Gaughan, Sadler Lock Into Daytona 500

Six Drivers Enter Daytona, Four Race in The Great American Race

Photo: Noel Lanier/

Six drivers entered Daytona 500 Qualifying earlier this afternoon labeled as open drivers. These drivers are non-chartered and enter Sunday’s race without the guarantee of qualifying. 36 Drivers entered today’s qualifying session with the guarantee of knowing they will start in the 59th Running of The Daytona 500.

All six drivers were chasing two postilions just like the rest of the field but the two positions the open drivers were chasing were the two fastest of the six drivers who turned laps today in qualifying. The two drivers who gained those positions in 2016 were Ryan Blaney and Matt DiBenedetto, both of which were chartered drivers for the 2017 Season. Today two drivers took the same route that the two noted above did this season and ultimately made Thursday’s Can-Am Duels a lot less stressful.

Brendan Gaughan and Elliott Sadler both are guaranteed to race next Sunday joining the 36 chartered drivers. Gaughan and Sadler were the fastest of the open drivers. Brendan Gaughan, driving the #75 Chevrolet SS, will start his second Daytona 500 of his career. He qualified 33rd to lock into the Daytona 500. Elliott Sadler, driving the #7 for Tommy Baldwin Racing, will start his 14th Daytona 500 of his career. He qualified 36th to lock into the Daytona 500.

For the other four drivers, it will all be decided for them on Thursday in the Can-Am Duels. DJ Kennington, Corey LaJoie, Timmy Hill, and Reed Sorenson will all have their fate decided in the annual Twin Races. Reed Sorenson and Corey LaJoie will join pole-sitter Chase Elliott in Duel No. 1 while D.J. Kennington and Timmy Hill will be in Duel No. 2.

Each race will be stressful for each driver as the top finishing open driver in each duel race will qualify for the 59th Running of The Daytona 500. This means that Corey LaJoie and Reed Sorenson will have to battle it out in the first duel for the 39th place starting spot while Hill and Kennington will battle in the second duel for the final spot in the race.

About Christian Koelle 229 Articles
An Ooltewah, TN native, Christian has been writing since July of 2015. In 2017, Christian transitioned from his own blog to a few different websites, joining OnPitRoad in February. In 2005 Christian attended his first race as a fan at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. He’s been around racing his entire life and enjoys being at the track more than anything. He made his media debut at Bristol in 2015. His favorite tracks are Iowa Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway and Phoenix. He enjoys talking about racing with just about anyone and makes occasional appearances on numerous radio shows across the country. In his time attending races he’s attended almost ninety races among the six racing series. Along with NASCAR, He loves Minor and Major League Baseball. He’s a Minnesota Twins and Chattanooga Lookouts. He also enjoys watching Iowa State Cyclones college football.