Daytona 500 Starting Lineup
Daytona 500 Starting Lineup: Monday Schedule After Rain Postponement - all the hype and buildup for the 2012 Daytona 500 is over and race day itself has actually arrived at Daytona International Speedway. Let's take a look at the lineup and starting grid for NASCAR's biggest race.
Carl Edwards will lead the field to the green flag today (1:29 p.m. Eastern, FOX) thanks to the pole position he earned in last Sunday's time trials. His Roush Fenway Racing teammate, Greg Biffle, will start alongside him, also because of the time trials.
The second row consists of the drivers who won Thursday's Gatorade Duel races: Tony Stewart on the inside and Matt Kenseth on the outside.
From there, Dale Earnhardt Jr. starts fifth and Regan Smith, Marcos Ambrose, Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Burton and Elliott Sadler round out the top 10 for the "Great American Race."
Carl Edwards won the time trials for the Daytona 500 and teammate Greg Biffle took the outside pole Sunday in a front-row sweep for Roush Fenway Racing.
Edwards turned in a lap of 194.738 mph at Daytona International Speedway, claiming his first Daytona 500 pole position and 11th of his Sprint Cup career.
He was helped by increasingly windy conditions throughout the day after taking his lap early in the competition, going fifth in a field of 49 drivers. Wind gusts reached as high as 40 mph at the track, slowing down the later drivers.
Biffle, driving ninth, recorded a lap of 194.087 mph to give Ford its first Daytona 500 front-row start since 2007, when David Gilliland and Ricky Rudd drove Fords for Robert Yates Racing.
The 54th running of NASCAR's most prestigious race was set for Feb. 26, but thanks to a first-time ever postponement of the Daytona race, the delayed race will instead commence on Monday, Feb. 27 at 11:00 a.m. EST, with drivers leaving the starting line at NOON.
Here's the top ten in the lineup: Carl Edwards (pole position), Greg Biffle, Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth, Dale Earnhart Jr., Regan Smith, Marcos Ambrose, Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Burton and Elliott Sadler.
NASCAR officials announced Friday that the car Jimmie Johnson had planned to drive in the Daytona 500 had failed opening-day inspection.
Parts from the car were confiscated for further inspection, casting a pall on the opening of the season for the five-time Sprint Cup series champion.
The panel that connects the back of the car's roof to the top of the rear deck was found to be outside specifications, and was sent to the NASCAR Research and Development Center in North Carolina.
"The (No.) 48 car had a body modification on it that was outside of what our tolerances are or what the original surface definitions for the body were," Sprint Cup Director John Darby said. "There were some obvious modifications that the template inspectors picked up on and we did some additional inspections with some gauges and stuff and found that they were just too far out of tolerance to fix. So they were removed from the car.
"I think the team is working now on getting the correct pieces flown down here [from North Carolina], so they can get them all welded back in."
The car must go through another inspection before it can take part in the first Daytona practice, which is scheduled for Saturday. Qualifying to determine the front row for the race will be held Sunday.
There was no indication what penalties, if any, might be forthcoming. Robin Pemberton, NASCAR's vice president of competition, said any penalties would not be announced until after the Daytona 500 is run. (c) UPI (c) tPC
Several drivers had to earn their way into the Daytona 500 after showing up for Speedweeks without a guaranteed spot in the race. That group included last year's Daytona 500 champ, Trevor Bayne, whose Wood Brothers Racing team did not obtain the top 35 owner points to lock the youngster into the event.
Bayne made it, though, using a fast time in qualifying to secure a spot along with David Stremme and Tony Raines.
Michael McDowell, Robby Gordon, Dave Blaney and Joe Nemechek also raced their way into the Daytona 500 by virtue of their performance in the Gatorade Duel.
In addition, Terry Labonte made the field by virtue of his past champion's provisional, which is a reserved spot that goes to NASCAR's most recent past champion who needs it.
Those who failed to make the race included fan favorites Michael Waltrip, Kenny Wallace and Bill Elliott, along with Robert Richardson Jr., Mike Wallace and JJ Yeley.
For more Daytona coverage, make sure to follow our Daytona 500 StoryStream. We've posted a ton of updates from Speedweeks there so far, with many more to come from the track today.
Here is the starting lineup for the 2012 Daytona 500:
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Martin Truex Jr.
Juan Pablo Montoya