NASCAR Race Review-Gatorade Duels


The Gaterade Duels for the Daytona 500

The line-up for the Daytona 500 is decided differently than any other race. All other races line up according to speed in qualifying. The drivers in the top 35 are automatically in the race, with the fastest 6 that aren’t in the top 35 and, if needed a past Champion taking the final spot. But for the Daytona 500, you qualify to see how you line up for the Gatorade Duels. Only two cars from each race will race in the Daytona500. Qualifying determines only the first two spots. The Gatorade Duels determine the Line-up for the Daytona 500.

Those qualifying behind the leader are in the first race. That is, the odd numbers. The even numbers line up behind the second place qualifier. Each race is 150 miles. They can’t go 150 miles on a tank of gas, so there will be pitting. The 2, Kurt Busch gave his top 35 points to his team mate, 77 Sam Hornish, Jr. because he is the first Champion not in the points. So they are both automatically in. There are seven drivers in the first race that aren’t in the top 35 that must race their way in. But only two will race in the Daytona 500. In the second race there are eight drivers to take only two spots.

In the first race 48, the pole sitter, Jimmy Johnson, 5 Casey Mears, 88 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. 84 A.J. Allmendinger, 66 Scott Riggs, 07 Clint Bowyer and 96 J.J. Yeley all changed engines and will have to start from the rear. In the second race, 11 Denny Hamlin, 20 Tony Stewart and 24 Jeff Gordon had engine changes, and 40 Dario Franchitti missed driver introductions. They will all have to start from the rear. 55 Michael Waltrip qualified second and will lead his race.

The first four cars on the inside all will start from the rear, leaving 12 Ryan Newman on the pole to start the race. 78 Joe Nemechek leads the first lap. They are three-wide for third place! Which brings out the first caution. There wasn’t enough room for three and 60 Boris Said gets into 83 Brian Vickers, sending 83 spinning across the track and into the infield. No one hits him, so he pits and gets back out. This was on lap 3.

The Green has 12 in the lead. If 2 races his way in, 44 Dale Jarrett is next in line for the Champions provisional. 2 is slowing down. *#%&! He has no power and is done. No caution. 41 Reed Sorenson takes the lead. 88 takes the lead. 48 is real loose. 12 challenges for the lead. 19 Elliott Sadler is off the pace on the top, but no one gets into him and he pits with a tire shredding. 83 pits with a right tire going down. 77 and 60 also pitting. And Green Flag pitting begins. 66 is leading. 96 was too fast in the pits and must come back in. 48, being pushed by 88, takes the lead.

There was rain yesterday and that washed all the rubber off the track, so today there are tire issues. 88, on the bottom is falling back with no help. 12 takes the lead with 42 Juan Pablo Montoya pushing him. 88 takes the lead by himself. 48 is pitting. He’s in the race and on the pole, so he doesn’t have to risk his car in this race. He parks himself. 19 gets into the wall. The second caution comes out as a result when his tire comes off. The restart is with two to go. 88 wins the race. 87 Kenny Wallace and 83 Brian Vickers are in the Daytona 500. 84 Allmendinger, 21 Elliott, 09 Marlin and 08 Long will go home.

The second race is 55 on the pole and 00 David Reutimann starting second. 00 jumps the start and will have to go through the pits for a penalty. 55 leads when 00 pits. 31 Jeff Burton is pitting. 28 Travis Kvapil challenges for the lead. 22 Dave Blaney challenges for the lead. 17 Matt Kenseth takes the lead when 55 and 22 get together and 55 goes below the yellow line.The first caution comes out for 27 Jacques Villeneuve, 26 Jamie McMurray, 40 and 50 Stanton Barrett. 27 touches 34 and gets loose, sending him up the track into 50 and taking 26 and 40 into the wall. Everyone pits. 22 stalls in the pits.

Out of the pits, it’s 17, 9 Kasey Kahne, 55, 29 Kevin Harvick, 24, 10 Patrick Carpentier, 18 Kyle Busch and 8 Martin. 17 and 55 are side-by-side and 55 pulls up in front of 17 to take the lead. 24 comes up on top. The second caution comes out when 22 blows up on lap 25. There is a Red Flag to clean up all the oil on the track. At the restart 24 takes the lead when 55 got stuck alone in the inside and falls way back. Perhaps to find his team mate 44 Dale Jarrett. 9 gets stuck in the middle. 18 takes the lead. 20 jumps in front of 24. 49 Ken Schrader falls back. 18 races up in front of 20. 29 takes the lead, leaving 29 alone. 44 is loose. 10 gets into the wall. 20 takes the lead with 11 Denny Hamlin pushing him. 10 gets into the wall again.

The third caution comes out when 10 gets into the wall again and cuts a tire. It will be a Green, White Checker finish. 18 and 16 Greg Biffle, along with 34 John Andretti, and those behind him all pit. Their reasoning is new tires will make them faster for the last five miles.

18 goes low before the Line and has to stay there and not pass anyone. 11 takes the lead, and wins the second Gatorade Duel. 44 Jarrett and 34 Andretti (who took the tires) are in the Daytona 500. This will be Dale Jarrett’s final Daytona 500, and it’s nice the three time Daytona 500 winner will race in his final Daytona 500 and it’s 50th running.

So there you have it. The Gatorade Duels for the Daytona 500.

Brought to you by Sheila Hawley
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