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Kenseth and Hamlin Give Joe Gibbs Racing 1-2 Punch at Daytona (Videos)

Photo: Johnathon Ferrey / NASCAR via Getty Images

The end of both Budweiser Duels at Daytona (500) qualifying races had exciting finishes. One saw a three-wide finish. The other had crashes and fire. In the end Joe Gibbs Racing Drivers Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin stood victorious.

Joe Gibbs Racing drivers Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin both took wins in the 150-mile Daytona 500 qualifying races – the Budweiser Duel at Daytona.

Matt Kenseth outran Kevin Harvick and Kasey Kahne in a three-wide finish Thursday night at Daytona International Speedway. Sprint Unlimited winner Denny Hamlin took the second Duel under caution after a wreck in Turn 4 of the final lap ended a run that had been caution-free to that point.

The pair of wins gave JGR a sweep of the first three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events at Daytona and cemented the Gibbs drivers as favorites in Sunday’s Daytona 500.

In Dual number 1, In a race that was devoid of yellow flags from start to finish, Kenseth drafted back past Harvick after the No. 4 Chevrolet made a move to the inside of Turn 4 on the final lap of Duel No. 1 and won the race to the stripe by .022 seconds. Kahne took the lead duo three-wide to the inside in the tri-oval and finished third, .062 seconds behind Kenseth.

Harvick’s No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet failed post-race inspection, however, and his finish in the Duel was disallowed. Harvick nevertheless qualified for Sunday’s Daytona 500 but will start 38th.

In the second Duel, Johnson triggered the wreck when he ran out of fuel and slowed in the final corner. Jamie McMurray rammed the back of Johnson’s Chevy, turning the car and starting a chain reaction that saw Clint Bowyer’s car flipping and landing on its wheels and Martin Truex’s Chevy in flames as it crossed the finish line in eighth place.

The Daytona is set for Sunday (February 23, 2014), and FOX-TV’s coverage starts at noon (CT).

Next: 2014 Daytona 500 Starting Grid

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