Thursday, February 23, 2012

2012 NASCAR: Tony Stewart and Matt Kenseth win Gatorade Duel races at Daytona while Kenny Wallace, Michael Waltrip and more DNQ for the Daytona 500.

(Photo Credit: Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

With single-car qualifying last Sunday and the Duels at Daytona in the record books, we now know the 43 starters for the 2012 Daytona 500 and we also know who is out of the Daytona 500 as well.

In the Duel #1, it was Tony Stewart beating Dale Earnhardt Jr. to win the first Duel race, while three separate wrecks would claim several drivers including sending Juan Montoya, Danica Patrick and more to a backup call. And Michael Waltrip will miss the 500 after wrecking off turn 2 going from the apron to the main racing grove. Damn what a hard hit Danica Patrick took on the back straightaway, when she got send flying into the inside wall. She did get out and wall away. I guess her open wheel experience helped her as she took her hands off the steering wheel just before the crash.

But in Duel #2, it was Matt Kenseth in a late race charge to win the second duel in what was a boring race until two laps to go. Interesting seeing the teammates of Greg Biffle and Matt Kenseth slice and dice for the lead, but I know that once Kenseth was left out to dry by Biffle early on, Kenseth wouldn’t run with him late in the race. Plus Kenseth really wanted that win and a tip of the hat to Jimmie Johnson, who pushing Kenseth up to the front to contend for the victory.

DNQ: 09-Kenny Wallace 40-Michael Waltrip 97-Bill Elliott 37-Mike Wallace 23-Robert Richardson and 49-JJ. Yeley

Final thoughts: Very interesting set of 150 mile qualifying races at Daytona with the first race being action packed, while the second race being well boring until the final two laps. But at the end of the day, this was a happy day for some, while others it was the end of chasing Daytona 2012 including fan favorites Kenny Wallace and Michael Waltrip. Both drivers will have to watch from the side lines at the racetrack. Now its time for Sunday’s Daytona 500, let’s go racing.