Originally posted on Fox Sports  |  Last updated 2/23/12
So often NASCAR races are judged by their dramatic endings. But the drama Thursday in the Gatorade Duel 150-mile qualifying races was all about beginnings -- the starting positions earned by small teams and underdogs for Sunday's Daytona 500. Owner-drivers Joe Nemechek and Robby Gordon were among four drivers who literally raced their way into the 500 field while two-time Daytona 500 winner Michael Waltrip, former series champ Bill Elliott and fan-favorite brothers Kenny and Mike Wallace failed to make the grid. "You talk about stress in your life -- oh, my gosh,'' said Nemechek, whose family-owned No. 87 finished 17th in the second qualifying race. "It's just incredible. These races are tough. The only thing we're racing for is two spots to get in, so what a relief. "There's been a lot of Tums taken this week, I can tell you that. With limited funds, we do a lot. It's a big day to make the Daytona 500.'' Gordon's day was perhaps even more improbable considering his No. 7 Dodge ...
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