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Sunday, February 15
Daytona Int'l Speedway
Daytona Beach, Florida
Kenseth Wins Short 500
DAYTONA BEACH, FL (February 15, 2009) - It couldn't happen to a nicer guy.
Matt Kenseth, winless a year ago, added the biggest jewel in NASCAR to his trophy collection Sunday, winning a dramatic, rain-shortened Daytona 500 before a capacity crowd of some 200,000 at Daytona International Speedway, plus a Fox national television audience.
Kenseth somehow dodged a huge pileup shortly after lap 125 that easily could have sent him to the scrap-pile like it did young sensation Kyle Busch.
Busch, who had led 88 laps to clearly establish himself as the race favorite, was a victim in a 10-car wreck that had cars sliding through the backstretch infield apron and down the end of the backstretch straightaway in a huge cloud of smoke and debris.
The accident was triggered when Brian Vickers moved over to block Dale Earnhardt, Jr. near the end of the backstretch. Earnhardt was forced off the track onto the apron and into the grass. When Earnhardt tried to steer his sliding car back on the track, he clipped the rear end of Vickers' Toyota, sending Vickers shooting across the track directly in front of the oncoming field of 200-mph stock cars. At that point, it was pure havoc. No one was injured, but the accident sent a number of cars to the junk heap.
Besides Busch, who finished 41st, others involved included Carl Edwards (18th), Kurt Busch (10th), Vickers (39th), Earnhardt (27th), Jamie McMurray (37th), Jimmie Johnson (31st), Robby Gordon (34th), and Denny Hamlin (26th).
Kenseth started the race from 39th position after his crew had to change an engine in his Jack Roush Ford sponsored by DeWalt.
Ironically, the runner-up in the abbreviated race -- 152 out of a scheduled 200 laps were completed -- and winner of the Daytona 500 two years ago, Kevin Harvick, also started in the rear of the field due to engine problems.
Third-place finisher AJ Allmindinger had a storybook finish since he just hooked up with the Valvoline Dodge team several weeks ago. His performance Sunday should help him find additional sponsorship.
Clint Bowyer finished fourth, Elliott Sadler fifth, David Ragan sixth, former Daytona 500 winner Michael Waltrip seventh, Tony Stewart eighth, and Reed Sorensen ninth. Truex was 11th.
It was a cool, overcast afternoon when the 51st running of this classic got underway. Drivers mashed the gas to the floor right from the git-go and three different drivers led the first three laps, Truex, Martin and "wild thing" Busch, who took over on the third lap and was leading when Almirola spun by himself on the eighth circuit.
When racing resumed, Busch remained out front with Martin, Labonte, Earnhardt and Edwards right behind.
A mandatory caution at lap 26 allowed the teams to check their tire wear after rain washed the rubber off the track Saturday night and Sunday morning. NASCAR officials informed the teams at the start of the race of the mandatory caution.
Once all the teams had pitted, Busch resumed his lead with Earnhardt on his bumper. Gordon was third, Hamlin fourth and Martin fifth.
Jeremy Mayfield, who started his own team about a month ago and was one of the feelgood stories in making the race, had his luck change at lap 33 when a problem cropped up with his motor.
At 40 laps, Busch had Kenseth on his bumper, who had started from the rear after changing motors. Ragan had moved to third, Earnhardt was fourth, Hamlin fifth and Ragan sixth.
Robbie Gordon dropped from the middle of the pack to 42nd when a punctured tire prompted an unscheduled pit stop.
At 50 laps, Busch still led and looked as though he clearly had the fastest car in the field but Earnhardt and Stewart were just a car length behind. Earnhardt and Stewart, however, blew past Busch on lap 53. One lap later, Busch pushed Stewart past Earnhardt. On the next lap, Travis Kvapil smacked the wall, bringing out the afternoon's second caution.
When the green flag fell again, it was Stewart out front with Gordon second. Busch was third. Also running in the front pack was McMurray, Hamlin, Edwards, Martin, Kenseth, Vickers, Ragan and Kurt Busch, who finished second in this race last year.
Earnhardt, who completely missed his pit stall and had to go around the track again, was way back in 35th on the restart.
