Dale Earnhardt Junior And Kyle Busch Win Thursday’s Qualifying Races

Dale Earnhardt Junior and Kyle Busch win Thursday’s qualifying races  as the starting field was set for Sunday’s Daytona 500. For the second year in a row, Earnhardt won the first half of the doubleheader and will start third in “The Great American Race.” With his victory in the nightcap, Busch secured the Number-4 starting spot in the Sprint Cup Series season opener – picking right up where he left off in his 2015 championship season three months ago. After starting second in Thursday’s 150-mile qualifier, Busch led a race-high thirty-five laps including the final twenty-one trips around Daytona International Speedway’s two-point-five-mile oval. Jamie McMurray finished second with Kurt Busch, Carl Edwards and Ty Dillon completing the top five. Matt Kenseth started from the pole, led the first twenty-three laps before yielding to Busch and finished sixteenth in the twenty-two-car field … In the first half of Thursday’s Can-Am Duel, Earnhardt grabbed an early lead and kept his Number-88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet in front for forty-three of the sixty laps, beating runner-up Joey Logano to the checkered flag by eighteen one-hundredths of a second.

Rookie Ryan Blaney finished third with Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin completing the top five. Daytona 500 pole winner Chase Elliott placed sixth … With thirty-six of the forty Daytona 500 starting spots guaranteed to NASCAR’s freshly minted “Charter” teams, there were just four spots available for non-Charter drivers. Those went to Blaney, Matt DiBenedetto, Michael McDowell and Robert Richardson Junior. With forty-four drivers entered this year, four failed to qualify: David Gilliland, Reed Sorenson, Cole Whitt and Josh Wise.


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