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Hendrick Motorsports Sitting 1-2-3 for Daytona 500

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Last weekend Jeff Gordon locked up the pole position for the Daytona 500, his last as a full-time driver.

Hendrick Motorsports now holds down the first three starting spots teammates as Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. swept the Budweiser Duels on Thursday night.

Dale Jr., the 2014 Dayton 500 champion, came from 21st place to win the first duel and will now start third in Sunday’s Daytona 500.

“We’ve had a great car all week,” Earnhardt said. “I’m so glad to get through the duel in one piece because I know how good this car is. We’re going to have a fun day on Sunday.”

Johnson won the second duel in anticlimatic fashion and will look to get the NASCAR season started with a big win.

JJ starts second at Sunday's Daytona 500.

JJ starts second at Sunday’s Daytona 500.

“That car is bad first,” Johnson said. “I’m stoked for my teammate to win the first duel. We won the second, and Jeff and I have the front row locked down. It’s been an awesome week for all our Hendrick Motorsports cars.”

The biggest fireworks on Thursday night involved Danica Patrick and Denny Hamlin. Racing in the second duel and in her backup car, Patrick needed to finish 15th or better to guarantee a starting spot on Sunday. She was in a good position to do just that, but a second incident with Hamlin in two days damaged her car and put her Sunday status in jeopardy.

 

With two laps to go Patrick restarted 18th and received a little help from teammate Kurt Busch as he pushed her around the Daytona International Speedway to finish 10th.

“It shouldn’t go unsaid, Kurt was there for me,” Patrick said. “Without Kurt, I wouldn’t have finished where I did.”

 

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