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Daytona GarageCam prepares for the Duels
GarageCam host Matthew Dillner takes you around the garage at Daytona International Speedway as the drivers of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series prepare for the Can-Am Duels and the Daytona 500.
Complete Daytona Duels lineups by race
See the full field for Thursday's duels that help set the Daytona 500 lineup Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live " Buy: Pole Winner Gear While Sunday's group qualifying set the front row for the Daytona 500 (Feb. 22, 1 p.m. ET, FOX), a majority of the spots for the rest of the field will be made up by how drivers fare in the Daytona Duels on Thursday night (7 p.m., FOX Sports 1). Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson will be on the front row for the Great American Race and will also have the pole spots for their respective duels . Gordon won the Coors Light Pole Award for the Daytona 500. RELATED: Why Dale Jr., Hamlin moved to back of Duels field Here are the complete lineups for both races. BUDWEISER DUEL #1 Pos Car # Driver Team 1 No. 24 Jeff Gordon Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet 2 No. 20 Matt Kenseth Dollar General Toyota 3 No. 5 Kasey Kahne Farmers Insurance Chevrolet 4 No. 33 Ty Dillon Cheerios/Kroger Chevrolet 5 No. 1 Jamie McMurray Cessna/McDonald's Chevrolet 6 No. 83 Johnny Sauter Dustless Blasting Toyota 7 No. 6 Trevor Bayne Advocare Ford 8 No. 43 Aric Almirola Smithfield Ford 9 No. 2 Brad Keselowski Miller Lite Ford 10 No. 22 Joey Logano Shell Pennzoil Ford 11 No. 23 JJ Yeley MAXIM Fantasy Sports App/Dr. Pepper Toyota 12 No. 27 Paul Menard Peak/Menards Chevrolet 13 No. 47 AJ Allmendinger Kroger/USO Chevrolet 14 No. 4 Kevin Harvick Budweiser/Jimmy John's Chevrolet 15 No. 14 Tony Stewart Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet 16 No. 13 Casey Mears GEICO Chevrolet 17 No. 46 Michael Annett Flying J/Pilot Chevrolet 18 No. 42 Kyle Larson Target Chevrolet 19 No. 95 Michael McDowell Thrivent Financial Ford 20 No. 15 Clint Bowyer 5-hour Energy Toyota 21 No. 29 Justin Marks American Born Moonshine Toyota 22 No. 35 Cole Whitt Speed Stick Ford 23 No. 40 Landon Cassill Carsforsale.com Chevrolet 24 No. 30 Ron Hornaday Jr. Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff Chevrolet 25 No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Nationwide Chevrolet BUDWEISER DUEL #2 Pos Car # Driver Team 1 No. 48 Jimmie Johnson Lowe's Chevrolet 2 No. 18 Kyle Busch M&M's Crispy Toyota 3 No. 19 Carl Edwards Arris Toyota 4 No. 3 Austin Dillon DOW Chevrolet 5 No. 78 Martin Truex Jr. Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet 6 No. 16 Greg Biffle Ortho Ford 7 No. 9 Sam Hornish Jr. Twisted Tea Ford 8 No. 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Fastenal Ford 9 No. 21 Ryan Blaney Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford 10 No. 55 Michael Waltrip Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota 11 No. 32 Bobby Labonte C&J Energy Services Ford 12 No. 7 Alex Bowman Toy State/Nikko Chevrolet 13 No. 31 Ryan Newman Caterpillar Chevrolet 14 No. 41 Kurt Busch Haas Automation Chevrolet 15 No. 10 Danica Patrick GoDaddy Chevrolet 16 No. 62 Brian Scott Shore Lodge Chevrolet 17 No. 51 Justin Allgaier Brandt Chevrolet 18 No. 38 David Gilliland Love's Travel Stop Ford 19 No. 26 Jeb Burton LiveDeal.com Download the App Toyota 20 No. 44 Reed Sorenson Golden Corral Chevrolet 21 No. 34 David Ragan Kentucky Fried Chicken Ford 22 No. 98 Josh Wise Phoenix Construction Ford 23 No. 66 Mike Wallace Crazy Vapors/X8 Energy Gum Toyota 24 No. 11 Denny Hamlin FedEx Express Toyota MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today
Snapshot: Daytona Duels
Get caught up before tonight's non-points races (7 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1) Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live What: 57th annual Budweiser Duels at Daytona qualifying races. Where: Daytona International Speedway, 2.5-mile tri-oval in Daytona Beach, Florida. When: Thursday, Feb. 19; 7 p.m. ET (Duel 1), Approx. 8:30 p.m.ET (Duel 2). TV/Radio: FOX Sports 1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. Distance: 60 laps; 150 miles (Two races). Pit road speed: 55 mph Caution car speed: 70 mph Fuel window: 34 laps On the front row: Daytona 500 Coors Light Pole winner Jeff Gordon and Matt Kenseth will start on the front row of the first duel. Outside Daytona 500 pole winner Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch will start on the front row of the second duel. " See tonight's full lineups On the line: The top 15 finishers (not including Gordon and Johnson) from each duel will fill out the top-30 starting positions in Sunday's Daytona 500 (1 p.m. ET, FOX). The rest of the 43-car starting field will be filled according to Daytona 500 qualifying times from Sunday, owner's points and NASCAR provisional