Kenseth and Stewart win Daytona qualifying races

Danica Patrick's car slides down the track after a crash during the first race.
Danica Patrick's car slides down the track after a crash during the first race. (JIM TOPPER / Associated Press)
Posted: February 24, 2012

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Roush Fenway Racing will have three cars at the front of the season-opening Daytona 500.

Matt Kenseth won the second of the twin 150-mile qualifying races Thursday with a bold pass of teammate Greg Biffle. The victory gave Kenseth a spot on the second row for Sunday's race - right behind teammates Carl Edwards and Biffle.

Tony Stewart, the defending NASCAR champion, won the first race and will line up next to Kenseth at Daytona International Speedway.

On the last lap of that first race, with Stewart trying to hold off Dale Earnhardt Jr., Danica Patrick was wrecked as the pack raced down the backstretch.

She was not injured and will make her Daytona 500 debut Sunday.

Biffle was leading as the second race headed into the final lap, but he tried to block Kenseth, who dove to the inside and used a push from Jimmie Johnson to take the lead.

Robby Gordon and Michael McDowell earned the two spots up for grabs in the first race, while Joe Nemechek and Dave Blaney each raced their way into the 500 in the second qualifying race.

Gordon said afterward that he'd be willing to sell his seat to two-time Daytona 500 winner Michael Waltrip, who failed to qualify for the race after wrecking. The accident means it will be the first time since 1972 that neither Darrell Waltrip nor Michael Waltrip will be in NASCAR's biggest race of the season.

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