Daytona Duel 2 p.m. SPEED

Wrecks could make Daytona’s Duel flush with caution – flags

jutter@charlotteobserver.comFebruary 20, 2013 

  • Thursday’s lineups Duel 1 PP (No.) Driver, CarSpeed  1. (10) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet196.434  2. (21) Trevor Bayne, Ford195.976  3. (14) Tony Stewart, Chevrolet195.925  4. (11) Denny Hamlin, Toyota195.771  5. (22) Joey Logano, Ford195.767  6. (88) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet195.584  7. (42) Juan Montoya, Chevrolet195.508  8. (13) Casey Mears, Ford195.495  9. (99) Carl Edwards, Ford195.240 10. (56) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota195.207 11. (48) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet195.084 12. (2) Brad Keselowski, Ford194.961 13. (29) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet194.742 14. (16) Greg Biffle, Ford194.729 15. (38) David Gilliland, Ford194.654 16. (26) Michael Waltrip, Toyota194.313 17. (78) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet193.657 18. (95) Scott Speed, Ford193.540 19. (51) Regan Smith, Chevrolet193.096 20. (47) Bobby Labonte, Toyota192.563 21. (83) David Reutimann, Toyota190.339 22. (87) Joe Nemechek, Toyota190.046 23. (52) Brian Keselowski, Toyota183.876 Duel 2 PP (No.) Driver, CarSpeed  1. (24) Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet196.292  2. (39) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet195.946  3. (5) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet195.852  4. (18) Kyle Busch, Toyota195.767  5. (20) Matt Kenseth, Toyota195.725  6. (17) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford195.537  7. (27) Paul Menard, Chevrolet195.503  8. (33) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet195.385  9. (15) Clint Bowyer, Toyota195.228 10. (31) Jeff Burton, Chevrolet195.156 11. (1) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet195.042 12. (9) Marcos Ambrose, Ford194.793 13. (43) Aric Almirola, Ford194.742 14. (55) Mark Martin, Toyota194.683 15. (34) David Ragan, Ford194.616 16. (35) Josh Wise, Ford194.254 17. (98) Michael McDowell, Ford193.544 18. (32) Terry Labonte, Ford193.515 19. (7) Dave Blaney, Chevrolet192.996 20. (36) J.J. Yeley, Chevrolet192.094 21. (93) Travis Kvapil, Toyota190.142 22. (19) Mike Bliss, Chevrolet189.438

— Thursday could be stormy at Daytona International Speedway.

There has been at least one wreck every day Sprint Cup Series cars have been on the track in Daytona this month, including one during Saturday’s Sprint Unlimited special event.

A wreck during Thursday’s Budweiser Duel 150-mile qualifying races could send teams scurrying back home for cars before Sunday’s Daytona 500.

Wednesday’s incident involving Ryan Newman, Carl Edwards and Mark Martin was just the latest.

“I think there’s a lot to be seen yet,” said driver Matt Kenseth. “Saturday pretty early, half the field got wiped out, and the smaller the pack, the tougher it is generally to make a move.”

Such is life with the newest generation of cars in the series.

Thursday’s races will set the lineup for the 500, except for the front row. Danica Patrick, the first woman to win a pole in a series race, and Jeff Gordon, who qualified second-fastest, are locked into their spots.

And most teams aren’t worried about making the field – 45 cars will be competing for 43 spots.

So, what’s a driver to do?

As Gordon points out, Thursday’s events are races, and “when you go into a race, you’re racing to win.”

“You have to go in approaching it to learn all that you can, build momentum and confidence,” he said. “You do that by winning that race.

“That’s the best thing you can do.”

The top 15 drivers in each race – not including Patrick and Gordon – will qualify for the 500.

Those outside the top 15 will fill the final 11 spots in the field, with the top four remaining qualifying speeds getting positions Nos. 33-36, then six spots will be determined by 2012 car owner points.

If there is a past champion left, he will get the 43rd spot in the 500. If not, the spot will go to the next in line from 2012 owner points.

The drivers lowest in owner points – Mike Bliss and Brian Keselowski – also were the slowest during qualifying Sunday. They can’t make the field without finishing among the top 15.

Even Patrick has work to do.

“She’s going to have to get out there and let us know what we got to do to make the car comfortable for her – two-wide, three-wide – whatever it takes,” said crew chief Tony Gibson.

“If we tear it up, we tear it up. We have another one on the truck.”

Utter: 704-358-5113; Twitter: @jim_utter

News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service