News & Multimedia

Gatorade Duel - Last Chance For Some

Courtesy of Speed.com

For some, it’s a last chance to shine before the Daytona 500. For others, it’s simply a last chance.

Forty-nine Sprint Cup drivers will compete in a pair of 150-mile qualifying races – the Gatorade Duel – Thursday afternoon (2 p.m. ET on SPEED) at Daytona International Speedway.

The races will play a significant role in determining the starting grid for Sunday’s 500. Although all drivers linked to a team that finished in the top 35 in owner points last season are assured of a spot in the 500, Thursday’s races will be the last shot for a group that includes some big names.

Looking to race their way into the 500 Thursday will be Michael Waltrip, Bill Elliott, Kenny Wallace, Dave Blaney, Joe Nemechek, Michael McDowell, Robert Richardson Jr., Robby Gordon and J.J. Yeley.

The only specific positions solidified in the 500 field are first and second. Carl Edwards won the pole Sunday with a speed of 194.738 mph, and his Roush Fenway Racing teammate Greg Biffle took the other front row spot at 194.087. Other drivers assured themselves of positions on the grid in Sunday qualifying, but Edwards and Biffle are the only drivers with locked-in spots.

The front-row starters always face somewhat of a dilemma in the qualifying races – run for the win or drive conservatively and protect what obviously is a good car.

But Edwards says here is no debate.

“I know how good our backup car is,” he said. “I also know you can’t give these other guys any advantage. If I were to not race and not understand the dynamics that are going to happen during the daytime here at this race track with this package, I’d be giving them something. I have to go out there as a driver and mix it up, race, see how our car handles.”

Biffle expressed similar feelings.

“Certainly the primary concern is to protect the race car,” he said. “We know that we want to start the race with this 500 car. We got a lot of work into it.

“Secondly, we need to get in competition with this car, see how it drives, see what adjustments we need to make to it, what we want to do to it.

“I’m sure at some point we’ll be back in a little bit of traffic, but we don’t want to get back in the latter part of this event three-wide or something, back where guys are fighting for their life to try to get in the 500.”

Edwards, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Marcos Ambrose, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Trevor Bayne will start in the first five in the first race. In the top five on the grid in race two are Biffle, Casey Mears, Jeff Gordon, Martin Truex Jr. and Mark Martin.
 

Show More Show Less
Now Viewing
Gatorade Duel - Last Chance For Some
 
Gatorade Duel - Last Chance For Some
For some, it’s a last chance to shine before the Daytona 500. For others, it’s simply a last chance.
Read More
Related Media
David Ragan
 
Ragan Predicts Speed, Excitement at New-Look Brickyard 400
Strategy, track position and a fast car always have formed the blueprint for victory at the Brickyard 400, due to the long straightaways and narrow, relatively flat corners of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Read More
IMS Crowd
 
IMS Seating To Be Smoke-Free Beginning in October 2017
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced today that its grandstands will be entirely smoke-free beginning with the 2017 Red Bull Air Race. In addition, leading up to the Air Race, the track will provide limited smoke-free family grandstands at select Month of May events and at the Brickyard 400.
Read More
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
 
IMS Statement about Retirement of Dale Earnhardt Jr. after 2017 Season
Indianapolis Motor Speedway President J. Douglas Boles made this statement about Earnhardt, whose illustrious career includes two Daytona 500 victories, 26 overall Cup points-paying victories, two NASCAR XFINITY Series championships and a record 14 consecutive NASCAR Most Popular Driver Awards:
Read More
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
 
Earnhardt Jr. To Retire Following 2017 Season
Dale Earnhardt Jr. will retire following the 2017 NASCAR season, Hendrick Motorsports announced Tuesday in a press release.
Read More
A.J. Foyt - A Legendary Exhibition
 
Foyt’s Cars, Memorabilia Featured in IMS Museum Exhibit Opening Friday, April 14
Racing fans can enjoy a walk through the incredible career of four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A.J. Foyt by visiting a new exhibit that opens Friday, April 14 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.
Read More
Items 1 - 5 of 730
Reserve one of our hospitality suites for your next event!
To start planning your event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway please fill out our Information Request Form or contact Laura Wyamn at (317) 492-8557 or email at lwyman@brickyard.com.
Latest Tweets
Condolences to the family and friends of the late Joe Leonard. See the racing legacy he leaves behind: https://t.co/WZf99FePsf
about 26 minutes ago