Budweiser Daytona Duels 2015: Results & Highlights

Dale Earnhardt Jr. (88) held off Jeff Gordon (24) to win the Budweiser Duel 1 Thursday night at Daytona International Speedway. (Getty)

Dale Earnhardt Jr. (88) held off Jeff Gordon (24) to win the Budweiser Duel 1 Thursday night at Daytona International Speedway. (Getty)

The Daytona 500 field is set after Thursday night’s Budweiser Duels from Daytona International Speedway.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. won Duel 1 and Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson took the second race on a chilly evening in Daytona Beach, Florida.

The 57th running of The Great American Race is Sunday at 1 p.m. Eastern and can be seen on Fox.

Here’s how things unfolded in the Budweiser Duels:

Budweiser Duel 1 Recap

Starting from the last spot of the race because of a failed inspection after the Daytona 500 qualifying, Dale Earnhardt Jr. won Budweiser Duel 1.

After last weekend’s qualifying, Earnhardt’s No. 88 Chevrolet did not meet NASCAR’s minimum height requirement so he had to start this race at the back of the pack.

But Earnhardt Jr. quickly got into the lead group in the race that saw three yellow cautions.

Daytona 500 pole winner Jeff Gordon finished second, Joey Logano was third, Tony Stewart took fourth and Clint Bowyer fifth.

Favorite Matt Kenseth led for a race-best 32 of the 60 laps, but fell behind and finished 17th. Earnhardt led for 21 – and the most important – laps.

Budweiser Duel 1 Results

1. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
2. Jeff Gordon
3. Joey Logano
4. Tony Stewart
5. Clint Bowyer
6. Kevin Harvick
7. Kasey Kahne
8. Jamie McMurray
9. Landon Cassill
10. Cole Whitt
11. Paul Menard
12. Michael McDowell
13. JJ Yeley
14. Michael Annett
15. Kyle Larson
16. Ty Dillon
17. Matt Kenseth
18. Justin Marks
19. Brad Keselowski
20. Aric Almirola
21. Ron Hornaday Jr.
22. Trevor Bayne
23. AJ Allmendinger (Did not finish)
24. Johnny Sauter (Did not finish)
25. Casey Mears (Did not finish)

Budweiser Duel 2 Recap

Jimmie Johnson won Duel 2 in a green-white-checker finish after a late wreck involving Danica Patrick and Denny Hamlin.

Patrick was clearly upset after the race and the two had words with each other. The wreck left Patrick’s 500 status in jeopardy, but she was able to return to the race and rallied from the 18th spot to finish 10th and clinch a spot in Sunday’s field.

Kyle Busch finished second and Carl Edwards was third. Greg Biffle and Martin Truex Jr. were fourth and fifth, respectively.

Johnson, who had finished second in last weekend’s official qualifying, led for 41 of the 64 laps. Kyle Busch was in front for 21 laps.

A 4-car wreck on the 37th lap brought out the red flag and a race stoppage. Jeb Burton bumped into Sam Hornish Jr., who spun out of control, and Austin Dillon and Alex Bowman couldn’t avoid it. Dillon was able to return to the race.

Budweiser Duel 2 Results

1. Jimmie Johnson
2. Kyle Busch
3. Carl Edwards
4. Greg Biffle
5. Martin Truex Jr.
6. Reed Sorenson
7. Ryan Blaney
8. Mike Wallace
9. Justin Allgaier
10. Danica Patrick
11. Ryan Newman
12. Kurt Busch
13. David Gilliland
14. David Ragan
15. Austin Dillon
16. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
17. Brian Scott
18. Denny Hamlin
19. Michael Waltrip
20. Bobby Labonte (Did not finish)
21. Sam Hornish Jr. (Did not finish)
22. Jeb Burton (Did not finish)
23. Alex Bowman (Did not finish)
24. Josh Wise (Did not finish)