Since the front row for the Daytona 500 was set during a Daytona 500 qualifying session last Sunday, the drivers of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series had one last chance to race their way in. About half of the Cup Series drivers took to the track to race their way into the Daytona 500 during the first of two races in the Budweiser Duel, but it was Matt Kenseth who took control.
During the first of the two races in the Budweiser Duel, Kenseth raced his way to the second row of the Daytona 500 line up after holding off Kevin Harvick and Kasey Kahne for the win. The race down to the checkered flag looked to be a photo finish as all three drivers went three wide, but Kenseth edged out to continue his success from 2013.
The win at the Budweiser Duel gives Kenseth a win heading into the season opener on Sunday. Kenseth’s win also gives Joe Gibbs Racing their second win at Daytona following Denny Hamlin’s Sprint Unlimited win.
During the first duel race, it featured some feel good stories as Josh Wise and cup rookies Alex Bowman and Cole Whitt raced their way into the Daytona 500.
Meanwhile for Harvick, despite the top three finish at the checkered flag, his finish was disallowed as the No.4 failed post-race inspection. Harvick will still get to race in the Daytona 500.
The first of the two duels allowed fans to see some good racing heading into the finish. As many within the duels were racing to qualify into their first Daytona 500, it allowed for some storylines to follow. The first duel race was just the calm of the storm and just the start of what was to follow in duel race No. 2.