new Daytona qualifier race
Daytona 500 qualifying races get facelift
'Gatorade Duel at Daytona' will now feature two 150-mile races
December 18, 2004
10:33 AM EST (15:33 GMT)
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- The qualifying races for the Daytona 500, which feature every Daytona 500 entrant and determine the starting lineup for the "Great American Race," will carry a new name and distance beginning with Speedweeks 2005.
The Gatorade Duel at Daytona, which has traditionally been two 125-mile qualifying races, will now be a pair of 150-mile qualifying races. The extra 25 miles, equivalent to 10 laps, will force teams to re-think their pit strategy as they fight to make the field for the Daytona 500, known as NASCAR's richest and most prestigious race.
In addition, there will be an extended break with live entertainment between the 150-mile Gatorade Duel qualifying races.
In recent years, NASCAR Cup teams had advanced their cars' ability to make the 125-mile distance without a pit stop, which was one thing that prompted the change.
"We're excited about adding a new twist into an already exciting day of racing," Daytona International Speedway president Robin Braig said. "The new distance to the Gatorade Duel At Daytona will give Daytona 500 entrants 10 more laps to fight to make the field for NASCAR's signature event."
This is the second time in the history of the event that the distance has been changed. From 1959-1968, the Daytona 500 qualifying races were each 100 miles. Beginning in 1969, the race was extended to 125 miles.
"In addition to creating a more competitive racing environment for entry into the Daytona 500, the Gatorade Duel At Daytona will deliver an even more compelling and memorable experience to the race fans," Scott Paddock, senior manager, sports marketing for Gatorade, said. "We at Gatorade are very proud of our long standing relationship with Daytona International Speedway and the role we play in fueling the hydration needs of the sports' drivers and teams."
The Daytona 500 uses a different qualifying procedure than any other race in the world. On Budweiser Pole Day: Sunday, Feb. 13, only the fastest two cars earn their starting spots for the Daytona 500.
The remainder of the qualifying procedure for NASCAR's biggest race will remain the same. Credit: Autostock
The fastest qualifier will earn the pole for both the Daytona 500 and the first 150-mile Gatorade Duel qualifying race. The second fastest qualifier earns the outside pole for the Daytona 500 and will start on the pole for the second 150-mile Gatorade Duel qualifying race.
Drivers qualifying in odd-numbered positions will compete in the first Gatorade Duel race while drivers that qualify in even-numbered positions duke it out in the second Gatorade Duel race.
The top 14 finishers, not including the polesitter in the first 150-mile qualifying race, will line up behind the Daytona 500 pole sitter; while the top-14 finishers, not including the outside pole sitter in the second 150-mile Gatorade Duel qualifying race, will line up behind the outside Daytona 500 pole sitter.
Currently, the next eight Daytona 500 starting positions (31-38) are awarded to the drivers with the fastest speed after pole qualifying. The final five positions (39-43) are given to teams that are entitled to a provisional starting position per NASCAR's entry blank for the event.
Also on tap the same day as the Gatorade Duel at Daytona will be NASCAR Busch Series, NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and Crown Royal IROC practice sessions as well as Florida Dodge Dealers 250 Truck Series Bud Pole Qualifying under the lights.