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Junior Ends Up 7th in Daytona 500 Qualifying

By Tyler Overstreet, JR Motorsports | Article Published 2/16/2014
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Dale Earnhardt Jr. posted the seventh-fastest time in Daytona 500 qualifying Sunday at Daytona International Speedway. As a result, Earnhardt Jr. will start fourth in the first Budweiser Duel race Thursday night (7 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1).

After taking time first of 49 cars, Earnhardt Jr. held the top spot with a time of 46.104 sec. (195.211 sec.) until Greg Biffle took to the track 33rd and bested the No. 88’s lap. Several cars later, eventual pole winner Austin Dillon blistered the track with a fast time of 45. 914 sec. (196.019 mph).

Dillon and Martin Truex Jr. have locked the top two starting positions for next Sunday’s Daytona 500. The remainder of the field will be set by a pair of 150-mile qualifying races Thursday evening.

Notable drivers joining Earnhardt Jr. in the first Duel qualifying race will be Dillon, Biffle, Ryan Newman, Joey Logano, Matt Kenseth, Kasey Kahne, Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Danica Patrick and Tony Stewart.

Sprint Cup teams will be back on track Wednesday for a pair of practice sessions at 4 p.m. ET and 6:30 p.m. ET.

DALE JR. QUOTES
“Steve (Letarte, crew chief) did a great job working on the car, trying to get more speed out of it. We definitely picked up, so we are happy about that. I scuffed the side skirt just a little bit on the apron in turn two trying to run tight on the line there, and that's never good when you are dragging anything. So, that cost us a little bit of time, so we will definitely appreciate the pickup. We were nowhere near that fast yesterday. Hopefully the track hasn't really picked up any from yesterday. Hopefully it slows down and gets windy for those other guys.”

Standings
After Oral-B USA 500
Rank +/- Driver Points Behind
1 -- Jeff Gordon 872 0
2 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. 851 -21
3 +2 Matt Kenseth 794 -78
4 -- Joey Logano 791 -81
5 -2 Brad Keselowski 782 -90
6 -- Jimmie Johnson 766 -106
7 +1 Carl Edwards 755 -117
8 -1 Kevin Harvick 748 -124
9 -- Ryan Newman 747 -125
10 +1 Greg Biffle 728 -144
11 +2 Kasey Kahne 708 -164
12 -2 Clint Bowyer 705 -167
Full Standings