Gordon, McDowell race way into Daytona 500

In the first Gatorade Duel of Thursday drivers Robby Gordon and Michael McDowell earned a spot in the 54th running of the Daytona 500.

Gordon who said earlier in the week he was having trouble making ends meet and may run a limited schedule rode around in the back for much of the race but worked his way up to 5th by the end of the race.

The end of the race came when Danica Patrick made contact with Aric Almirola and crashed into the backstretch.

McDowell spent much of the race at the front of the pack working with his good friend Trevor Bayne. McDowell needed a good finish in order to get his #98 Ford into the Daytona 500 since it lacked owner points.

While Trevor Bayne also could have raced his way into the race had he finished ahead of McDowell or Gordon he had the luxury of falling back on his qualifying speed to ensure he will be racing on Sunday.