Thursday, February 19, 2015

Duel Races Sets Remainder Of Daytona 500 Field

Only the front row starting positions for Sunday’s Daytona 500 are set, with Jeff Gordon winning the Coors Light Pole and Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson joining him on the front row. Thursday’s night’s Duel at Daytona (7 p.m. on FOX Sports 1) will set the remainder of the field.

• The front row – Gordon and Johnson – was set after Sunday’s Coors Light Pole qualifying last Sunday.

• The highest 15 finishers in each Duel race – excluding the already locked-in front row – will earn a spot in the Daytona 500, and fill positions 3-32.

• Based on their finishing position in the first Duel race, the top 15 will line up on the inside row (odd-number starting positions).

• Based on their finishing position in the second Duel race, the top 15 will line up on the outside row (even-number starting positions).

• Positions 33-36 will go to the four fastest cars from any round of qualifying that have not already earned a spot. Aric Almirola, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Carl Edwards and Jamie McMurray – who turned the four fastest laps in qualifying – can fall back on their times should they not earn a spot via their Duel finish.

• Position 37-42 will be provisional positions, and go to the highest six cars in 2014 owner points that have not already qualified via the Duel or Coors Light Pole qualifying. If they don’t earn a spot via the Duel, Kevin Harvick, Ryan Newman, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski and Matt Kenseth will nab a spot via their 2014 owner points position.

• Finally, the 43rd starting position will be assigned to any car owner who has the most recent eligible past NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion who did not make the field by any other method. Since Harvick (2014 champion), Johnson (2013 champion) and Keselowski (2012 champion) would have already made the field using one of the means detailed above, this spot would go to Tony Stewart, the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion. If the 43rd position remains unused by a past champion it will be assigned to the next highest car in 2014 owner points not already locked into the field.