Daytona 500 Starting Grid is Set

The starting lineup for the 54th running of the Daytona 500 is set. After the Gatorade Duel qualifying races, several drivers are left smiling while others think about what could have been. Before the races began, we knew that 39 of the 43 cars in the Daytona 500 were set. The top 35 in owner points were locked in, along with defending Daytona 500 champion Trevor Bayne, Tony Raines, and David Stremme locked themselves into the field with their qualifying speeds on Sunday. Terry Labonte was assured a spot by using the Past Champion’s Provisional if he was unable to race his way in. That left 10 cars vying for 6 spots in the two qualifying races.

In Duel #1, Tony Stewart picked up the win over Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Marcos Ambrose, as mayhem ensued behind. Danica Patrick, making her Sprint Cup Series debut this weekend, didn’t take long to find trouble as she pounded the inside wall on the final lap of the first duel after contact from other cars. Although the wreck looked horrendous on TV, she walked away and will simply start at the rear of the field on Sunday. Juan Pablo Montoya, Paul Menard, and David Gilliland were all wiped out in an early wreck, but they will all still race in the Daytona 500 on Sunday based on their owner points, however they’ll all have to start in the rear of the field. Michael Waltrip lost control soon after pitting, and slammed into the outside wall in the first set of corners. He was unhurt in the accident, but he will not be in the Daytona 500 this year, which will make for the first Daytona 500 without him in over 20 years. Michael McDowell and Robby Gordon were both able to race their way into the 500 with their top 10 finishes in the first duel, a great feat for both underfunded, single-car teams.

The second Gatorade Duel was certainly calmerand strung out as Matt Kenseth made a late pass on teammate and outside pole sitter Greg Biffle to win, which is Roush Fenway Racing’s first ever Gatorade Duel win in the team’s 25 year history. Kenseth saw the checkered flag first, followed by Regan Smith and Jimmie Johnson.

The six drivers that failed to make the Great American Race were Kenny Wallace, Mike Wallace, Michael Waltrip, Bill Elliott, Robert Richardson, and JJ Yeley.

The starting line-up for the 54th Daytona 500:

  1. Carl Edwards – 99
  2. Greg Biffle – 16
  3. Tony Stewart – 14
  4. Matt Kenseth – 17
  5. Dale Earnhardt Jr. – 88
  6. Regan Smith – 78
  7. Marcos Ambrose – 9
  8. Jimmie Johnson – 48
  9. Jeff Burton – 31
  10. Elliott Sadler – 33
  11. *Michael McDowell – 98
  12. Joey Logano – 20
  13. Kevin Harvick – 29
  14. Kyle Busch – 18
  15. AJ Allmendinger – 22
  16. Jeff Gordon – 24
  17. *Robby Gordon – 7
  18. Ryan Newman – 39
  19. Jamie McMurray – 1
  20. Kasey Kahne – 5
  21. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – 6
  22. Mark Martin – 55
  23. Brad Keselowski – 2
  24. *Dave Blaney – 36
  25. David Ragan – 34
  26. Martin Truex Jr. – 56
  27. Aric Almirola – 43
  28. Kurt Busch – 51
  29. Danica Patrick – 10
  30. Clint Bowyer – 15
  31. Denny Hamlin – 11
  32. Bobby Labonte – 47
  33. David Gilliland – 38
  34. *Joe Nemechek – 87
  35. Juan Pablo Montoya – 42
  36. Casey Mears – 13
  37. Paul Menard – 27
  38. David Reutimann – 93
  39. Landon Cassill – 83
  40. **Trevor Bayne – 21
  41. **David Stremme – 30
  42. **Tony Raines – 26
  43. ***Terry Labonte – 32

*Outside of the top 35, raced in via the Duels
**Outside of top 35, got in based on qualifying speed
***Past Champion’s Provisional

The 54th annual Daytona 500 gets underway this Sunday, February 26 with the green flag flying shortly after noon central time.



Comments are closed.

FireStats icon Powered by FireStats