Sunday’s qualifying session at Daytona International Speedway set the front row for next Sunday’s Daytona 500, with Chase Elliott winning the pole and Matt Kenseth starting second.
But that wasn’t all that Sunday’s session determined. It also set the starting lineups for this Thursday’s two Can-Am Duel races at Daytona, with Elliott starting from the pole in the first Duel and Kenseth starting from the pole in the second Duel.
The Duels will determine starting positions 3-40 for the 500.
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A total of 44 cars are attempting to qualify for the 40-car Daytona 500 field. Sunday’s qualifying session locked in only the front row for next Sunday’s big race.
In the 40-car 500 field, the 36 teams with NASCAR Charters are all guaranteed starting spots. There are eight non-charter teams — NASCAR calls them "Open" teams — in the 500. Four of the eight will qualify for the 500 and four won’t.
Among the Open drivers, Ryan Blaney and Matt DiBenedetto were fastest in qualifying on Sunday, which guarantees them starting spots in the 500.
The highest finishing Open team in each Can-Am Duel race also will make the 500 field.
In each of the Can-Am races, the fields will consist of 18 Charter teams and four Open teams.
The first Duel is made up those Sunday "odd-numbered" qualifiers such as Elliiott (No. 1), his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 3), and so on. Kevin Harvick must start from the rear of the field after his No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet was cited for a track-bar violation in post-qualifying inspection Sunday.
The second Duel is made up of Sunday’s "even-numbered" qualifers, led by Kenseth (No. 2), his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch (No. 4) and so on. Brian Vickers (post-qualifying track-bar violation) and Martin Truex Jr. (pre-qualifying roof-flap violation) will start from the rear of the field.