starting position rules. Fastest in practice Practice 1: Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Roush Fenway Racing No. 17 Ford (202.643 mph). " Practice results Practice 2: Michael McDowell, Leavine Family Racing No. 95 Ford (199.322 mph). " Practice results Practice 3: Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Toyota (200.776 mph). " Practice results Practice 4: Alex Bowman, Tommy Baldwin Racing No. 7 Chevrolet (200.495 mph). " Practice results Practice 5: Kyle Larson, Chip Ganassi Racing No. 42 Chevrolet (192.699 mph). " Practice results Last year's winners : Matt Kenseth (Duel 1) and Denny Hamlin (Duel 2) completed a Joe Gibbs Racing sweep History lesson: Interestingly, a qualifying race winner has gone on to win the Daytona 500 only eight times in 56 years. Last year's Daytona 500 champ Dale Earnhardt Jr. was the last to win both a Duel and the 500 -- doing so in 2004. His father Dale Earnhardt accomplished the feat in 1998. Cale Yarborough is the only driver to do it multiple times (1977 and 1984). Through the field: Several regular Daytona front-runners will have their work cut out tonight. Defending Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Denny Hamlin -- who posted the third fastest time in the final qualifying round -- will have to start from the rear of their respective fields after having their qualifying times disallowed. Former Daytona 500 pole winner Danica Patrick has had to go to a back-up car after being involved in a four-car crash during practice on Wednesday. " WATCH: Danica's car destroyed They said it: "You don't want to tear the car up, but the goal is to go out there and win the race. It just feels wrong to worry more about keeping the car in one piece than winning an event. You're in that event to compete and to win. If we were locked in the front row, we might have a different opinion about that. But we're not.'' -- Three-time Duel winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Despite early Duels exit, Mears makes Daytona 500
Driver of the No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet gets into the 43-car field Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live " Buy Daytona 500 gear RELATED: Daytona 500 starting lineup DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Casey Mears' hopes for making his 11th Daytona 500 start turned murky in a cloud of smoke early during Thursday night's Budweiser Duels . When the smoke lifted from all the crashes in both 150-mile qualifiers, Mears' murky future became clear -- he's in. Mears was among the biggest names in limbo for the 43-car field in Sunday's Great American Race (1 p.m. ET, FOX), the season opener for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Engine failure after just 17 laps in the opening 60-lap race sidelined the 36-year-old veteran, who finished 26th in last year's final standings. "I don't have any thoughts right now other than everything's bad," a dejected Mears said after his early exit. "The nature of this place has been really good to us in the past, and obviously when something like this happens you just feel so helpless. It's really out of your control. You want a fighting chance." Those left on the outside of the elite group of 43: Alex Bowman, Jeb Burton, Ron Hornaday Jr., Justin Marks, Brian Scott and Josh Wise -- each of whom endured their own brand of heartache on a cold Thursday night in Florida. After the first race, Mears joined AJ Allmendinger, Johnny Sauter and others in tense moments of scoreboard-watching in the second Duel race, waiting to see if their body of work in Speedweeks would be enough to make the main event. Allmendinger, a qualifier for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs last year, wound up with enough stature in the team owner points to advance; Sauter -- 12th in Sunday's qualifying (after Hamlin's time was disallowed), but with a team 41st in owner points last season -- made the race on the basis of his qualifying speed. WATCH: Sauter, Allmendinger involved in wreck Mears was mired in the thick of a dense pack with the opening 60-lap qualifier barely a quarter of the way in, riding the high line in hopes of clinching a starting berth. Just past the start-finish line, the engine in the Germain Racing No. 13 Chevrolet went south with a hole in the oil pan, the car smoking steadily as he lost power. By the time the car was pushed back to the garage, Mears seemed resigned to going home early though two-thirds of the race remained. He wound up with a last-place result in the 25-car field. With just a 28th-fastest lap from last Sunday's qualifying and the team's 26th-place position in the 2014 standings to fall back on, it was close to not being enough. "There's so many things that are so cool about this race track, yet there's so many things that are out of your control," Mears said. "When we have something like this happen, it's difficult any way it