2009 Gatorade Duels
The 2009 Gatorade Duels were a pair of 150 miles (240 km) qualifying races for the 2009 Daytona 500, and were held on February 12, 2009, at the 2.5 miles (4.0 km) Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida.
The races set the field for the 51st running of "The Great American Race", and are the only races in the NASCAR Sprint Cup that qualifies drivers and their teams for a points-paying race. The top 35 drivers from the previous season automatically made the "The Great American Race" regardless of position. Race one sets the field for spaces on the inside of the pole sitter (in this case, Martin Truex, Jr.), which is locked in via the traditional two-lap process on February 8, while race two sets the field on the outside behind other front row driver. The field for race one consisted of the cars that qualified in odd-numbered positions (1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, etc.) and race two conversely saw cars that qualified in even-numbered positions (2nd, 4th, 6th, 8th, etc.). All starting positions for the 500 were determined by the duels, except for the front row which is locked in after qualifying. In the races, the top two finishers not in the Top 35 from the previous season automatically qualify. The remaining cars are locked in via qualifying speeds, point owners exemptions and (if needed) a past champion's provisional going to the most recent past champion.
Both races had spectacular finishes. In the first duel, Jeff Gordon beat out Tony Stewart, Joey Logano, Jimmie Johnson and Aric Almirola. That group was within .40 of a second within each other on the last lap. Race two had Kyle Busch holding off Mark Martin and Brian Vickers by .26 of a second over Martin and .264 of Vickers.
|Top ten finishers|
|Race #1||Race #2|
|Finish||Car #||Driver||Team||Make||Finish||Car #||Driver||Team||Make|
|1||24||Jeff Gordon||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||1||18||Kyle Busch||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota|
|2||14||Tony Stewart||Stewart-Haas Racing||Chevrolet||2||5||Mark Martin||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet|
|3||48||Jimmie Johnson||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||3||83||Brian Vickers||Team Red Bull||Toyota|
|4||20||Joey Logano||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||4||42||Juan Pablo Montoya||Earnhardt Ganassi Racing||Chevrolet|
|5||8||Aric Almirola||Earnhardt Ganassi Racing||Chevrolet||5||11||Denny Hamlin||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota|
|6||2||Kurt Busch||Penske Championship Racing||Dodge||6||96||Bobby Labonte||Hall of Fame Racing||Ford|
|7||9||Kasey Kahne||Richard Petty Motorsports||Dodge||7||88||Dale Earnhardt, Jr.||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet|
|8||36||Scott Riggs||Tommy Baldwin Racing||Toyota||8||99||Carl Edwards||Roush Fenway Racing||Ford|
|9||98||Paul Menard||Yates Racing||Ford||9||41||Jeremy Mayfield||Jeremy Mayfield Racing||Toyota|
|10||26||Jamie McMurray||Roush Fenway Racing||Ford||10||44||A. J. Allmendinger||Petty Motorsports||Dodge|
Those in boldface were qualified as top two finishers not in 2008 owner points top 35 exemptions.
Also making race on speed: Bill Elliott (#21), Regan Smith (#78), Travis Kvapil (#28).
Making race using champions provisional: Terry Labonte (#66).
Did not qualify
|Failed to make race|
|Race 1||Race 2|
|Joe Nemechek (#87)||Mike Wallace (#71)|
|Brad Keselowski (#09)||Kelly Bires (#51)|
|Mike Skinner (#23).||Derrike Cope (#75)|
|Carl Long (#46)||Norm Benning (#57)|
|Kirk Shelmerdine (#27)||Mike Garvey (#73)|
|Tony Raines (#37)||Geoffrey Bodine (#64)|
|Boris Said (#08)|