NASCAR fans can’t wait for drivers to line up for Sunday’s Daytona 500, but there’s still one important matter that needs to be taken care of: The Can-Am Duels.
Scheduled for Thursday night at Daytona International Speedway, the event will determine who starts behind Chase Elliott and Dale Earnhardt Jr. on Sunday. But the duels are no ordinary NASCAR races, so here’s everything you need to know before you tune in Thursday.
The Duels are two 60-lap, 150-mile races, with the first race starting at 7 p.m. ET. Who participates in which duel is determined by last Sunday’s Daytona 500 qualifying results.
Setting Daytona 500 lineup
Chase Elliott and Dale Earnhardt Jr. will start on the front row at the Daytona 500, but the remaining 38 spots behind them need to be filled. The two rows in Sunday’s lineup are determined by each duel: The results of the first duel determine the inside row, the second duel determines the outside row. Drivers are positioned in their respective rows based on the order in which they finish their duel.
All of NASCAR’s 36 charter teams are guaranteed spots in the Daytona 500, leaving four open spots. Two have been filled Elliott Sadler and Brendan Gaughan, who finished with the 33rd and 36th-fastest qualifying times last Sunday, respectively. The final two spots will be determined by the results of four open-team drivers competing in the duels.
The top 10 drivers from each duel race will carry points into the Daytona 500, marking the first time points ever have been on the line at the duels. The driver that finishes first is awarded 10 points, and the remaining points are awarded in descending order. This means that two drivers will head into The Great American Race with a share of the points lead.
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