By lap 70, Gordon led, followed by Busch, Hamlin, McMurray, Kenseth, Edwards, Vickers, Stewart, who was shuffled backwards by one of the famous Daytona drafts, Martin and Allmindinger.
Stewart's teammate and defending champion of the Daytona 500, spent considerable time in the pits and lost several laps, which pretty much ended his chance for winning "The Great American Race" again.
On lap 81, rookie Joey Logano, running back in the field to gain some experience, was in the wrong place at the right time. Another rookie, former Formula One driver Scott Speed, got loose coming out of four and had to ease off the throttle. Logano, right behind him, had to make a jerky turn left to stay off Speed and spun across the track. He smashed into the inside retaining wall almost head-on, tearing his Home Depot machine to smithereens. Logano was not injured.
On the restart at lap 85, it was Busch again and Hamlin moved into second. Allmindinger was third with Truex fourth. Gordon held on in fifth, followed by Edwards, Kenseth, Stewart, Ragan, McMurray and Burton.
The best race drivers in the world were mixing it up as though it was the last lap, rather than halfway. Gordon went from fifth to second with a nifty slingshot move down the backstretch, which resulted in Truex getting shoved back to 20th spot. Once Gordon made his move, others tucked in on his bumper and formed a freight train back to where Truex wound up.
The competition in the first half of this event was similar to what fans had seen in the Twin Gatorade 150 Qualifying Races last Thursday.
Complete Race Results click here
Post-Race Driver Point Standings click here
NASCAR Newscast - Daytona 500 Review click here
Photo Gallery - Daytona 500 click here
Stewart-Haas teammates Ryan Newman (top photo) and Tony Stewart (bottom photo) both wrecked their racecars in the same crash during Saturday's final practice
session for Sunday's Daytona 500; it all started when Newman blew a right rear tire on his car, collecting Stewart in the aftermath.
Both will need to go to backup cars...
Press Pass - Interviews With Stewart and Newman - after the wreck click here
Starting Lineup for the 51st Daytona 500 click here
Saturday Final Practice Speed Chart click here
TV Broadcast Times*
Qualifying Time Trials: Sunday, February 8 (FOX at 2 p.m.)
Duels Practice: Wednesday, February 11 (SPEED at Noon)
Final Duels Practice: Wednesday, February 11 (SPEED at 3 p.m.)
Gatorade Duels Qualifying Races: Thursday, February 12 (SPEED at 3 p.m.)
Daytona 500 Practice: Friday, February 13 (SPEED at 2:30 p.m.)
Daytoan 500 Final Practice: Saturday, February 14 (SPEED at Noon)
RaceDay, Pre-Race Show: Sunday, February 15 (SPEED at Noon)
Daytona 500 Pre-Race Show: Sunday, February 15 (FOX at 3 p.m.
Daytona 500: Sunday, February 15 (FOX at 4:20 p.m.)
*Times shown are AT - one hour ahead of ET, i.e. if it's 2 p.m./AT - it's 1 p.m./ET...
Green Flag Fast Facts
The Race: 51st Annual Daytona 500
The Date: Sunday, Feb. 15
The Track: Daytona International Speedway; 2.5-mile tri-oval
The Time: 4:20 p.m. AT
The Distance: 500 miles/200 laps
TV: FOX , 3 p.m. AT
Radio: MRN and Sirius Satellite; (Local MRN affiliates WNDB-AM 1150, WKRO-FM 93.1)
2008 Champion: Ryan Newman
Schedule: local track time - Wednesday—Practice, 11-11:55 a.m. and 2-2:50 p.m. Thursday—Gatorade Duel at Daytona races, 2 p.m. Friday—Practice, 1:40-2:40 p.m. Saturday—Practice, 10:30-11:55 a.m.
Daytona 500 Qualifying Procedure
Gatorade Duel Assignment
- One round of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series timed qualifying will be held. Each team may run two laps with the fast lap setting the qualifying time. The two fastest qualifiers set starting positions one and two and are the only guaranteed positions, filling the front row for the Daytona 500.
