Green flag approaching for tonight’s Budweiser Duel 150s at Daytona

Leave a comment

The clock is ticking down for tonight’s Budweiser Twin 150 Duels at Daytona International Speedway.

The first Duel takes the green flag at 7 pm ET. The second Duel will follow shortly after the completion of the first race.

Each race is 60 laps and each contains a 24-car field.

This year’s Duels is noteworthy as it will mark the first time in the history of the twin exhibition races that they will be held under the lights at night, making three events during this year’s Speedweeks that have or will be in prime time. The others were last Saturday’s Sprint Unlimited, won by Denny Hamlin, and Friday’s Camping World Trucks Series season opener.

Five drivers will ultimately not make the 43-car field for Sunday’s 56th Daytona 500. Dave Blaney withdrew earlier Thursday and will not make this year’s 500.

Here’s the field breakdown and starting positions:

Budweiser Duel No. 1

1. Austin Dillon

2. Greg Biffle

3.  Ryan Newman

4. Dale Earnhardt Jr.

5. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

6. Marcos Ambrose

7. Aric Almirola

8. Joey Logano

9. Matt Kenseth

10. Kasey Kahne

11. Kyle Busch

12. Kevin Harvick

13. Danica Patrick

14. AJ Allmendinger

15. Reed Sorenson

16. David Gilliland

17. Parker Kligerman

18. Tony Stewart

19. Brian Vickers

20. Cole Whitt

21. Michael McDowell

22. Josh Wise

23. Joe Nemechek

24. Alex Bowman

Budweiser Duel No. 2

1. Martin Truex Jr.

2. Carl Edwards

3. Brad Keselowski

4. Jeff Gordon
5. Paul Menard

6. Brian Scott

7. Jimmie Johnson

8. Casey Mears

9. Michael Annett

10. Clint Bowyer

11. Denny Hamlin

12. Kyle Larson

13. Trevor Bayne

14. Kurt Busch

15. Justin Allgaier

16. Landon Cassill

17. Michael Waltrip

18. Eric McClure

19. Jamie McMurray

20. David Ragan

21. Terry Labonte

22. Bobby Labonte

23. Ryan Truex

24. Morgan Shepherd

Al Unser Jr. back in IndyCar after a decade away: ‘Life is very good’

Getty Images
1 Comment

There’s been somewhat of a hole in Al Unser Jr.’s heart ever since he retired from racing in 2007.

It was a void, something was missing.

But now, after a decade away from racing, Unser has found the right medicine to fill that hole in his heart: he’s back in the racing game again.

No, he’s not driving again (although he does participate occasionally in vintage races), but the two-time Indianapolis 500 (1992 and 1994) winner is definitely back in the IndyCar world.

And he couldn’t be happier.

“For me, it’s a dream come true,” Unser told IndyCar.com. “Since I stepped out of the race car and retired from racing, there’s been something missing from my life, and it’s racing.”

Unser has hooked up with Harding Racing. The team competed in three races last season as a ramp-up for a full 17-race effort this season. While Unser’s official title with the team is “consultant,” he’s involved in so much more.

His main role is as a driving coach to 2015 IndyCar Rookie of the Year Gabby Chaves. But he’s also involved in so many other areas, including helping the team obtain sponsorships and much more.

He then added, “I’m involved in every sense of the word except actually driving the car. And I’m happy about that because I’m too old to drive the car.”

Unser, who won CART championships in 1990 and 1994, is now 55. He’s so involved with his new job that he even moved from his native New Mexico and has relocated to suburban Indianapolis.

Not only is it a new start for Unser, it also is for Chaves. After running all 16 races in 2015 for Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian, he competed in just seven races for Dale Coyne Racing in 2016 and only three races for Harding Racing last season.

But he definitely impressed the team, with a fifth- (Texas) and ninth-place (Indianapolis 500) finish in the first two races and 15th (Pocono) in the team’s final run of the season.

That’s why when Harding Racing decided to go fulltime in 2018, Chaves was their pick for behind the wheel. And Unser was their pick to help guide him to potential stardom in the series.

“(Team owner) Mike Harding is definitely a person that when he decides to do something, he does it right,” Unser told IndyCar.com. “The potential for this organization is through the sky. We’re all working really hard here and we see the potential.”

And as for Unser?

“Life is good, life is very good,” he told IndyCar.com. “We’re back full force, eager and better than ever.”

Click here for the full story about Unser from IndyCar.com.