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Hendrick Motorsports drivers line up for today's Duels

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 12, 2009) – Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon will be the first two Hendrick Motorsports NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers to take to the track this afternoon, when they line up for the first Gatorade Duel 150 event at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.

The first Gatorade Duel kicks off at 2 p.m. ET and will be televised live on SPEED. A qualifying session on Feb. 8 determined the front row for Sunday’s Daytona 500, and today’s two Gatorade Duels will set the remainder of the field. This format is unique to the Daytona 500.

Hendrick Motorsports’ four drivers qualified 12th or better during the Feb. 8 qualifying session so they will line up sixth or better in today’s events.

Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet, will start the event third, after finishing sixth in Sunday’s qualifying session. Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, qualified ninth so he will start fifth—directly behind Johnson, the three-time defending Cup champion.

Mark Martin, driver of the No. 5 Kellogg’s/CARQUEST Chevrolet, ran the second fastest time during the Feb. 8 qualifying session so he will line up first in the second Gatorade Duel 150. Regardless of his finish today, Martin still should maintain the second-place starting spot for the Daytona 500.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. will line up sixth in the second Gatorade Duel. Earnhardt drove his No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet to claim the 12th fastest time during last Sunday’s qualifying session. He spent most of Wednesday’s practice times getting ready for today’s event.

“My car’s real good,” Earnhardt said after Wednesday’s final practice session. “We’re a little tight—we’re going to work on that and try to get a little better for the second practice here today.  Man, on a straight-away, we’ve got plenty of power—really, really good horsepower.”

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