Stewart and Kenseth Duel Winners

Gatorade Duel at Daytona

Stewart and Kenseth celebrated in Victory Lane at Daytona on Thursday. (Photo: Getty Images)

Race 1 Results | Race 2 Results | Daytona 500 Starting Lineup

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Tony Stewart and Matt Kenseth each scored a win on Thursday in their respective Gatorade Duel as the lineup for the 54th annual Daytona 500 was set.

Stewart, who won the opening race, was ahead of Dale Earnhardt Jr. when the caution flew on the white flag lap for a violent crash on the backstretch involving Danica Patrick.

"This Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevy has been awesome all weekend," said Stewart, who will start third on Sunday. "We have a great starting spot for the (Daytona) 500. This thing has been fast so we are hoping to be there at the end on Sunday.”

It marked Stewart's first win with crew chief Steve Addington.

"Feels great," Addington said. "Everybody in the organization has welcomed me with open arms, has got in there and done everything that I've asked of them. Just told me whatever they need, they'd get it done for me. The reason I came here is because there's a bunch of racers there. We just want to go win races. I'm pretty happy about my decision."

Gatorade Duel at DaytonaPatrick was running in the pack when contact sent her hard into the inside retaining wall. She was able to climb out of the battered machine uninjured and will now have to start the Daytona 500 in a backup car.

“It happened really quickly," Patrick said. "I guess you can always imagine when you get down to the end of the race everyone is on each other’s doors really close. It’s just kind of what happens at the end of the race. Unfortunately, I was part of it."

Marcos Ambrose, Jeff Burton and Daytona 500 pole winner Carl Edwards rounded out the top five.

Denny Hamlin led the most laps in the first race, with 27, but was forced to pit his No. 11 FedEx Toyota under green for fuel and fell a lap down. He will start 31st on Sunday.

"Our car was pretty strong," Hamlin said. "We raced right to the top five in five laps and really had a car that we felt like could contend with those guys. We didn't have very good fuel mileage and we had to pit when those other guys didn't, so it just really hurt our chances going a lap down."

The first race saw Michael McDowell and Robby Gordon secure spots in the Daytona 500.

McDowell had drafting help from Trevor Bayne in the closing laps to finish sixth in the No. 98 KLOVE/Curb Records Ford.

“It’s unbelievable." said McDowell, who will start 11th. "I owe him (Bayne) big. There’s a special bond there that you can’t break, so it’s just cool to see when you work together what you can accomplish.”

Gatorade Duel at DaytonaGordon, who finished ninth, experienced a scare early when seepage of oil in the radiator tray splashed up on the motor causing it to smoke.

"I'm like, oh, man, this thing is going to blow up," Gordon said. "It kind of played into my hand because when the race started, I didn't know if I should go balls to the wall and make sure we run at the front, take a chance of being in one of those wrecks, or be around for the last dance."

Now that he's in the Daytona 500, Gordon will be looking to acquire a new engine.

"We're going to obviously have to do something on Sunday," said Gordon, who will start 17th. "This is our motor that we do with Arrington. If we can get a Penske motor for the 500, that's going to be the number one priority from here to the 500. For Dodge, it's the right thing. There are only three Dodges in the race."

In addition to the crash that ended the race, there were other incidents including one involving Michael Waltrip, who was also trying to race his way into the 500. But after pitting for fuel under green, Waltrip came back on track and lost control of his Toyota before making hard impact nose first into the wall. The Hillman Racing entry was destroyed and Waltrip's hope of making the 500 came to an end.

"I just went the wrong way and lost the car," Waltrip said. "I feel like I let everybody down. I raced my way to the front and then I let them down. It's just really hard. I don't know what to say -- it's just sad. Thankful to my team and Aaron's for giving me the opportunity and hate that I let everybody down."

A three car pile-up earlier in the race took out David Gilliland, Paul Menard and Juan Pablo Montoya as the trio was swept up in a multi-car accident. The trio already have spots in the 500 guaranteed, but will go to backup cars for the race.

Gilliland had to have one stitch on his thumb after the incident.

“I feel good, I am fine," Gilliland said. "I cut up my hand on my helmet and I had to get it stitched. I am fine, just disappointed. It was a short day. Our Fusion had good speed and I feel confident about our backup car, so we will get it out and get it going again.”

Gatorade Duel at DaytonaThe second Duel saw Kenseth give Roush Fenway Racing its first win in the qualifying race.

With drafting help from Jimmie Johnson, Kenseth swung in front of his teammate Greg Biffle on the final lap and went on to the win over Regan Smith and Johnson.

"Early on, Jimmie, I saw him on the outside, he was able to push us up to the front," said Kenseth, who will start fourth in the Daytona 500. "We were able to stay up there for quite a while in the beginning together, then he got around me. When I saw him on the outside of the end, I decided that was my best shot for the win. I tried to get under one of the guys in front of me, still have one in front of me. Just kind of backed up to his bumper and he stayed right with me, kept shoving me all the way in there."

Biffle dominated the race, leading 40 laps, but wound up fifth in the end.

Dave Blaney and Joe Nemechek earned the two transfer spots in the second Duel after finishing 12th and 17th, respectively.

Gatorade Duel at Daytona"I was confident we could get in," said Blaney, who will make his 11th Daytona 500 start. "We've had strong runs here lately in the restrictor plate cars. Baldwin's group always brings good ones. It ran well today. Could run near the front early. We settled in for a while. We had to be so cautious not to slide the tires. That could have killed our race. We gave up staying with the pack because of that, but it ended up fine, uneventful, which was good for us. Relieved, I guess."

Nemechek's Daytona 500 start will be the 17th of his career.

"We have a small group of guys that have worked really, really hard over the off season to get down here," Nemechek said. "It just makes it all worth it."

The remaining three spots were earned based on qualifying time for Trevor Bayne, Tony Raines and David Stremme. Terry Labonte earned a spot via the past champion provisional.

Michael Waltrip, Robert Richardson Jr., Bill Elliott, Mike Wallace, Kenny Wallace and JJ Yeley failed to make Sunday's running of "The Great American Race." 

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