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Gordon wins second qualifier.

Jeff Gordon cemented his outside front row starting spot and his status as pre-race favourite for Sunday's Daytona 500 with a convincing victory in the second of Thursday's two Gatorade Duel qualifying races.

With the evening drawing on and the threat of rain ever-present, Gordon managed to hold off the combined might of a three pronged Roush Racing assault as well as another green white chequered flag finish to claim the third Daytona qualifying race win of his career.

The driver of the #24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet stayed at or near the front throughout what turned into a 64 lap duel, leading 38 laps including all those following the main round of pit stops, when he assumed the lead after his teammate Kyle Busch overshot his pit stall and lost several positions.

For much of the second half of the race, which was interrupted by two caution periods, one for Dave Blaney's puncture and miraculous save aboard Bill Davis' #22 Dodge and one just as the field was preparing to take the white flag for J.J Yeley's wild but generally harmless spin off turn four, Gordon had to hold off Jamie McMurray, Mark Martin and Greg Biffle. However when all three Roush cars pitted under the Blaney caution with ten laps remaining, Gordon was able to find a friend at the front when Busch also stayed out.

Busch soon moved into second spot and was able to hold onto that position through the green white chequered to complete a Hendrick 1-2 with McMurray third, Petty Enterprises Bobby Labonte fourth and Martin fifth.

A little way behind the leaders the battle for the final two transfer spots into the Daytona 500 went down to the final inches as Mike Wallace and Scott Riggs duelled for the final qualifying position.

With Robby Gordon, already assured of a place in Sunday's big race thanks to the results of the first Gatorade Duel, running as the best placed 'non top 35' driver, Wallace was able to hold Riggs at bay for the final spot, helped greatly by some last lap contact between Riggs and Wallace's younger brother Kenny, who also failed to qualify.

Gordon crossed the line in tenth spot, his result meaning that Crash.Net's favourite 'Underdog' Kirk Shelmerdine, who briefly ran in the top six but who eventually finished 21st, qualified for Sunday's main event by virtue of his Bud Pole qualifying effort. For Shelmerdine, who has spent the last two years trying to compete on the Nextel Cup tour with some equipment and engines dating from the 1990's after an illustrious career as the late Dale Earnhardt's crew-chief, this was just reward for two years of struggles and disappointment.

While Shelmerdine and his small band of very merry men will undoubtedly celebrate long into the evening, Riggs and Kenny Wallace led the list of the heartbroken who will watch Sunday's race on TV. In addition to the above two, Scott Wimmer, Chad Blount, Carl Long, Morgan Shepherd and Stanton Barrett also failed to qualify.




Related Pictures

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Jeff Gordon tests at Daytona. [Pic Credit Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images]
Kyle Busch tests his Hendrick Motorsport Chevrolet in Las Vegas. [Pic Credit Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images]
Jamie McMurray talks to new crew chief Jimmy Fennig in Las Vegas. [Pic Credit Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images]
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS, qualified for second position Friday, August 22, 2014 for Saturday evening`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Gordon leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, races to win Sunday, August 17, 2014 in the Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy Johns Chevrolet SS finished second. This was Gordon`s third win of the season. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, celebrates with a burnout after winning the Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race Sunday, August 17, 2014 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. This was Gordon`s third win of the season. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
With General Motors CEO Mary Barra, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, holds the Michigan Heritage Trophy after winning the Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race Sunday, August 17, 2014 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. This was Gordon`s third win of the season. In 2013, MIS began awarding the Michigan Heritage Trophy as a recognition and celebration of the automobile and it`s importance to the race track and the manufacturers competing in NASCAR. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, celebrates with his crew after winning the Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race Sunday, August 17, 2014 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. This was Gordon`s third win of the season. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 17, 2014 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 17, 2014 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 17, 2014 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, and Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, lead the field to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 17, 2014 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, races Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 17, 2014 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, captured the pole position Friday, August 15, 2014 for Sunday`s Pure Michigan NASCAR Sprint Cup 400 race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. The was Gordon`s second pole position this season. He set a new track record in the final round of qualifying with a lap of 206.558 mph. Gordon is second in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, celebrates capturing the pole position Friday, August 15, 2014 for Sunday`s Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. The was Gordon`s second pole position this season. He set a new track record in the final round of qualifying with a lap of 206.558 mph. Gordon is second in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, celebrates with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 15, 2014 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, qualifies for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 15, 2014 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo Credit: Jeff Curry/Getty Images)
AJ Allmendinger and Marcos Ambrose lead the field to a restart at Watkins Glen International on Sunday, August 10 2014. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

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