The qualifying rounds and the duels are over and now we have the lineup for the NASCAR opener at the Daytona 500.
It isn’t always easy qualifying for this race. Even drivers that have been there and done that have an issue at times. However, it is always entertaining. This year, there were some changes made to qualifying. It involved how many rounds of qualifying and it gave more importance to the duels again. So, the fastest two in the qualifying round were given the 1-2 positions. Then, it was the winners of the duels, followed by second place, third, so on and so forth.
In addition to the usual qualifiers, two Open cars made the race on their speed as well as two Open cars that made it based on their Duel performances for the Daytona 500.
At the top of our list of qualifiers is Kyle Larson. Not super surprising here. The regular season and Cup Series Playoffs champ is set to start at the front. Hoping to stay there for 500 miles. Alex Bowman earned the second starting position. Then we have Brad Keselowski, Chris Buescher, and Austin Cindric to round out the top-5. Michael McDowell, 2021’s Daytona 500 winner is 6th.
Some interesting notes from the rest of the 40 car field. Bubba Wallace and Kurt Busch will line up in the 16 and 17 positions. The new teammates hope to make some noise this season for 23XI Racing. As for those Open car spots, those four went to some worthy drivers. Greg Biffle fills in at 28 and then Kaz Grala follows in 35. They placed based on Duel position. Noah Gragson and Jacques Villeneuve make up the last two spots based on their times in qualifying.
Get the full list of Daytona 500 qualifiers here.
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Now, Kaz Grala is an interesting driver. He is very young, just 23 years old out of Boston. Mass. Driving the NO. 50 for The Money Team Racing can’t be easy. In fact, I’m sure it is very nerve-wracking. Grala is a fresh face with experience in the Truck Series, Xfinity Series, and already four Cup Series races. Clearly, Floyd and The Money Team believe in their young NASCAR driver.
“I went from puke to puke. Puking nervous to puking excited at the end,” Grala said after the Duels.
Grala wasn’t having the best day on the track. However, he did overcome a lot and was able to find himself a spot in the big race. After he was hit with a speeding penalty on pit road, it was looking bad for the driver. His gutsy driving was able to move him up into 18th place on a last-lap pass. Talk about dramatics.
NASCAR is ready to return with the Cup Series and we here at Outsider are so ready to see it all take place.