There’ll be forty-four drivers starting today’s twin 150-mile qualifying races with forty advancing to Sunday’s fifty- eighth running of the Daytona 500. Hendrick Motorsports rookie Chase Elliott, who won the pole last weekend; and Joe Gibbs Racing’s Matt Kenseth have front-row starting spots locked in for “The Great American Race” regardless of where they finish in tonight’s doubleheader. With NASCAR’s recently-announced “Charter” system, thirty-six teams are guaranteed starting spots in the “five hundred.” Among non-Charter teams, two drivers – Ryan Blaney and Matt DiBenedetto – are assured of a spot by virtue of their qualifying speeds. That leaves three drivers competing for one available Daytona 500 berth in each of tonight’s qualifying races. Race-1 will feature Michael McDowell, Cole Whitt and Josh Wise scrapping for the one available transfer spot. Race-2 has David Gilliland, Robert Richardson Junior and Reed Sorenson in the hunt … Notable drivers in the first half of tonight’s doubleheader include Dale Earnhardt Junior, defending Daytona 500 winner Joey Logano and 2014 Sprint Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick. Race-2 includes reigning Cup Series champ Kyle Busch and his brother Kurt.
Listen to the action tonight on 104.9 FM KBOE!