Jeff Gordon secured his first NASCAR Sprint Cup win for more than a year at Daytona with victory in the opening Gatorade Duel race.
Gordon, who last won at Lowe's Motor Speedway back in October 2007, took the flag at the wheel of the #24 DuPont Chevrolet after making the most of fresh tyres in the closing stages of the 60 lap event, with Tony Stewart taking second and defending Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson third.
Johnson edged out impressive rookie Joey Logano for the position on the run to the line as the 18-year-old produced an assured driver at the wheel of the #20 Home Depot Toyota. Aric Almirola and Kurt Busch rounded out the top six.
Second place for Stewart secured him a place in the 500 with one of the transfer spots, while Scott Riggs also raced his way into the event thanks to an eighth place finish for the new Tommy Baldwin Racing team. Stewart's second place also gives Regan Smith a place in the 500.
The race itself featured a number of caution periods, with Daytona polesitter Martin Truex amongst the drivers in trouble after he suffered a spin – although he was able to keep his car out of the wall.
Bill Elliott, already locked into the race after his qualifying performance on Sunday, retired under caution after the transmission locked on his car and forced him to slide into the wall, while a multi-car incident in the closing stages involving Matt Kenseth, John Andretti, Sam Hornish, Casey Mears, Logano and Kirk Shelmerdine provided late drama and gave drivers chance to dive into the pits for fresh rubber – ultimately giving Gordon the chance to make his run for victory and end his winless streak.
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