DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Sports Network) -- Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch will start
on the second row for Sunday's Daytona 500 after both drivers won the
Budweiser Duel twin-qualifying races on Thursday at Daytona International
Harvick grabbed the third starting position for the 500-mile race after taking
the checkered flag for the first qualifier. Harvick, who won last Saturday's
Sprint Unlimited preseason event at Daytona, held off Greg Biffle at the
finish line by just 0.16 seconds. It was the first time he has won a qualifier
in 11 attempts.
Biffle also finished second to Harvick in the preseason event. He will start
fifth in the Daytona 500.
Juan Pablo Montoya finished third, while Jimmie Johnson and Kurt Busch rounded
out the top-five.
Sixth through 10th were: Tony Stewart, Brad Keselowski, the reigning Sprint
Cup Series champion, Casey Mears, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Joey Logano.
Earnhardt had to start from the rear of the field after blowing an engine
during Wednesday's practice for the qualifiers.
Bobby Labonte, David Gilliland, Joe Nemechek, Michael Waltrip and Scott Speed
placed 11th through 15th, respectively.
Martin Truex Jr. crossed the line in the top-10, but Truex was black-flagged
by race officials after the side window came off of his car. His 19th-place
finish allowed Speed to grab a spot in the Daytona 500.
In the second qualifier, Busch edged Kasey Kahne to the finish line by 0.09
seconds for his second win in this event. With no cautions, it took just 46
minutes and 24 seconds to complete at an average speed of 193.966 mph, making
it the second quickest Duel in its history.
Austin Dillon will make his first start in the Daytona 500 after finishing
third in the qualifier. Clint Bowyer and Matt Kenseth, who won last year's
500-miler, rounded out the top-five.
Mark Martin, Paul Menard, Jeff Burton, Jamie McMurray and David Ragan placed
sixth through 10th, respectively.
Finishing 11th through 15th were: Marcos Ambrose, Jeff Gordon, Aric Almirola,
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., a rookie in the series this year, and Dave Blaney.
The top-15 finishers in each of the two qualifiers guaranteed themselves a
starting position in the Daytona 500.
Danica Patrick and Gordon had already secured the front row for the Daytona
500. Patrick won the pole position, while Gordon grabbed the second starting
position during last Sunday's time trials.
Since Gordon finished 12th in the second Duel, Josh Wise's 16th-place run
earned him a spot in the 500. Gordon dominated most of the race by leading 38
of the 60 laps, but a pit road speeding penalty late in the event put him out
of contention to win.
After starting on the pole for the first qualifier, Patrick played it safe by
dropping to the back of the draft. She ran there for most of the event before
moving through the field en route to a 17th-place finish.
The first qualifier ran caution free until seven laps remaining when a multi-
car crash occurred on the backstretch. Denny Hamlin got loose coming out of
turn two and bumped into Carl Edwards, who spun around and slammed hard into
the outside wall.
Trevor Bayne, the 2011 Daytona winner, and Regan Smith were involved in the
wreck as well. Edwards has now crashed three times during Speedweeks
activities at Daytona. Bayne had led the first 37 laps before Harvick ran in
front for remaining 23 circuits.
The only incident that occurred in the final Duel was Ryan Newman spinning
around on the frontstretch after he could not get onto pit road during the
round of stops. Newman punctured a tire and fell two laps off the pace to
finish 21st. He is guaranteed a spot in the 500 based on his fourth-place
result in time trials.
The Sports Network