Greg Biffle and Daytona 500 polesitter Carl Edwards - NASCAR photoEnlarge Photo
Edwards, like most everyone else, expects the 500 to end in at least one green-white-checker situation--and have pack racing. "I think you have to expect that kind of finish. We're calculating fuel based on going through that and I think everybody knows that's very likely to happen. As a driver, in your mind you have to plan how aggressive you're gonna be and get a plan for that too, so yeah, we take that into consideration."
Despite qualifying second, Edwards' teammate Greg Biffle was "a little disappointed. I hate the wind. I guess if you're sailing it's good, but coming down the front (straightaway) I was 200 rpm more on my first lap than I was on my fast lap. That's clearly at least a tenth, tenth and a half, two-tenths of speed," Biffle said. "It was singing down the back but coming down the front I just got a big gust of wind coming off four or in the short chute, and when I went into turn one I knew I didn't have it."
Dale Earnhardt Jr broke the Ford domination in the top five by taking third in his No. 88 Chevrolet. He used the wind to his advantage, Earnhardt said. "Right now I am pretty pleased because we weren't able to find that speed yesterday." His team made changes to improve the car's speed from practice on Saturday. "It didn't have this kind of speed; I'm sure we got a little help from the wind but I have to give my guys credit for giving us a good opportunity. The machine they put out there today--a lot of hard work goes into coming down here," he said.
The Ford Fusion racecars of Marcos Ambrose and Casey Mears were fourth and fifth, followed by Jeff Gordon in the No. 24 Chevy, obviously unharmed from his wild ride in the Budweiser Shootout Saturday night. Martin Truex Jr is the first Toyota in the field in 7th, Ricky Stenhouse Jr earned eighth, while 2011 Daytona 500 winner (and birthday boy) Trevor Bayne is ninth and reigning Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart lies tenth.
Obviously, none of this makes any difference as everyone needs to race for position on Thursday in the two Gatorade Duel 150-mile races. There are differing agendas throughout the garages of 49 racers--some want to simply make the field while others are trying to advance their fortunes in the inevitable pursuit of the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.
The track is closed for competition on Monday and Tuesday followed by a pair of practice sessions on Wednesday. Racing on Thursday begins at 2PM for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.