NASCAR Daytona 500 Schedule: Jeff Gordon Wins Pole In Qualifying, Duels Thursday For Great American Race

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Feb 17, 2015 01:19 PM EST
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Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, celebrates after qualifying for pole position for the 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 15, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. "

The Daytona 500 is coming up and Jeff Gordon will be on the pole for his final appearance in the Great American Race and it came after a wild day of qualifying, in which some drivers criticized the knockout format heading into the start of the season at Daytona International Speedway.

Gordon will be on the front row with Jimmie Johnson for his final Daytona 500 and they took the qualifying after NASCAR ditched the single-car qualifying runs for the event. Last season they had the knockouts, but they were not used at the Daytona 500 until this year and that is where some of the criticism is coming from. There was a bad accident in the first group and both Kevin Harvick and Tony Stewart were not pleased with how things played out.

Gordon will start in pole position, but the winner of the race has not come from that spot since back in 2000 when Dale Jarrett won, according to ESPN. The website also reports that only one driver to come from the pole position has even finished in the top five and four have some in the top 10. Gordon has to beat those long odds to win and he will start from the front. The Budweiser Duels will be on Thursday and the TV coverage will be on Fox Sports 1 and those will kick off the weekend for the Daytona 500.

Clint Bowyer was one of the drivers involved in the crash during qualifying and he came out to criticize the format like the others. The Daytona format had the field get split into two groups and they went out for five minute sessions before advancing in each of those rounds. The qualifying is different from the race last year and also is used to set the qualifying race lineups for Thursday.

Check here for the Daytona 500 schedule.

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