DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Daytona 500 qualifying has come to a close. But the starting order for next Sunday's 57th running of The Great American Race is far from finalized.
The all-Hendrick Motorsports front row of Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson has been determined, but what next?
Thursday's Duel at Daytona will have a lot to say about the rest of the field.
Drivers who qualified in odd-number positions on Saturday – including Gordon (1st) – will participate in the first 150-mile race on Thursday, which is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1.
Drivers with even-numbered qualifying positions – including Johnson (2nd), Kasey Kahne (6th) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (10th) – will race in the second 150-mile event, which is scheduled for approximately 8:30 p.m. ET.
Gordon will start in the front row of the first race, while Johnson and Kahne will start in the first and second rows, respectively, of the second race. Earnhardt will start the second race from the back of the field due to his qualifying time being disallowed.
With Gordon and Johnson locked in to first and second, positions three through 32 in the Daytona 500 will be set by the top 15 finishers in each of Thursday's two 150-mile races. The top 15 from the first race will fill the inside row, and the top 15 from the second race will fill the outside row.
Behind them, positions 33 through 36 will be assigned to cars with the fastest single-lap speed from Sunday's Daytona 500 qualifying that have not already earned a starting position.
The next six positions will be filled by car owner provisionals, and finally position 43 will be filled by the past champion provisional, if needed. If more than one past champion is eligible, the most recent champion would be awarded the spot.
Gordon and Johnson know where they'll start.
"You're locked in. You don't have to worry about the performance in the duels. There's a lot of competitive advantage there," Johnson said.
But the rest of the starting order for the Daytona 500 won't come into view until Thursday. Then, all eyes can turn to next Sunday's race at 1 p.m. on FOX.