Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon claimed Gatorade Duel At Daytona victories while Michael Waltrip, Boris Said, Joe Nemechek and Mike Wallace secured Daytona 500 starting spots with their finishes. Starting Lineup
Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon claimed Gatorade Duel At Daytona victories while Michael Waltrip, Boris Said, Joe Nemechek and Mike Wallace secured Daytona 500 starting spots with their finishes.
Tony Stewart kept the No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet in the lead for 37 of the 63 laps to win the first Gatorade Duel in a green-white-checker finish. Stewart was followed by fellow Chevrolet drivers Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Jeff Burton.
Stewart, who won the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona last Saturday under the lights, became only the fifth driver to win both the Shootout and a qualifying race in the same year.
The Indiana native is looking forward to adding a Daytona 500 victory to his résumé later this weekend.
"I'm excited about (the Daytona 500)," Stewart said. "I wish the race was tomorrow; let's put it that way. The qualifying races and Shootouts are great, and so is the (Pepsi 400), but I really want this race on Sunday bad."
Michael Waltrip, the driver of the No. 55 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota who had his qualifying time disallowed and was hit with other penalties, and Boris Said raced their way into the Daytona 500 with their finishes in the Gatorade Duel.
"I've never raced a Saturday night short-track race but that's what I guess it would be like if I ever did it," Said commented. "That was a wild race and it was a lot of fun."
Said Waltrip: "I'm probably the most depressing guy you've ever seen make the Daytona 500."
In the second Gatorade Duel, Gordon captured his 13th career win at Daytona International Speedway when he passed David Stremme and Kurt Busch on the final lap of the race.
"I didn't think I would pull that off," Gordon said. "I can't wait to go back and watch the video on that one - the last three laps were spectacular."
Gordon was too low in post-race inspection and will start at the rear of the field in Sunday's Daytona 500.
Nemechek, driver of the No. 13 CertainTeed Chevrolet, and Wallace, driver of the No. 09 Miccosukee Resorts Chevrolet, both earned their way into the Daytona 500 after finishing 9th and 11th respectively.
Among the drivers that missed the Daytona 500 include 72-year-old James Hylton, former Daytona 500 winners Ward Burton, Bill Elliott and Derrike Cope, Toyota drivers Brian Vickers and AJ Allmendinger, Mike Bliss, Kevin Lepage, Paul Menard, eight-time ARCA champion Frank Kimmel, Mike Skinner, Jeremy Mayfield, Kenny Wallace and Kirk Shelmerdine.
Said Hylton: "I don't remember the last time I had that much fun. When you're driving with this breed of superstars you don't want to do anything to get them out of shape. They were all real good to me, every one of them. I can't say enough about it."
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