- The Gatorade Duels, the 150-mile qualifying races, will determine starting positions for the Daytona 500 beyond the front row. In the event of cancellation, the field will be set according to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rule Book.
Daytona 500 Lineup
- The eligible highest ranked 35 in 2008 car owner points will be assigned to Gatorade Duel races based on their standing in the 2008 final car owner points. Odd-numbered owner points will compete in the first Gatorade Duel; evennumbered owners will compete in the second. The only exception is that the fastest qualifier will start on the pole in the first Gatorade Duel and the second fastest will start on the pole in the second, regardless of 2008 car owner point standings.
- Owners who failed to finish in the top 35 of the 2008 car owner points will be assigned to a Gatorade Duel based on qualifying times – the highest qualifying owner to the first Duel; the next to the second and alternating through the remaining entries. Starting positions for the Gatorade Duels are based on qualifying times.
- Finishing positions in the Gatorade Duels will determine starting positions in the Daytona 500 once the two fastest qualifiers will start on the front row of the Daytona 500 based on their qualifying times, regardless of their finish in the Duels. Based on their finish in the first Duel, the eligible highest ranked 35 in car owner points plus the two highest finishing non-top 35 teams will be lined up in the odd-number starting positions. Based on their finish in the second Duel, the eligible highest ranked 35 in car owner points plus the two highest finishing non-top 35 teams will be lined up in the even-number starting positions.
- The remaining positions will be filled based on qualifying times beginning with the next available position.
- The composition of the front row will reduce the above numbers. If there are top-35 teams on the front row, the number of guaranteed starters is reduced accordingly. If there are no top-35 teams on the front row, the number of cars that get in based on time are reduced accordingly.
- The 43rd starting position will be assigned to any car owner who has the most recent eligible past NASCAR Sprint Cup champion as long as the past champion competed in the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. If the 43rd position is not used by a past champion, it will be assigned to the next highest qualifying time.
The bottom line – for the 2009 Daytona 500 - is that the top-two qualifiers are in. The remaining top-35 guaranteed starters are in. Four drivers will make the field based on their performance in the duels and the remaining positions will be filled based on qualifying times or being a past champion.
Martin Truex Jr. (right) won the Coors Light Pole Award in qualifying for the Daytona 500. Mark Martin posted the second fastest
qualifying time and joins Truex on the front row for the Daytona 500.
The top-two qualifiers will start on the front row for the 2009 Daytona 500: Martin Truex Jr. (first) and Mark Martin
(second). The bottom line – for the 2009 Daytona 500 - is that the top-two qualifiers are in. The remaining top-35
guaranteed starters are in. Four drivers will make the field based on their performance in the Duels, leaving four positions
in the starting field. The three fastest non-guaranteed starters, that do not race their way in by their finish in the Duels, will
make the field because they will revert to their qualifying times. Terry Labonte will be in on Past Champion provisional if
he does not race his way in.
- It is Truex’s second career pole. His previous pole came at Texas in November 2007.
- This is Truex’s fourth top-10 start in eight races at Daytona International Speedway.
- This is Martin’s 20th top-10 start in 48 Daytona races. Martin tied his career-best start at Daytona, but his other two
second-place starts were both in the summer race.
- Truex will start on the pole for Gatorade Duel No. 1, while Martin will head the field in Gatorade Duel No. 2.
Gatorade Duel Assignment
Complete Qualifying Time Trial Results click here
Photo Gallery - Sunday at Daytona Int'l Speedway click here
- The eligible highest ranked 35 in 2008 car owner points are assigned to Gatorade Duel races based on their standing
in the 2008 final car owner points. Odd-numbered owner points will compete in the first Gatorade Duel; even-numbered
owners will compete in the second. The only exception is that the fastest qualifier (Truex) will compete in
the first Gatorade Duel and the second fastest (Martin) will compete in the second, regardless of 2008 car owner point
- The remaining teams are assigned to a Gatorade Duel based on qualifying times beginning with the fastest team –
the No. 21 of Bill Elliott. The final lineups will be 28 cars in each Duel.
- Starting positions for the Gatorade Duels are based on qualifying times.