happens. It doesn't look good, obviously. I'm guessing we're going home unless something major happens in the second race or something happens in this one. I don't even know what to say. It just rips your heart out. "We're so good at these places, yet these are the places that anything can happen, and anything happened tonight." Sauter took the worst of his collision with Allmendinger in the 2.5-mile track's trioval, despite taking it easy in the first half of the race. "I just was riding along on the top side there, just trying to mind my own business," Sauter said. "We were in a tight spot there going back to qualifying, if you're in on speed or not. We deliberated about it all week, just do we try to be conservative, do we try to race. I thought I was doing everything right, just hanging out in the top groove." MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
How the Can-Am Duels set the Daytona 500 field
RELATED: Complete lineups for the Can-Am Duels The two-round, single-car qualifying that took place Feb. 14 at Daytona International Speedway set the front row for the Daytona 500 (Feb. 21, 1 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate Chase Elliott (No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet) earned the pole and Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota) will join him on the front row after posting the second fastest qualifying speed. The two will start from the pole in their respective Can-Am Duel races on Thursday night (first duel is 7 p.m. ET, FS1; second duel is approximately 9 p.m. ET, FS1). The Can-Am Duels will set the remaining starting spots and the field for the 58th running of the "Great American Race." WHO IS IN THE FIELD? The Charter system has locked in 36 of the 40 spots. That means the four remaining spots in the field will go to Open, non-Charter teams. There are eight Open teams attempting to qualify for the Daytona 500 . " READ MORE: Which 36 teams have Charters? Two of the four spots for Open teams were locked up in single-car qualifying based on which Open teams were the fastest: Ryan Blaney (No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford) and Matt DiBenedetto (No. 93 BK Racing Toyota). These two drivers are guaranteed spots in the Daytona 500 field. RELATED: Blaney, DiBenedetto lock up spots in Daytona field HOW CAN AN 'OPEN' TEAM STILL GET IN? That leaves two spots up for grabs among the six remaining Open teams yet to lock themselves into the field. The top finisher among the Open teams in each Duel will earn a spot in the Daytona 500 . Should that be Blaney (in Duel 1) and/or DiBenedetto (in Duel 2), then the guaranteed spot based on qualifying speeds would move to the next fastest Open team in qualifying. Michael McDowell (No. 59 Leavine Family Racing Ford) and Robert Richardson Jr. (No. 26 BK Racing Toyota) have the next fastest speeds. The other Open teams in the mix to make the field are: Cole Whitt (No. 98 Premium Motorsports Toyota), David Gilliland (No. 35 Front Row Motorsports Ford), Josh Wise (No. 30 The Motorsports Group Chevrolet) and Reed Sorenson (No. 40 Hillman Racing Chevrolet). These four must qualify via the Can-Am Duels . RELATED: Complete list of Daytona qualifying speeds HOW IS THE 40-CAR LINEUP SET? For the Daytona 500 , Elliott and Kenseth will be on the front row. Starting spots 3 through 38 will be determined by the results of the Duels . Drivers in the first Duel race will line up on the inside row for the Daytona 500 (odd-number starting position), based on the order in which they finish the Duel race. Drivers in the second Duel race will line up on the outside row for the the Daytona 500 (even-number starting positions), based on the order in which they finish the Duel race. For example, the winner of the first Duel (if not Elliott), will line up third; the winner of the second Duel (if not Kenseth) will line up fourth and so on. The top Open team finisher in each Duel will make the 500 field. Should the top Open finisher in a Duel have also posted one of the top two speeds in qualifying among Open teams (Blaney or DiBenedetto), the Duel result is accepted and the next fastest Open car in qualifying would make the field. The final two starting spots in the field, spots 39 and 40, will go to the two Open teams that made the field based on qualifying speed. WHAT IF THE DUELS ARE RAINED OUT? If both Duels are canceled due to weather, officials will use qualifying results to determine the four Open teams that would advance. In this case that would be Blaney, DiBenedetto, McDowell and Richardson. Should only the second Can-Am Duel be canceled due to weather, the highest finishing Open team from the first Duel would earn a starting berth, with the remaining three positions determined based on qualifying results. In the event of a rain out, the full field will be set according to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rule Book.
