The Daytona 500 is set to take place on Sunday morning and the 2011 field is set after qualifying that spanned nearly a week. Dale Earnhardt Jr. took home to pole during last Sunday’s qualifying, registering the fastest lap during the traditional qualifying portion of SpeedWeeks. Jeff Gordon was second-fastest, and was locked-in on the outside of the first row. After those two, though, the Gatorade Duels determined the rest of the field, with one race setting the inside row and the other setting the outside.
Kurt Busch took home the first of the Gatorade Duels, securing the No. 3 spot in the Daytona 500. However, with Earnhardt Jr. crashing during practice on Wednesday, forcing him to switch to a backup car, Busch will start on the pole on Sunday, even though Earnhardt Jr. is still technically the pole-sitting. Because he’s in a backup car, Earnhardt Jr. will start on the last row.
Kasey Kahne was fifth in the first Gatorade Duel, securing a high starting position for Sunday’s race. Kahne is slotted in the 11th spot, but with everyone moving up a notch because of Earnhardt Jr.’s crash will start on the inside of the fifth row. After a disappointing Bud Shootout in which he blew an engine early during the race, Kahne is looking for a little redemption at Daytona International Speedway.
Jeff Burton took home the second Gatorade Duel, and will start on the outside of row two behind Gordon. Clint Bowyer will be on the outside of the third row, with Michael Waltrip behind him in the fourth and Kyle Busch on the outside of row five. The full starting grid can be found here.
For more on SpeedWeeks, check out our Daytona 500 StoryStream.