Event Stats PDF files unless otherwise noted
Entry List click here
Qualifying Order click here
Gatorade Duel # 1 Starting Lineup click here
Gatorade Duel # 2 Starting Lineup click here
Daytona 500 polesitter Martin Truex Jr. and crew cheif Kevin Manion work on their car during practice sessions Wednesday at Daytona...
Wednesday First Practice Speed Chart click here
Wednesday Second Practice Speed Chart click here
More Wednesday Photos click here
Kyle Busch helps shake down the No. 20 Home Depot Toyota of Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Joey Logano during Friday practice for Sunday's
Friday Practice Speed Chart click here
Old-School Appeal For 51st Annual Daytona 500
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 10, 2009) — Mark Martin is on the front row and Bill Elliott is in the field, giving Sunday’s Daytona 500 an almost surreal quality.
Thing is, it’s all quite real.
Martin (No. 5 Kellogg’s/CARQUEST Chevrolet) is experiencing a late-career rebirth as part of the Hendrick Motorsports stable; Elliott (No. 21 Motorcraft Ford) is part of a renewed, admirable effort by Wood Brothers Racing that’s designed to run part-time in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series but make the most of the races they choose.
Martin, 50, qualified second this past Sunday at the annual “pole day” at Daytona International Speedway. He and top qualifier Martin Truex Jr. (No. 1 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet) are “locked” into the front row for the 500. Elliott qualified fourth-fastest to guarantee a spot in the 500. Exactly where he’ll start will shake out Thursday, after the two 150-mile qualifying races — the Gatorade Duel at Daytona — are held.
“This whole Motorcraft team – [crew chief] David Hyder, [owners] Len and Eddie Wood – they really put a good plan together to come down here for the 500 this year and I’m so proud of what they’ve done,” said the 53-year-old Elliott.
Actually, Elliott expressed some disappointment after qualifying. After setting the fast times during the 500’s initial practice sessions, he considered the No. 21 front-row material. Such is the rapidly-restored confidence level of the two-time (1985 and ‘87) Daytona 500 champion.
The old-school look of this year’s race continues with Terry Labonte (No. 66 Window World Toyota), the series champion in 1984 and ’96. Labonte is assured of making the race via the past champion provisional, which goes to the most recent champion needing it to make the field. Labonte got some help when a more recent titlist, Tony Stewart (No. 14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet), qualified fast enough to assure himself a 500 spot based on speed.
Qualifying Primer: Making the Daytona 500 Field...Qualifying for the Daytona 500 is unique. After all, it involves two days, two races and a previous season’s final points.
Here’s how it works.
Coming into Daytona, one thing is known. The top 35 teams in the final 2008 car owners standings have already earned guaranteed berths in the Daytona 500.
Coming out of “pole day” this past Sunday, the top two qualifiers, Truex and Martin, were guaranteed front-row starts.
Thursday’s Gatorade Duel at Daytona, consisting of two 150-mile races, will advance the top two finishers from each race who are not in the top 35 category.
That brings the field total to 39.
The rest of the field is based on qualifying speeds from pole day by “non-35s.” That amounts to the four fastest non-35s — or three, if the past champion provisional gets used., which it will be this year by Labonte. Which means that Elliott, Stewart and Travis Kvapil (No. 28 Golden Corral Ford) have ensured themselves berths because of their qualifying speeds. (Note: If any of those three or Labonte are one of the top-two non-35 finishers in a Duel race, it will open up spots based on qualifying speeds.)
Which brings us to a field of 43.
Some further notes about the Gatorade Duel races:
They establish the starting order for the 500. The front-row qualifiers are locked in based on pole day. Based on their finish in the first Duel race, top-35 drivers plus the two highest non-35s will be lined up in odd-number starting positions for the 500. Based on their finish in the second Duel, the top-35 drivers plus the two highest finishing non-35s will get even-number starting positions.
Duel Double: Daytona 500 Qualifying Races Make Or Break For Many Teams...Thursday’s Gatorade Duel at Daytona continues a long-standing tradition of holding qualifying races for the Daytona 500. The tradition started in the 500’s first year, 1959, although back then there was only one qualifier, a 100-miler won by Bob Welborn.
Starting in 1960, there were two events.
