Gordon wins Daytona qualifier

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Jeff Gordon won the first of Thursday’s twin Daytona 500 qualifying races, his first trip to Victory Lane since October 2007.

The non-points Gatorade Duel doesn’t count to Gordon’s overall victory total, but it gives him a second-row starting spot in Sunday’s Daytona 500. It also gives the four-time Cup champion a boost after last year’s winless season, his first since his 1993 rookie year.

Tony Stewart finished second and defending three-time series champion Jimmie Johnson was third.

Stewart and Scott Riggs both earned transfer spots into the Daytona 500, but Stewart already had one based on last week’s time trials. That opened a position for Regan Smith, last year’s top rookie who lost his ride at the end of the season.


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