Johnson Kahne Duel Winners

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - There were seven winners Thursday at Daytona International Speedway but only two of them went to victory lane.

Jimmie Johnson and Kasey Kahne scored thrilling victories in the Gatorade Duel at Daytona twin 150-mile races at Daytona International Speedway while Michael McDowell, Max Papis, Mike Bliss and Scott Speed secured starting spots in Sunday's Daytona 500.

Johnson's win in the day's opener came behind-the-wheel of his backup Lowe's Chevrolet after the four-time Sprint Cup champion wrecked his primary mount in Wednesday's practice session. He was able to hold off Saturday night's Budweiser Shootout winner Kevin Harvick in a tight finish to score the victory.

"Our Shootout car was very fast today and the call that [crew chief] Chad [Knaus] made for two tires did the job,” Johnson said of his late race pit stop that gave him track position and proved to be the winning move. “Those guys with new tires behind me had a lot of speed and a lot of energy pushing me.”

Harvick tried to score his second straight win of Speedweeks but despite coming up just short was satisfied with his Daytona start.

"It feels pretty good to know we can run upfront here," Harvick said. "We gave it a great run today and although we didn't win I feel very good about our car and our chances come Sunday."

Kyle Busch finished third followed by Clint Bowyer, Regan Smith, Jamie McMurray and AJ Allmendinger.

“Things got kind of crazy at the end,” Busch said. “It was kind of surprising to see the 48 to win on old tires like that, but his lane had the help. With Harvick and Bowyer teamed up, it was hard to split those guys up.”

The race's two transfer spots went to unheralded Papis and McDowell, who both needed to race their way into the 500.

Kahne's photo finish victory over Tony Stewart in the day's second race was his first win at Daytona.

"I grew up watching races here and always dreamed about going to victory lane," said Kahne, who drove his Richard Petty Motorsports Ford to the win. "It feels pretty good to win at Daytona I can tell you that."

Juan Pablo Montoya, Kurt Busch and Elliott Sadler rounded out the top five.

Bliss finished 13th and Speed 14th to give the duo passes into Sunday's 500.

"It's a win for us today for sure," said Bliss, who drove his Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevrolet into the Daytona 500.

Speed's finish also helped Michael Waltrip earn his way into the 500 and the two-time race winner was grateful to say the least.

"After what happened to me in the first race of the day I kind of thought we were out," said Waltrip, who exited the first 150-miler after a spin. "I owe Scott a big hug and plan to give it to him."

Related Topics:

NASCAR Sprint Cup, 2010, Kasey Kahne

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