In 1969, the races were expanded to 125 miles, creating the “Twins 125s” label.
In 2005, the Gatorade Duel name was affixed as the races were expanded again, to 150 miles.
A footnote to this progression: From 1959-71, the qualifying races counted in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points.
Throughout the races’ history, they have served as classic Speedweeks appetizers for NASCAR’s biggest show. The Duel events represent the ultimate “last chance” races, affording drivers who haven’t already made the Daytona 500 field the chance to do so by literally racing their way into the field.
At its core, the Gatorade Duel at Daytona combines one of the basic qualifying approaches of down-home short-track racing with the biggest spectacle in NASCAR.
In recent years, good finishes in the Duel events have become even more essential. With the institution of guaranteed starting berths to the top 35 teams in final owner points from the previous year, all “non-35” drivers vie for only four spots — two from each Duel race.
Which means some very capable teams are going to leave Daytona International Speedway on Thursday very disappointed.
Thursday, a total of 17 drivers will be trying to race their way into the Daytona 500. Some have excellent chances to do so. Some are long shots. Here’s a quick look at each, divided by their Duel race assignment, in each case, listed in order of their qualifying speed on pole day :
Go or Go Home - Daytona Duel # 1...Joe Nemechek, Scott Riggs, Brad Keselowski, Kirk Shelmerdine, Tony Raines, Mike Skinner and Carl Long.
Go or Go Home - Daytona Duel # 2...Regan Smith, Boris Said, AJ Allmendinger, Jeremy Mayfield, Mike Wallace, Mike Garvey,
Derrike Cope, Kelly Bires, Geoff Bodine and Norm Benning.
2009 Rookie Competition Looks Like 2-Man Showdown...The 2009 Raybestos Rookie of Year field is short on numbers but long on talent, with heralded Joey Logano (No. 20 Home Depot Toyota) joined by two drivers more known for open-wheel racing — former Formula One driver Scott Speed (No. 82 Red Bull Toyota) of Team Red Bull Racing and long-time Indy-car competitor Max Papis (No. 13 GEICO Toyota) of Germain Racing.
Of the three, only Logano and Speed are entered in the Daytona 500 and both are locked into the event via their team’s standing in the final 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup car owner points.
When the green flag drops Logano will become the youngest driver to start the Daytona 500 — at 18 years, eight months and 22 days.
Both Speed and Logano posted their first competitive NASCAR laps at Daytona this past Saturday night in the Budweiser Shootout. Unfortunately their nights were cut short when they both were caught in an accident on Lap 5, relegating them to 25th and 28th-place finishes, respectively.
Though Papis will not participate in the Daytona 500, he still is expecting an exciting event in his personal life this weekend with the birth of his second child.
Papis will make his first 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Engine Malfunction Forces Newman to Rear of Field for Thursday's Qualifying Race...Ryan Newman's No. 39 U.S. Army Chevrolet suffered an engine malfunction in today's (Wednesday) first practice session at Daytona International Speedway.
The team was forced to change engines for the afternoon practice session, and under NASCAR rules, an engine change will require Newman to start Thursday's Gatorade Duel 150-mile qualifying race from the rear of the field. He was scheduled to start the second 150-miler from the outside pole. The engine change will not affect the Daytona 500 starting order.
"Something broke in the engine," said Newman, the defending Daytona 500 champion. "I'm not really sure what. Obviously the horsepower has been great in qualifying and it felt strong out there. I was just coming up through the gears and getting up to speed and something let go. It's unfortunate. But these guys have another bullet they can bolt in and we'll be good to go."
Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch Win Duels
Gatorade Duel #1 Recap
DAYTONA BEACH, FLA. (February 12, 2009) - Four-time NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon is up on the wheel again.
The DuPont driver, who didn't win a race in 2008, held off Tony Stewart and defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson to win the first of two Gatorade qualifying races for Sunday's Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway.
Rookie Joey Logano was fourth in Stewart's former Home Depot Chevrolet and another rookie was fifth, Aric Almirola.
Gordon passed the lead back and forth with Stewart like a hot potato in the last six laps, bringing the crowd to its feet.
