Time for the most convoluted qualifying procedure in NASCAR.....round 1
A few more of the images captured show how much of a wreckfest the race itself was.
It isn't the same as an All-Star game in football, hockey or baseball, because the drivers will drive their cars for all they are worth. They aren't going to hold back and let their teammate win, simply to save their equipment or themselves. No, they go all out. And they wreck. Yep, they wrecked big.
But now that race is done and today's business is all about qualifying for the big race, the Daytona 500. And it truthfully is one of the most confusing, convoluted qualifying procedures in any sport, never mind NASCAR.
Today every driver who has paid his entrance fee has a chance to qualify. However, only two spots will be set today, the front row. The rest will race to get in on Thursday, in one or the other of the Twin 150's, (used to be Twin 125's so if you see I've posted that, please forgive me) depending on how they slot into the qualifying order today. Got it?
Good, because that isn't all.
The Twin 150's on Thursday are races within themselves. The finishing positions of each race forms positions 3 and back for the start of the 500. However, the top 35 still comes into play for the Daytona 500, so if a team is locked into the race, they will have a starting position, even if they crash out of qualifying or one of the Twin 150's.
Got that? Good, because that still isn't all. There are only eight actual spots left in the Starting Lineup once the Twin 150's have been run. So, those drivers who aren't in the top 35 in points from last year really are racing to get in, both today and Thursday.
Finally, there is one last spot open for the Champion's Provisional. Terry Labonte is the only past champion in the entry list who needs that provisional, so he is guaranteed in, but the list of those trying to race in includes Mike and Kenny Wallace, Michael Waltrip, Bill Elliott, Robby Gordon and others, fourteen in total. They are the guys with butterflies in their stomachs until the finish of the Twin 150's on Thursday. Michael Waltrip has had some of he most emotional qualifying experiences. In 2010, he qualified 21st, not good enough to get in the race on time. He crashed out of the first Twin 150, and found himself on pins and needles, requiring one or more of the drivers to race into the 500. Scott Speed complied and Mikey was granted the final qualifying spot. Unfortunately, even though he was quickly able to get to the front, he was taken out of the race by the lap 84 "Big One".
Qualifying day doesn't hold much excitement for most drivers, unless they are a go or go home driver. Any one of them will tell you they have no idea how their car is. Qualifying is really the Crew Chief's thing. They set up the car, putting the optimum settings allowed within the parameters of the rules. NASCAR dictates so many of the settings on the car in the current scheme of things, not wanting to give any team an advantage. However, sometimes we are pleasantly surprised.
Do ya hear me Dale Jr? Can you make it two years in a row?
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