DAYTONA 500 Qualifying By Kroger is different from any other race weekend as the starting lineup for the DAYTONA 500 race – except for the two drivers that post the two fastest timed laps in the final round of qualifying – isn't set on qualifying day. The DAYTONA 500 Qualifying By Kroger simply sets the lineup for the two Can-Am Duel races on Thursday, February 18.
How It Works:
Unlike qualifying at other races, qualifying at Daytona International Speedway consists of two rounds of cars being sent out, one at a time, to make a single timed lap. Vehicles drawing an odd number will be in the first group with even numbers in the second group. The first round is five minutes, and the 24 fastest cars advance to the second round. Following a 10-minute break, the second round will be five minutes with the fastest 12 cars advancing to the third and final round. A seven-minute break will precede the third round to run for the pole position, which will last five minutes. This final round of single-car qualifying determines the front row for the DAYTONA 500 on Sunday, February 21. The next four fastest drivers – based on speeds counted from any of the three qualifying rounds – will also locked themselves into the DAYTONA 500 field, with specific starting positions to be determined after Thursday night's Can-Am Duel. Ultimately, DAYTONA 500 Qualifying By Kroger sets the front row for the DAYTONA 500 and the starting lineup for the Can-Am Duel fields, with the number of Charter team and Open team cars split evenly throughout both races
How it happened in 2015:
To give you a more specific example of how this works, let’s take a look at the 2015 DAYTONA 500 Qualifying By Kroger. Jeff Gordon claimed with pole as time expired on the final round with a lap of 44.711 seconds, which was .035 second better than teammate Jimmie Johnson. Therefore, Gordon and Johnson started in the front row for the 57th running of The Great American Race and didn’t need to run in the Can-Am Duel.