The line up for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season opener the Daytona 500 is officially set following the Budweiser Duels.
During the first of two 60 laps 150-mile races in the Budweiser Duels, Kevin Harvick secured himself a spot in the second row and will start the Daytona 500 in third. The win on Thursday is Harvick’s second in just one week following the Sprint Unlimited.
Joining Harvick on the second row will be Kyle Busch as he won the second duel of the day. Busch ran within the lead pack all race long and took the lead for the remainder of the race. He was able to keep the lead despite a late race charge by Kasey Kahne to win his second Budweiser Duel .
Throughout for more than half of the first race Trevor Bayne seemed to be the car to beat and looked to be well on his way to keep his third place qualifying spot from last Sunday but after getting caught in a wreck involving Denny Hamlin and Carl Edwards. Despite the wreck Bayne did qualify into the race on Sunday by speed in his qualifying lap last Sunday.
In race number two Ryan Newman saved his car from wrecking as many drivers made their way to the pits. Others left their Daytona 500 starting spot in question after receiving penalties.
The Budweiser duels wouldn’t be the duels without all the emotion with all of the drivers within the field as every driver with the exception of Danica Patrick and Jeff Gordon had to race their way in. For many within the first duel had to wait until the end of the second race to see if they would be a part of the Daytona 500. Along the way there were a few surprises as Scott Speed made his way in after a long fought hard race and as Martin Truex Jr., was black flagged for a lost side window.
There were possibilities of a couple of drivers to possibly miss qualifying into the race such as Dale Earnhardt Jr. but many of them raced their way in.
By the end of the Duels two drivers did not make the field for the Daytona 500 Brian Keselowski and Mike Bliss.
In past years the first duel usually consisted of more troubles and wrecks but this year it seemed a bit more calm and cautious as only one wreck occurred with one to go and as pole sitter Patrick was told to go back to keep her car safe. Duel race number two saw a little more action within pit strategies and penalties on pit road.
As one of the most anticipated Daytona 500’s is set to go, the start of the year is off to an action filled start. The season has already gotten off to a historic start with the pole win for Patrick and along with the surprises from the Duels. The 2013 NASCAR season is just getting started and the Daytona 500 won’t seem to disappoint this year but one thing seems to be confirmed the two-car tandem won’t make an appearance anytime soon.