Joe Gibbs Racing swept tonight’s Twin 150 Duel Races at Daytona International Speedway.
Matt Kenseth won the first 60-lap qualifying race and was followed by another impressive effort from Denny Hamlin, who built upon his victory in last Saturday’s Sprint Unlimited Showdown with a victory in the second duel. Meanwhile Kyle Busch battled an ill-handling race car to finish 20th in the first duel.
Qualifying for the Daytona 500 is unique to the remainder of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season as the pole positions are the only two spots determined by the fastest lap times made during a traditional qualifying session. Austin Dillon earned the pole position last Sunday by running the fastest lap time and was followed by Martin Truex, Jr. who earned the outside pole spot.
The remainder of the field was set tonight based upon the results of two Twin 150 Duels run at Daytona International Speedway.
JGR teammates Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch lined up ninth and 11th respectively for the opening Duel of the night. Kenseth would make his way to the front of the field on lap 28 and led a total of 31 laps en route to an impressive victory which included holding off a hard charging Kevin Harvick at the finish. The win means Kenseth will line up third for the start of Sunday’s Daytona 500. Meanwhile Busch was not as fortunate as he battled an ill-handling car to a 20th-place finish. He will line up 37th for the start of the race Sunday.
Denny Hamlin started No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota from the 11th position in the second duel and was able to build upon his impressive victory last Saturday in the season opening all-star race with another win tonight. He would take the lead with a well-executed pit stop on lap 37 and never looked back taking the checkered flag in first. The win will allow Hamlin to start Sunday’s Daytona 500 from the fourth position.
The Great American Race will once again provide the official start to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season when Fox carries the Daytona 500 live from Daytona International Speedway Sunday, February 23 beginning at Noon ET (race begins at 1 PM ET). The race will also be carried on Sirius NASCAR radio channel 90.