Earnhardt Jr., Johnson win Daytona Duels
Danica Patrick rallies late to make Daytona 500 field Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live " Buy Daytona 500 gear RELATED: Daytona Duel #1 results " Daytona Duel #2 results " Daytona 500 starting lineup DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.—Hendrick Motorsports swept the front-row starting positions for Sunday's Daytona 500. Apparently enjoying the feeling, HMS then swept Thursday's Budweiser Duel at Daytona twin 150-mile qualifying races. Dale Earnhardt Jr. came from his last-place starting position to win Thursday night's first Budweiser Duel at Daytona 150-mile qualifying race at Daytona International Speedway, as unsung heroes behind him diced their way into the 57th running of the Great American Race (1 p.m. ET on FOX). Jimmie Johnson, on the pole for the second Duel and already locked into the outside of the front row for the Daytona 500, completed the Hendrick sweep with a .125-second victory over Kyle Busch, leading 40 laps in the process. MORE: Driver Reports previews the Daytona 500 In a drama-filled second Duel, both Danica Patrick and David Ragan recovered from wrecks to race their way into the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series' most prestigious race, Patrick with a strong push from Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Kurt Busch. For the second time during Speedweeks, Patrick was involved in a crash with Denny Hamlin, and the two drivers had an extended animated conversation as soon as the cars parked on pit road. Earnhardt started 25th in the first Duel because his qualifying time was disallowed after inspectors discovered a ride-height violation on his No. 88 Chevrolet after Sunday's time trials. Undeterred, Earnhardt worked his way methodically to the front, grabbing the lead for the first time on Lap 35. All told, Earnhardt led 21 laps and crossed the finish line .165 seconds ahead of Hendrick Motorsports teammate and Daytona 500 polesitter Jeff Gordon. As the winner of the first Duel, Earnhardt will line up behind Gordon in the third spot on the grid for Sunday's race. MORE: Danica rallies to make Daytona 500 " Mears makes Daytona 500 field In the non-points qualifier, Earnhardt won for the first time with new crew chief Greg Ives, who took over this season for Steve Letarte, hired by NBC Sports as a television analyst. "We have had a great car all week," Earnhardt said. "I'm so glad to be able to get through the Duel in one piece, because I know how good this race car is. We have a couple more practices to go through and try to stay out of trouble during those and put this thing on the grid. We're going to have a fun day on Sunday. "We had to do a lot of blocking there at the end, but those guys were mounting some pretty hard charges. We made a lot of good moves tonight because the car is so good. TJ Majors (spotter) deserves a ton of credit for helping us win that race tonight. He called a great spotting job up on top of the hill there. He gave me all the information I needed to make the moves I needed to kind of keep them guys behind me." Joey Logano came home third, followed by Tony Stewart and Clint Bowyer, whose fifth-place finish in a backup car represented a stroke of good fortune during an otherwise star-crossed week at the 2.5-mile superspeedway. The real drama in the first Duel, however, took place behind the frontrunners, as Landon Cassill (ninth), Cole Whitt (10th), Michael McDowell (12th), JJ Yeley (13th), Michael Annett (14th) and Ty Dillon (16th) all earned starting spots in the 500. McDowell made the most dramatic move, forcing his way up the middle and racing from the tail end of the field to 12th place on the final lap. "When I crossed that white flag (to start the last lap) I was thinking, 'I have to do this. I don't know what we're gonna do, I don't know how we're gonna do it, but we've just got to do it,'" McDowell said. "You can't make these cars go faster. I had a run that was building and there wasn't a gap and I made a gap. "I tore up both sides of the race car in the process of doing it and had to block some people, and probably upset a few people along the way, but this race is so important for us to make…" WATCH: Bayne involved in late wreck For Johnson, the win in the second Duel was a continuation of a week that couldn’t have gone better. "It's a special night," Johnson said. "What a race car. I'm stoked for my teammate (Dale Earnhardt Jr.) to win the first Duel. We won the second, and Jeff (Gordon) and I have the front row locked down. It's been an awesome week for all our Hendrick Motorsports cars. "I'm just happy to start out the week like we have." On Lap 57 of the second Duel, Patrick spun in Turn 3 after Hamlin made a move to her inside in very close quarters. "I mean, we're superspeedway racing," Hamlin said, after he and Patrick went their separate ways. "I treat her as equal as anyone on the race track. She deserves her spot here, but you have to be able to run close to somebody on a superspeedway. You have to have your car stable enough to handle those situations and, to me, it's not much different than what it was with the 22 (Joey Logano) and the 4 (Kevin Harvick) last week (in the Sprint Unlimited) - only I wasn't pushing her. "I was just close to her and her car got loose and she spun. Thank goodness she got her way in the 500. I didn't want to be responsible for that. I treat her as an equal on the race track. I'm not going to say, 'It's Danica, so I've got to make sure I just leave some extra room.' If you're out here in the Cup Series, you have to be able to handle those situations." MORE: See all the Paint Schemes for the Daytona 500 Patrick wasn't buying it. "I'm confident other cars get very close, and things like that don't happen," said Patrick, who finished 10th after Busch propelled her through the field. "Done thousands of miles of this speedway racing now, and I haven't found that to be a problem. So I just think that he's wrong. "I think that he's too close. I think that he's taking the air and getting it off the spoiler, and he's not squared up either. That's also part of the problem. I don't know. Maybe he likes my left rear." Notes: Ty Dillon qualified for his first Daytona 500, as did Ryan Blaney, who will pilot the No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford. … Six drivers failed to qualify: Ron Hornaday Jr., Josh Wise, Jeb Burton, Justin Marks, Alex Bowman and Brian Scott. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Dale Jr., Hamlin move to back of Duels field
Both cars fail post-qualifying inspection at Daytona Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live " Vote: Ultimate Daytona Challenge MORE: Lineup for the Daytona Duels DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Denny Hamlin had their qualifying times for next week's Daytona 500 (Feb. 22, FOX, 1 pm ET) disallowed Sunday when their respective entries failed post-qualifying technical inspection at Daytona International Speedway. According to NASCAR officials, Earnhardt Jr.'s Hendrick Motorsports No. 88 Chevrolet failed to meet the minimum height, measuring too low on the left front. As a result, he will start 25th in the first of two qualifying races scheduled for Thursday. Before the infraction, Earnhardt was scheduled to start fifth in the second race. With no on-track activity scheduled until Wednesday, Earnhardt was one of several drivers to return home following qualifying. But upon hearing of the measurement issue, he took to social media to note "That's a shame. The boys will figure out why. Makes the duels a lot more interesting." Ride height minimums for the Sprint Cup Series are only required when teams are competing at Daytona and Talladega where restrictor plates are required. Greg Ives, making his first official appearance as Earnhardt's crew chief, said that NASCAR officials "did their due diligence of allowing us to go through their processes of how they deal with it. "In the end we still ended up low. It's unfortunate. ... We were definitely not trying to do anything intentional here. "I don't feel it was an advantage that got us to our 10th-place position, but it is definitely something that can be frowned upon and not looked at as being compliant to the rules." Hamlin's transgression was an issue with the split on his Toyota's track bar, which exceeded the maximum 3.0 inches allowed by three-quarters of an inch. As a result, the Joe Gibbs Racing driver, who was scheduled to start second in the first of Thursday's two qualifying races, will start 24th in the second race instead. Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson were first and second Sunday to lock in the front row for the 500. Thursday's Budweiser Duel qualifying races (60 laps each) will determine positions 3-32 with the remainder of the field decided via qualifying times and owner points. RELATED: Who's in for the Daytona 500? Thursday's opening qualifying race is scheduled for a 7 p.m. ET start (FOX Sports 1). MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Recap: Duels shake up Daytona 500 lineup
Jonathan Merryman recaps the Can-Am Duels , where a last-lap crash breaks up the Daytona 500 front row and small teams become the ‘underdog’ stories of Speedweeks.
