Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Budweiser Duel Is Back On My "Must See' List

The good lord willing, I know where I’ll be on Feb. 21, 2013.

I’ll be in Turn Two at Daytona International Speedway; genuinely excited about witnessing the Budweiser Duel at Daytona for the first time in far too long. For years now, qualifying at Daytona (and elsewhere) hasn’t meant much at all. Less “qualifying” than “arranging” thanks to NASCAR’s now lame-duck Top-35 qualifying system, Duel Day at Daytona has consisted of four hours of racing that adds just four names to the tail of the Daytona 500 starting grid.
Beginning in 2013, however, NASCAR will qualify the fastest 36 cars for each race based on… wait for it… speed! Positions 37-42 will be set by owners’ points, with the 43rd and final spot reserved for an eligible past champion, if any.
At Daytona, that change heralds the return of racing – real, honest-to-goodness racing – to the 2013 Budweiser Duel. For the first time in nearly a decade, Speedweek fans will scan the middle of a snarling pack of race cars in search of the all-important “cut-off point,” a spot that marks the difference between a $250,000 Daytona 500 start and a slash-your-wrists demoralizing DNQ.
“Changes to the NASCAR qualifying procedures will add intrigue, suspense and excitement to the Budweiser Duel at Daytona," said Daytona International Speedway president Joie Chitwood, III this week. "The new qualifying procedures will place a greater emphasis on the finishing order of the Budweiser Duel at Daytona, (and) we expect the changes to produce incredible racing action throughout the field as drivers attempt to qualify for the sport’s biggest, richest and most prestigious race of the season.”
Chitwood is right.
For the first time in recent memory, fans will be able to watch qualifying for the 2013 Daytona 500 without a slide rule. They’ll need no complicated, multi-stage procedural handbook, no crib notes to keep track of who’s in, who’s out, and why. All they’ll need to know is that if you’re 17th or better in the Budweiser Duel running order, you’re in the Daytona 500.
Eighteenth or worse? It’s time to get a move on.
With simplicity comes familiarity and excitement. And with any luck, some young upstart with no gazillion-dollar sponsor and only one car in his transporter comes out of nowhere to battle for a spot in the Great American Race.


  1. Anonymous6:23 PM

    Hope it's not too late to regain some old time fans. NASCAR is going back to the "good old days" in many respects. Looks like the ghost of Bill France Jr. has shown up and questioned many ill fated decisions of the past few years. What's next ?

  2. The premise behind this change is all wrong. "Fans will now scan the middle of the field for the all-important 'cut-off point'" for making the Daytona 500. Sorry, but racing is about the leaders, not the middle of the pack. The guys out back are supposed to blast their way into the lead regardless of cost and regardless of what lap it is.

    Joie Chitwood says it will produce incredible racing action throughout the field - but having seen the qualifiers when they didn't have the Top-35 rule, I can confidently predict that won't be the case; drivers in the top 15 to 17 will just stay there and NOT fight for anything. When the best you can hope for is some "battle" for 15th, then the sport is going about it all wrong.

    1. Some people would boo Santa Claus. You might be one of them.

    2. Anonymous7:56 PM

      Wrong sir....everyone will be fighting for a starting spot

  3. Hey Dave, what's your twitter account name. Thank you. LIsten to you and Angie everyday on the way home from work - Washington, DC Maryland

  4. Michael in SoCal10:24 AM

    So is there one Duel or are there going to be dual Duels? Kinda sounds like the Budweiser Duel is going to be one race.

  5. I agree, the wording of this leads one to believe the Duel will be a single event. Hopefully that would not be the case

  6. Anonymous9:30 AM

    When one of the 36 fastest cars gets sent home because of somebody else's stupidity on the track that causes a wreck will you be pontificating over how great the Duels races are then, Moody?