Race recap: Hendrick Motorsports in the Duels
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Jeff Gordon survived a last-lap incident that affected teammate Jimmie Johnson to take runner-up honors in the second Duel on Thursday. Johnson was scored with a 16th-place result in the second Daytona 500 qualifying event.
Prior to the second Duel, Kasey Kahne and Dale Earnhardt Jr. raced in the first 150-mile qualifier, finishing third and fourth, respectively. The Duels determine the starting lineup for Sunday's Daytona 500 (1 p.m. ET on FOX).
Unofficially, Kahne will start fifth and Gordon will line up sixth for The Great American Race. Earnhardt will roll off the grid ninth, while Johnson will start 32nd. Official starting positions will be decided later tonight.
Here is a look at how the Hendrick Motorsports drivers fared in the Duels:
Duel No. 1
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 National Guard Chevrolet SS
Starting spot: Fourth
Recap: Earnhardt wasted little time on Thursday, moving into the second position by the second lap. Earnhardt led 14 laps before making his green-flag pit stop just past the halfway point of the 60-lap event. As he hit the brakes for his pit stall, Earnhardt flat-spotted his tires. His No. 88 team packed the National Guard Chevrolet SS full of fuel, but upon returning to the 2.5-mile superspeedway, Earnhardt reported a vibration to crew chief Steve Letarte. The issue caused Earnhardt to slip several positions, but he climbed back into the top 10 by Lap 45. With 12 laps to go, Earnhardt moved into the fifth position and 10 laps later, he moved into the fourth position behind teammate Kasey Kahne. He ultimately finished fifth.
Kasey Kahne, driver of the No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS
Starting spot: 10th
Recap: Kahne opened Thursday's qualifier from the 10th position and immediately lost the draft, slipping to 23rd. He rallied to take the fifth position by Lap 20 and climbed into third one lap later. Kahne took advantage of green-flag stops just past the halfway point to lead one lap around Daytona's 2.5-mile superspeedway. He hit pit road after leading Lap 39 for fuel only and returned to run inside the top five. Kahne maintained the third position for the remainder of the race.
Duel No. 2
Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet SS
Starting spot: Fourth
Recap: After starting in the fourth position, Gordon quickly moved into second by Lap 2. He maintained third for 28 laps until he came in for fuel during his green-flag pit stop on Lap 36. Back on track, Gordon slipped to fourth, but quickly reclaimed third by Lap 41. He avoided a multi-car incident on the final lap to finish second.
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS
Starting spot: Seventh
Recap: Johnson started strong, quickly moving into the runner-up position by Lap 3. However, he lost the draft and slipped to 12th by the sixth lap. After his green-flag pit stop on Lap 36, Johnson moved from the middle into the third spot with 20 laps to go. By Lap 45, he was running fourth behind teammate Jeff Gordon. Johnson was running fourth and ran out of fuel on the final lap, triggering a multi-car incident. He was scored with the ninth-place finish.