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Elliott, Kvapil, Stewart and Labonte guaranteed spots in the Daytona 500

By admin | February 8, 2009

By Richard Allen

 

The only two drivers to be guaranteed a specific starting position for the Daytona 500 during Sunday’s qualification runs were Martin Truex and Mark Martin. They will start first and second respectively when the ‘Great American Race’ takes the green flag on February 15th.

However, there are others who are guaranteed to start the race, they just do not necessarily know where they will start.

Those teams with Top 35 points positions from last year(more on that in an article later this week) are also guaranteed entry into the big race. Also, the three fastest drivers who were not among the Top 35 will also be racing on Sunday.

On Thursday, the Gatorade Duels will determine just where everyone will actually line up for the race. And, two drivers from each race who are not otherwise assured of a starting spot will race their way into the 500 field.

Bill Elliott, Travis Kvapil and Tony Stewart, by timing 5th, 8th and 10th respectively, spared themselves the worry of missing NASCAR’s premier event by posting the three fastest times among the go or go-homers in Sunday’s time trial runs. And, add Terry Labonte to the list of guarantees. He will be awarded a past champion’s provisional due to the fact Tony Stewart did not need the free ticket.

A host of drivers, many of whom are driving for newly formed single car teams, will be vying for those four remaining open slots on Thursday.

Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.

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