Saturday, February 21, 2015

Speedweeks Preview | Budweiser Duels Review and Daytona 500 Preview

Hey guys!

Daytona International Speedway (Photo:
The field has officially been set for the Great American Race and we know who ended up having their dreams crushed by not making it into the field after the Duels on Thursday night.  Before we get into that let's talk about tonight's race shall we?

The Camping World Truck Series started their race on Fox Sports 1 at 7:30 PM.  Like I mentioned in yesterday's post the qualifying format for the Truck series and the Xfinity series had been changed in response to the criticism of the Sprint Cup qualifying.  Overall the qualifying session was much smoother; however, there were some favorites that found themselves in the back of the lineup for tonight's race.  Timothy Peters ended up in an accident and has to start at the back of the field with a backup truck.  Also Matt Crafton and Daniel Suarez are starting in the back due to issues that caused them to not make it past the first round of qualifying.

Camping World Truck Series at Daytona (Photo:

At the end of the qualifying session Ty Dillon found himself at the top of the board with Travis Kvapil, Tyler Reddick, Austin Theriault, and James Buscher filling out the top 5.  After a caution filled race Tyler Reddick took home the trophy.

Tomorrow the Xfinity series will qualify for their race at 12:15 on Fox Sports 1.  The Xfinity series will use the same qualifying method that the Camping World Truck Series used earlier today.  The series saw their first time on track earlier today with two practice sessions.  It was no surprise to see Kyle Busch at the top of the speed charts for the first practice.  He was closely followed by Justin Marks, Mike Wallace, Darrell Wallace Jr., and Ty Dillon.  The series took a short break for the Cup Series practice and saw their final practice session at 3:30 in the afternoon.   Mike Wallace had the fastest time in the final practice followed by Brian Scott, Chad Boat, Jeremy Clements, and Ross Chastain.

The Xfinity series will take the green flag at 3:30 on Fox Sports 1 for their 300 mile 120 lap race.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. wins Budweiser Duel 1 (Photo:
As for the Budweiser Duels from Thursday night Dale Earnhardt Jr. took home the checkered flag for the first of the two races.  If you remember from my post yesterday Jeff Gordon started on the pole for the first duel while Dale Earnhardt Jr. started at the back of the field.  Earnhardt Jr., managed to draft up to the middle of the field within a few laps and was running at the front of the field not long after.  Despite Jeff Gordon finishing second he will still lead the field to the green flag for the Daytona 500.  Dale Earnhardt Jr. will start the Daytona 500 in the 3rd position.  The full finishing order for the first Duel can be found here.  Since Jeff Gordon finished in the top 15, the top 16 drivers from the first duel race will start the Daytona 500 on the inside row for positions 3-32.  

Duel 2 started at 9 PM with a lot of drivers uncertain about their fate.  Danica Patrick risked not making the Daytona 500 if she didn't finish in the top 15 (or top 16 should Jimmie Johnson finish in the top 15).   There ended up being a large wreck toward the end of this race involving Patrick; however, she managed to finish 10th.  Jimmie Johnson took home the checkered flag after starting on the pole.  

So who goes home?  After everything was said and done six drivers had to go home.  Alex Bowman, Jeb Burton, Ron Hornaday Jr., Justin Marks, Brian Scott, and Josh Wise all missed the field.  It is unfortunate for small teams to miss the Daytona 500 since the prize money for last place will fund quite a bit of their season.  

2015 Daytona 500 (photo:
There were two more practice sessions for the Sprint Cup series earlier today.  In the first session there were only 11 cars that took to the track.  Most of the teams took the opportunity to work on the car for the 500 by changing fluids, parts, and motors others were trying to fix the damage done during the Duels.  In this practice Jeff Gordon posted the fastest time.  The afternoon session saw 25 cars on the track with Dale Earnhardt Jr. posting the fastest speed.  The afternoon session was practice number 7 for the Sprint Cup Series and they will have one more practice tomorrow morning at 10:30 AM.  

After that practice session the next time we will see the Sprint Cup cars will be Sunday afternoon for the Daytona 500.  Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson will lead the field to the green flag with Dale Earnhardt Jr starting third and Kyle Busch starting fourth.  The forecast for Sunday is in the upper 70s for Daytona which is a far cry from the last few days down there.   

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