News & Multimedia

Gatorade Duel - Last Chance For Some

Courtesy of

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
Kevin Harvick
Monday Racing Roundup: Harvick Advances With Clutch Win at Dover
Forced to win at Dover International Speedway to keep his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship hopes alive Sunday, Kevin Harvick did just that, dominating Sunday’s AAA 400 to stave off elimination from the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Read More
Tony Stewart
Stewart Officially Announces Retirement from Sprint Cup
Tony Stewart officially announced his retirement from NASCAR Sprint Cup racing after the 2016 season on Wednesday, saying the choice was “100 percent mine” and that he’s not done racing in other series.
Read More
Matt Kenseth
Monday Racing Roundup: Kenseth Wins as Harvick Runs Dry at N.H.
Kenseth, who came to pit road for fuel and tires on Lap 239, triumphed for the fifth time this season (tops in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series), for the second time at the Magic Mile and for the 36th time in his career. He finished 8.941 seconds ahead of Hamlin, who nursed his car to a runner-up finish despite a late-race issue with the right front wheel.
Read More
Denny Hamlin
Monday Racing Roundup: Hamlin Wins Chase Opener at Chicagoland
Hamlin’s first victory at Chicagoland, his second of the season and the 16th of his career ensured the driver of the No. 11 JGR Toyota will advance from the Challenger Round to the Contender Round of the Chase, as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to New Hampshire and the second race of the postseason.
Read More
NASCAR Green Award
IMS Wins Award for Solar Farm at NASCAR Green Summit
For more than 100 years, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has stood for moving forward and breaking records. The IMS Solar Farm continues this tradition, and was recently recognized with an award at the NASCAR Green Summit.
Read More
Items 1 - 5 of 654
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
Latest Tweets
.@PippaMann was at IMS with Breast Cancer #survivors, do you remember her first #Indy500 -
about 7 hours ago