It was Stewart's second outing in his new role as owner/driver with Office Depot as primary sponsor.
While Gordon won the race and went to Victory Lane, garage insiders were congratulating driver Scott Riggs and his car owner, former crew chief Tommy Baldwin. Riggs drove his independent Toyota to a hard-earned eighth-place finish, assuring him a starting spot in the
Great American Race. Stewart and Riggs claimed the two available starting positions set aside for the two highest-finishing teams that did not finish 2008 in the top 35 in NASCAR Sprint Cup owner points.
Kurt Busch drove his Miller Lite Dodge to a sixth-place finish despite a spin early in the race that sent him to the rear of the field. Kasey Kahne was seventh in the No. 9 Budweiser Dodge.
Pole-sitter Martin Truex Jr. led the first lap and Bill Elliott led the second as the field remained bunched like a pod of baitfish. Busch spun out of turn four on the third lap to bring out the caution flag.
Truex regained the lead on the restart and led a four-car breakaway that included Gordon, Riggs and Johnson.
Another caution waved on Lap 24 when Mike Skinner fell off the pace and Bill Elliott's fast Ford lost a transmission. Both cars went behind the wall out of the race.
On the restart, Truex remained out front with Gordon, Stewart, David Ragan, Matt Kenseth, Johnson, Riggs, Jamie McMurray, Paul Menard and Almirola lined up behind him.
Gordon got a push from Stewart and roared past Truex with 20 laps remaining but that wasn't the end of his problems. On Lap 48, Truex, who had dropped to sixth spot, spun in turn two. His spin brought out the caution once again with just 10 laps to go. Four cars, including Stewart and Riggs, pitted for tires and put themselves in the rear of the field for the restart.
McMurray was in front on the restart but another 185-mile-an-hour traffic jam brought out another caution with just seven laps remaining.
The Gordon-Stewart showdown took over from there.
Gatorade Duel #2 Recap
Kyle Busch is for real. The young NASCAR superstar kept his cool, put his Chevy on cruise control and got a shove from teammate Denny Hamlin with just a couple laps left to pass Mark Martin and win the second Gatorade 150 Qualifying Race for Sunday's Daytona 500.
Martin, the 50-year-old ageless phenom, led lots of laps before finishing second ahead of Brian Vickers. If you added the total age of the winner, Busch, and the third-place finisher Vickers, it wouldn't match Martin's racing years but the veteran driver stayed up on the wheel with the young guns in a blazing down-to-the-wire shootout that had a huge crowd cheering wildly at the end.
Juan Pablo Montoya passed Hamlin on the final lap to finish fourth.
Bobby Labonte was sixth in the No. 96 Ask.com Ford, a nice finish for the Hall of Fame Racing single-car team.
Rounding out the top 10 were Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Carl Edwards, Jeremy Mayfield, and AJ Allmindinger.
Earnhardt led laps but fell back when a cut tire forced him to make an unscheduled pit stop.
While it wasn't Earnhardt's afternoon, Mayfield and Allmindinger had to be happy. Both drivers were among those whose only chance to get in the Daytona 500 was to finish ahead of other drivers in the same boat. They did, racing hard all the way.
Mayfield was trying to make it, as did owner Tommy Baldwin and driver Scott Riggs in the first race, as a new single-car team. Mayfield is both owner and driver.
The final four starting spots in The Great American Race went to Bill Elliott, Travis Kvapil, and Regan Smith, as well as former champion Terry Labonte, who received the former champion's provisional.
Elliott, Kvapil and Smith were added to the lineup in the final spots based on their time trial speeds.
Gatorade Duel # 1 Results click here
Gatorade Duel # 2 Results click here
Starting Lineup for the 51st Daytona 500 click here
NASCAR Newscast - Gatorade Duels, Review click here
Photo Gallery - Gatorade Duels click here
Drivers that failed to qualify for the Daytona 500 include: Joe Nemechek, Boris Said, Brad Keselowski, Kirk Shelmerdine,
Mike Wallace, Tony Raines, Mike Garvey, Derrike Cope, Mike Skinner, Kelly Bires, Carl Long, Geoff Bodine, and Norm Benning.
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