Dale Jr., Kyle Busch win Can-Am Duels at Daytona
MORE: Full starting lineup for 500 RELATED: Can-Am Duel 1 results " Can-Am Duel 2 results DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Retaking the lead with five laps left in the first of Thursday night’s Can-Am Duel 150-mile qualifying races, Dale Earnhardt Jr . cruised to a dominating victory and grabbed the third staring spot for Sunday’s Daytona 500 . RELATED: See the best photos from the Can-Am Duels In the second Duel, reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Kyle Busch took the checkered flag under caution after a wild last-lap wreck took out the cars of Jimmie Johnson , Martin Truex Jr ., Matt Kenseth , AJ Allmendinger and Danica Patrick and damaged the No. 41 Chevrolet of Kurt Busch . Kenseth will go to a backup car and start from the rear in the Daytona 500 , surrendering the second starting spot he earned during last Sunday’s time trials. "I guess it was quiet and calm there for a long time, and the last lap just went kind of crazy," Busch said. "Great car. These guys at Joe Gibbs Racing did a phenomenal job this winter building some new pieces for us to come down here with and have some fun. "Looking forward to starting the Daytona 500 in the fourth spot, but I think I will actually get the outside front row now that Kenseth got caught up in that mess and tore up his car." RELATED: Dale Jr. wins on 15-year anniversary of dad's death Driving a chassis nicknamed "Amelia" for famed aviatrix Amelia Earhart, Earnhardt won his Duel for the second straight year and for the fifth time overall. The two-time Daytona 500 winner drove Amelia in all four restrictor-plate races and the Duel last year, winning two points races as well as the Daytona qualifier. Earnhardt held off 2015 Daytona 500 winner Joey Logano and rookie Ryan Blaney , who drove their Fords to second and third, respectively. Kevin Harvick finished fourth, followed by Denny Hamlin and Daytona 500 pole winner Chase Elliott . With Blaney finishing highest in the first Duel among the four "open" drivers who had to race into the field, Michael McDowell earned a spot in the Daytona 500 based on his qualifying speed from last Thursday, the third fastest among the "open" drivers. Blaney was already locked into the field as the fastest qualifier among the "open" drivers. RELATED: Which Open drivers are in, out of Daytona 500 ? "You all know what it means to be in the 500," McDowell said. I've been on the other side, too, where I've been loading up, too, and going home on a Thursday night. I definitely appreciate it when we make the races. "It's definitely a big thing for our team, Circle Sport and Leavine Family Racing . We're going to have two cars in the Daytona 500 , especially for a small team. To really start out the year well, it's very important. This is such a huge race." Earnhardt got the lead on Lap 55 of 60, diving to the inside and pulling up beside Hamlin, who was leading at the time. Earnhardt stayed out front for the final five laps, bringing his total for the race to 43. "Denny is such a great plate racer," Earnhardt said. "There are a lot of guys that are really good at it these days. I knew he was going to be real tough to get around. When he got the lead (during a sequence of green-flag pit stops), I didn’t know if we were going to be able to get around him. He’s got a great car and he’s real smart. "For whatever reason, I was able to get to his quarter-panel, (and) he saw we had a pretty good run. I don’t know, I didn’t think I was going to clear him. We got away from him so he couldn’t side draft us, I guess. I was really surprised as anybody that we got by him. He’ll be tough on Sunday." With Brian Scott spinning off Turn 4 and slamming into the inside wall on the final lap, Earnhardt crossed the finish line .183 seconds ahead of Logano, who also finished second to Hamlin in last Saturday’s Sprint Unlimited exhibition race. The first Duel sets the inside lane for the Daytona 500 . Hence, Earnhardt, Logano, Blaney, Harvick and Hamlin will line up third, fifth, seventh, ninth and 11th behind Elliott on Sunday. Jamie McMurray , Kurt Busch , Carl Edwards and Ty Dillon finished second through fifth in the second Duel and will line up behind Kyle Busch in the outside lane on Sunday, provided none of those drivers has to go to a backup car, and provided Elliott chooses the inside lane for the start of the race (the pole winner has lane choice). With Matt DiBenedetto finishing highest among the "open" drivers in the second Duel, Robert Richardson Jr. earned the last starting spot in the Daytona 500 on speed, given that DiBenedetto already was locked into the field as the second fastest "open" qualifier during time trials. With Richardson and DiBenedetto in the race, BK Racing has all four of its cars in the field. The cars of David Ragan and Michael Waltrip are chartered and therefore guaranteed starting spots. "Two weeks ago I was at home working on my ranch, got a phone call from Lane Segerstrom from (sponsor) StalkIt, saying he was trying to put a deal together trying to run the Daytona 500 ," Richardson said. "This was two weeks ago. A lot of guys start preparing for this race as soon as the season ends from last year. "I'm very, very honored to be a part of BK Racing , having another opportunity to run here at the Daytona 500 . I've been in it once before, but this one is very, very special to me. My wife and I welcomed our brand new baby boy who was born in early December. Every bit of the earnings we get from this race are going to go into a college fund for him." Failing to qualify for the Daytona 500 were Cole Whitt , Josh Wise , David Gilliland and Reed Sorenson .
Daytona Duels pit road assignments
See where drivers will pit for the Daytona 500 qualifying races