Gatorade Duel: Do You Really Want To Win?

David PhillipsAnalyst IFebruary 9, 2009

As electrifying as Daytona International Speedway will become Thursday, does any driver really want to win their respective Duel race?

Why do I ask? In all these years of the pre season non-points kickoff, the winner of their Duel at Daytona has only went on to win the Daytona 500 seven times, and it hasn't happened since the late Dale Earnhardt did it in 1998!

That's a pretty big statistic that's hard to overcome.

Back in 1962, Fireball Roberts was the first person to win both. In 1977 and 1984 Cale Yarborough did it (the only driver to do it twice), and "Awesome" Bill Elliot accomplished the feat in 1985.

Three other times it has happened were: in 1988 by Bobby Allison; 1995 by Sterlin Martin and in 1998 when Earnhardt did it in his only Daytona 500 victory of his career.

So chances are, the drivers who visit Victory Lane on Thursday, aren't good picks for this weekends Daytona 500—especially if Kevin Harvick wins his. No driver has ever competed the tri-fecta, see Dale Earnhardt Jr. last season!

Thursday's races will probably not feature drivers putting everything on the line to win, but instead will simply try and survive.

Let the fun begin!