteed spot for the Daytona 500. Remember: Three of these drivers will make the field today, plus either Terry Labonte or Bill Elliott (past champions):
  • Bill Elliott
  • Joe Nemechek
  • Trevor Bayne
  • Michael Waltrip
  • Kenny Wallace
  • Dave Blaney
  • Tony Raines
  • Mike Wallace
  • Terry Labonte
  • Robert Richardson Jr.
  • JJ Yeley
  • Robby Gordon
  • David Stremme
  • Michael McDowell