Race Review: Gatorade Duels Race 2


Hello, race fans. If you’ll recall, the qualifying for the “Super Bowl” of racing, the Daytona 500, is two races called the Gatorade Duels. In the first race the pole sitter, #1 (fitting, right?) Martin Truex, Jr. leads. In this second race #5 Mark Martin leads. Those two are the only ones who know where they start the Daytona 500. Everyone else has to race for their position. Again, this race has half of the 35 drivers locked in with Owner points from 2008, and half of the drivers trying to race their way into the Daytona 500.

Before we start, 39 Ryan Newman, who was supposed to start on the front row had to change the engine, and will start this race in the rear. That puts 28 Travis Kvapil on the front row. And because 14 Tony Stewart finished second in the first race, 78 Regan Smith is guaranteed a spot in the Daytona 500. In this race, he is racing for position, not to get in.

So, here we go! 88 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. leads the first lap. 00 David Reutimann pulls out, but has no help. 5 Martin pulls outside with help from 42 Juan Pablo Montoya. 88 and 5 battle for the lead. 5 Martin takes the lead. 88 Earnhardt, Jr. takes the lead back. 08 Boris Said, who has to race his way in, gets into the wall and into 39. 39 Newman pits with a tire going down.

The first caution comes out when 08 Said blows a tire and puts himself and 82 Scott Speed into the wall. Everyone pits. 88 overshoots his pit stall. 42 Montoya gets into the wrong stall and has to back out onto pit road and try again. Out of the pits, it’s 5 Martin leading, followed by 18 Kyle Busch, 11 Denny Hamlin, 96 Bobby Labonte, 00 Reutimann and 83 Brian Vickers as the top five.

29 Kevin Harvick pushes 39 Newman. 42 Montoya pushes 44 A. J. Allmendinger past 41 Jeremy Mayfield. 73 Mike Garvey goes to the garage. He will not race in the Daytona 500. 71 Mike Wallace looses the draft. 64 Geoff Bodine has electrical problems and heads for the garage. He also will not be in the Daytona 500. 88 pits under Green with a tire issue. 5 and 83 also pit with tire issues.

The second caution comes out when 00 Reutimann gets into 39 and they both get into the wall. They, however, will both race in the Daytona 500. 83 and 5 are ahead of the leaders when the caution comes out, and stay on the lead lap. 39 had to get by the slower car of 57 Norm Benning and 00 pushed 39 before he got straaightened out. 41 Mayfield takes two tires and comes out of the pits first. 5 and 83 stay out, since they just pitted, and lead.

They go Green with eight to go. 11 Hamlin pushes 18 Kyle Busch into the lead. 5 and 11 get together. And 18 Kyle Busch wins his Gatorade Duel. 41 Mayfield and 44 Allmendinger, finishing ninth and tenth, raced their way into the Daytona 500.

The seven drivers who raced their way into the Daytona 500 are 14 Tony Stewart and 36 Scott Riggs from the first Gatorade Duel, 41 Jeremy Mayfield and 44 A.J. Allmendinger from the second Gatorade Duel, and on time 21 Bill Elliott, 28 Travis Kvapil and 78 Regan Smith. 66 Terry Labonte will get the final spot with his Champion provisional.

So, there you have it. The second Gatorade Duel. Now the line up for the Daytona 500 is set. I’ll let you know how it went after the Daytona 500.

Brought to you by Sheila Hawley

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