One round of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series timed qualifying will be held on February 12th. Each team will run two laps with the best time of the two setting the qualifying time. The two fastest qualifiers set starting positions one and two and are the only guaranteed starters, filling the front row for the Daytona 500.
The Gatorade Duels, the 150-mile qualifying races held on February 16th, will determine starting positions for the Daytona 500 beyond the front row. In the event of cancellation, the field will be set according to the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Rule Book.
The eligible highest ranked 35 in 2005 car owner points will be assigned to Gatorade Duel races based on their standing in the 2005 final car owner points. Odd-numbered owner points will compete in the first Gatorade Duel led to the green by the Bud Pole winner; even-numbered owners will compete in the second. The only exception is that the fastest qualifier will compete in the first Gatorade Duel and the second fastest will complete in the second, regardless of 2005 car owner point standings. Owners who failed to finish in the top-35 of the 2005 car owner points will be assigned to a Gatorade Duel based on qualifying times – the highest qualifying owner to the first Duel; the next to the second and alternating through the remaining entries. Starting positions for the Gatorade Duels are based on qualifying times.
Finishing positions in the Gatorade Duels will determine starting positions in the Daytona 500. First the front row qualifiers will be removed from the equation. The eligible highest ranked 35 in car owner points plus the two highest finishing non-top 35 teams will be lined up in the odd-number starting positions based on their finish in the first Duel. The eligible highest ranked 35 in car owner points plus the two highest finishing nontop 35 teams will be lined up in the even-number starting positions based on their finish in the second Duel.
The remaining positions will be filled based on qualifying times beginning with the next available position.
The 43rd starting position will be assigned to any car owner who has a past NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Champion as the driver who does not make the race by any other method providing the driver competed in the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season. If the 43rd position remains unused it will be assigned to the next highest qualifying time.