RACE 2 – Biffle dominated a race that was the antithesis of other Speedweeks races to this point, a caution-free 60-lap sprint that included a green flag pit stop for a splash of fuel. His move to block Kenseth by darting from the low line to the high line, however, cost him the race.
Admittedly, Biffle had nothing to lose when it came to starting position – he'll still roll off second on Sunday. When he moved up, Kenseth took Jimmie Johnson with him and Regan Smith led a several car train to follow while Biffle was hung out to dry. He fell to fifth.
“We just had a big run there,” Kenseth said. “Jimmie Johnson gave me a huge push there and that really worked nice for me the whole race there. Without that push it would never have gotten done. Greg lost his drafting partner. We were able to separate him and the 78 (Smith) and we had such a huge run that Greg was kind of a sitting duck.”
Kenseth's triumph marks the first Duel win in 25 years for his team owner Jack Roush. Smith got ahead of Johnson for second, marking the second straight year the Furniture Row driver finished runner-up in a Duel. Elliott Sadler was fourth in the part-time fourth Richard Childress Racing entry, ahead of Biffle in fifth.
Blaney was the only go-or-go-home driver to finish on the lead lap, and earned a spot in the Daytona 500 for his Tommy Baldwin Racing team. Technically, two TBR entries are in the field, due to the points swap between Blaney's No. 36 that saw those top-35 points transfer to Patrick's No. 10 entry primarily fielded by Stewart Haas. Still, Blaney was relieved that the actual TBR car made it in.
“You don't want to come down here with a car this nice and miss the race,” Blaney said.
Nemechek did likewise for his small, family-run team.
“You talk about stressed,” said the driver nicknamed “Front Row Joe.” “During the race, I pitted one or two laps earlier than I should have because of a low fuel pressure gauge. Luckily Bill (Elliott, his one-race teammate) was there to pick me up. People have no clue how hard it is to make this field with such limited funds.
Elliott, Kenny Wallace (also limited by fuel pressure woes), Robert Richardson Jr. and JJ Yeley were the four from this race who failed to qualify.
Results - 60 laps:
Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap
1. Matt Kenseth Roush Fenway Ford
2. Regan Smith Furniture Row Chevrolet + 0.209s
3. Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Chevrolet + 0.475s
4. Elliott Sadler Childress Chevrolet + 0.531s
5. Greg Biffle Roush Fenway Ford + 1.949s
6. Joey Logano Gibbs Toyota + 9.363s
7. Kyle Busch Gibbs Toyota + 9.494s
8. Jeff Gordon Hendrick Chevrolet + 9.623s
9. Ryan Newman Stewart-Haas Chevrolet + 20.532s
10. Kasey Kahne Hendrick Chevrolet + 20.647s
11. Mark Martin Waltrip Toyota + 20.852s
12. Dave Blaney Baldwin Chevrolet + 21.151s
13. Martin Truex Jr Waltrip Toyota + 30.448s
14. Kurt Busch Phoenix Chevrolet + 1 lap
15. Clint Bowyer Waltrip Toyota + 1 lap
16. Bobby Labonte JTG Daugherty Toyota + 1 lap
17. Joe Nemechek NEMCO Toyota + 1 lap
18. Casey Mears Germain Ford + 1 lap
19. Robert Richardson Jr R3 Toyota + 2 laps
20. Bill Elliott NEMCO Toyota + 2 laps
21. Kenny Wallace RAB Toyota + 3 laps
Did not finish:
Tony Raines Front Row Ford 9 laps
David Reutimann BK Toyota 6 laps
JJ Yeley Robinson-Blakeney Toyota 4 laps