Dale Earnhardt Jr. wins qualifying race for Daytona 500

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) – Dale Earnhardt Jr. has won the first of two qualifying races to set up a 1-2-3 start for Hendrick Motorsports in the Daytona 500.

Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson swept the front row in the first round of qualifying. Then Earnhardt won the first Thursday night 150-mile Budweiser Duel to take the third starting spot.

Earnhardt is the defending Daytona 500 winner.

Gordon, the four-time NASCAR champion, finished second in the duel and was followed by Joey Logano, Tony Stewart and Clint Bowyer.

Racing into the Daytona 500 through their finish in the duel were: Cole Whitt, Michael Annett, JJ Yeley, Michael McDowell, Ty Dillon and Landon Cassill.

The results mean Danica Patrick will have to race her way into the Daytona 500 in the second duel.

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