And onto the Duels!
First, Robert Yates Racing must be doing something right, because the only two positions determined by yesterday's qualifying went to both David Gilliland, who will sit on the poll and Ricky Rudd who will join Gilliland in the front row when the flag flies at the start of the 500 on Sunday.
Happy times, on the other hand, are not being had by three drivers at the moment. Both Matt Kenseth and Kasey Kahne's cars failed post-qualifying inspection and their times have been thrown out. So, for the Gatorade Duels on Thursday both Kenseth and Kahne will be forced to start from the back of the field of the second race group. Apparently, both vehicles had holes where there normally should have been seals. Or in "technical rule book, get your crew chief suspended" jargon "unapproved aerodynamic devices." Officially, no crew chiefs have been suspended yet, no fines imposed, but that word should come down later today for both Kenseth's and Kahne's racing teams.
The third driver, Michael Waltrip, has not had his time disqualified, but his car and manifold have been confiscated and impounded following qualification. His original manifold was actually taken before his qualifying run because NASCAR officials discovered what Waltrip's team said was an oil leak in the manifold, but they couldn't find the source of the leak. NASCAR after the race decided to take the car since they don't quite believe that it was an oil leak, and they're not even satisfied that it was even oil. So far, we do not know how long they plan to impound Waltrip's car for -- he's hoping to get it back before Wednesday's practice for the Gatorade Duels. He's also hoping that nothing is found to be in violation, anything that would prevent Waltrip from missing his first Daytona 500 in two decades. During the Duels he'll still need to finish first or second among the drivers who have to race their way into the 500 based on speed.
Most likely James Hylton, age 72, will not be making the Daytona 500 as he had the slowest qualifying time of anyone but Mike Wallace. But the guy still had fun and maybe he'll get lucky in the Duel, but don't put your money on it.
Also, at the moment Team Red Bull and the other Toyotas are desperately seeking something to help them out in their NASCAR debut. And while they may be floundering at Daytona, don't worry, Toyota will throw money at their teams until they do win.
Despite Rich's best hopes, no one was disqualified for drinking and driving on the track, or in Martin Truex, Jr.'s case, drinking and pissing on the track. Sorry Rich, better luck next time.
So, beyond that there isn't much more to report -- most people are still harping on Jr. wanting majority ownership, finally not covering up the fact, anymore, that Teresa is an absentee (though I prefer Kenseth's term of deadbeat) owner. They're going to be using smaller fuel cells. Nothing incredibly exciting, but we'll keep you posted on what the penalties are for Kenseth and Khane -- and if any come down for Waltrip.