Thursday, February 21, 2013

Kyle Busch takes second Budweiser Duel, Daytona 500 lineup set

Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M's Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Budweiser Duel 2 at Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 21, 2013 in Daytona Beach, Florida.
(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch scored his first victory of the 2013 season in the second Budweiser Duel, due in part to what Jeff Gordon can only hope isn't the beginning of a repeat of last season's bad luck. Now the field is set for the Daytona 500.

Gordon started on the pole by virtue of his qualifying effort. Ryan Newman led the first lap but Gordon picked it back up to lead the next 39 laps of the Duel. The No. 24 was clocked too fast entering pit road and the ensuing drive-through penalty took Gordon out of contention for the win. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Terry Labonte also received penalties. 

Mike Bliss' window net fell down during race and he had to go to pit road, costing him his chance at making the 500.

Though the second race was caution-free, Newman must resort to a backup car Sunday after sustaining damage when he brushed the outside wall in an attempt to avoid contact with Jamie McMurray. 

The straight lines of cars running the high banks were reminiscent of pre-COT plate racing, though at this point it's likely that most drivers didn't attempt too many risky moves with so much uncertainty in how the Generation 6 cars would run under race conditions. A few times drivers tried to run the inside line to get to the front but were unable to mount any serious challenge to Busch. 

Joe Gibbs Racing, Richard Childress Racing, Hendrick Motorsports and Michael Waltrip Racing yielded more than one competitive car as the Gordon/Kahne, Kyle Busch/Kenseth, Bowyer/Martin and Menard/Austin Dillon combinations ran close to the front most of the race. 

One discovery is that the side draft seems to create a lot of turbulence around the cars. How quickly they adjust to that instability will determine how much shaking and baking fans will see in the early going of Sunday's big race. 

Kahne, Dillon, Bowyer, and Kenseth rounded out the top five. Josh Wise claimed the transfer spot because of Bliss' window net misfortune. 

The top 15 finishers will line up in the even-numbered starting positions in the Daytona 500.  For more information on how the field is set, see Rebecca Kivak's article here. 
 
1. Kyle Busch  
2. Kasey Kahne  
3. Austin Dillon  
4. Clint Bowyer  
5. Matt Kenseth  
6. Mark Martin  
7. Paul Menard  
8. Jeff Burton  
9. Jamie McMurray  
10. David Ragan  
11. Marcos Ambrose  
12. Jeff Gordon  
13. Aric Almirola  
14. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  
15. Dave Blaney  
16. Josh Wise  
17. Travis Kvapil  
18. Terry Labonte  
19. Michael McDowell  
20. J.J. Yeley  
21. Ryan Newman  
22. Mike Bliss




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