February 11, 2010
Busch Leads, but Forced to Settle for Third in Gatorade Duel
Date: Feb. 11, 2010
M&M’s Driver Will Start Seventh in Sunday’s Daytona 500
Event: Gatorade Duel at Daytona (non-point qualifying races for the 52nd Daytona 500)
Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Location: Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway (2.5-mile oval)
Start/Finish: 6th/3rd (Running, completed 60 of 60 laps)
Gatorade Duel No. 1 – Jimmie Johnson of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Gatorade Duel No. 2 – Kasey Kahne of Richard Petty Motorsports (Ford)
Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), led once for two laps, but had to settle for third-place in race one of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Gatorade Duel 150-mile qualifying races at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.
Busch started sixth and was in the top-five for nearly all of the 60-lap event. He was in second-place as late as lap 58 while attempting to catch eventual winner Jimmie Johnson, but Busch was passed by Kevin Harvick on lap 59. On the final lap, Busch could not find a way around Johnson and second-place Harvick, who came across the finish line side-by-side.
It came down to being pretty wild there at the end, didn’t it?," Busch said. "It was fun. That was a good race. I thought I had the right lane chosen when I saw the top side prevailing all race long. And then the bottom ends up winning the race, so I kind of shot myself in the foot there. Dave Rogers (crew chief) and the guys did an awesome job on this M&M’s Camry.
"We’ve been working real hard on trying to get it to handle better. We’re still not where we need to be, but we’ll see if we can’t make it a little bit better for Sunday and try to have a better car to maneuver a little bit more. Maneuvering is hard because you’re just sliding all over the place. The guys worked hard and gave me a good enough piece to run third, so we’re proud of that. It’s a good starting spot for the 500, so we’ll see what we can get there."
As a result of his third-place finish, Busch will start seventh in Sunday’s Daytona 500.
His JGR teammates, Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin, will start 16th and 25th respectively. Hamlin finished 12th in the first Duel, while Logano finished seventh in the second Duel.
Johnson, the four-time and reigning Sprint Cup champion, won the first Gatorade Duel by .005 of a second over Harvick, while Busch, Clint Bowyer and Regan Smith took spots three through five. The rest of the top-10 consisted of Jamie McMurray, A.J. Allmendinger, Ryan Newman, David Ragan and Jeff Gordon.
Kasey Kahne won the second Gatorade Duel by .014 of a second over Tony Stewart. Juan Pablo Montoya, Kurt Busch and Elliott Sadler rounded out the top-five. The rest of the top-10 consisted of Martin Truex Jr., Logano, Marcos Ambrose, David Reutimann and Brian Vickers.
With the Gatorade Duel races now complete, the field for the Daytona 500 is set. On the pole is Mark Martin and alongside him is his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. By notching the two quickest times during time trials, both drivers were able to lock themselves into the front row for the Daytona 500. All the remaining drivers, however, had to race their way to a starting spot via the Gatorade Duel.
Those who didn’t make the cut and will be forced to watch the Daytona 500 from the sidelines are Casey Mears, Todd Bodine, David Gilliland, Terry Cook, Derrike Cope, Aric Almirola, Dave Blaney, Reed Sorenson, Mike Wallace, Norm Benning and Jeff Fuller.
The 52nd Daytona 500 gets underway at 1 p.m. EST on Sunday, Feb. 14 with live coverage provided by FOX beginning with its pre-race show at noon.