Daytona final practice: Gatorade Duels

Nextel Cup teams took to the race track on Wednesday for the final practice session on the eve of the Gatorade 150 qualifying races. Qualifying, which was ran on Sunday, determined just the front row for the 500, with the rest of the field having...

Nextel Cup teams took to the race track on Wednesday for the final practice session on the eve of the Gatorade 150 qualifying races. Qualifying, which was ran on Sunday, determined just the front row for the 500, with the rest of the field having to race for spots in the Duel's.

Winner of the Bud Shootout, Denny Hamlin, smacked the wall during the initial practice session in the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Chevrolet. Hamlin charted just the 54th fastest time.

"It looks like we just lost the front end coming off turn four," explained Hamlin. "Not really sure if a tire went down or what. The car just took off towards the wall. The more you let off the gas, the harder it slides. We got into the wall a little bit but we are going to fix that car and get it ready for the 150's."

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. paced the first session with a lap of 191.392 mph. Matt Kenseth, Ryan Newman, Kevin LePage and Scott Wimmer completed the top five.

"We're just going to try to get a good balance in the racecar," said Newman. "Get a handle on it and making some changes so we know what to expect in the 500. Basically doing our homework for Sunday."

Brian Vickers turned the quickest lap during the second session of Cup practice with a lap of 191.710 mph.

Mike Wallace blew an engine in the No. 09 Dodge during the second practice bringing out the red flag on practice so about 15 minutes. He still managed to chart the second fastest time with a lap of 191.546 mph.

Greg Biffle, Dale Jarrett and Matt Kenseth completed the top five.

"We're working hard on the National Guard car to get it driving better," commented Biffle. "It's the guy that gets his car to handle well and drives really well in traffic - that is the guy to beat. I haven't been around a lot of cars yet that I've seen real strength out of."

Fifty-eight cars will race in the two Gatorade Duel events for spots in the Daytona 500. Only pole sitter Jeff Burton and outside pole sitter Jeff Gordon have locked their 1-2 starting spots for Sunday's 'Great American Race'.

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Jeff Burton , Dale Jarrett , Matt Kenseth , Greg Biffle , Mike Wallace , Ryan Newman , Scott Wimmer , Brian Vickers , Denny Hamlin
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing