Kyle Busch won the second 150-mile Duel qualifying race at Daytona on Thursday afternoon, finalising the grid for Sunday's 500-mile NASCAR Sprint Cup season opener in the process.
This event featured 500 front-row starter, Jeff Gordon, plus the cars that finished in the even-numbered positions from qualifying last Sunday.
Gordon elected to start the race in his Hendrick Chevrolet from the outside lane, having seen Trevor Bayne lead the first race from that position.
But Gordon's race did not start as planned as Ryan Newman led at the end of the opening lap in his Stewart-Haas Chevy. That did not last long, as he had to get out of the throttle exiting Turn 2 and fell back to 16th.
Gordon led the next 37 laps, but was caught speeding as he entered pitlane for his stop.
After the stops, Busch led in his Joe Gibbs Toyota from Clint Bowyer, Kasey Kahne, Paul Menard and Mark Martin, with all of the frontrunners bar Kahne having taken no fresh tyres at the stops.
First Kahne, then Bowyer, lost track position by trying to duck low under the leader. Kahne fought back to finish second, however, pulling beneath Matt Kenseth, who had previously surged up from eighth after the stops, to grab second with a lap to go.
Kenseth fell back to fifth during the final lap, behind the impressive Austin Dillon, who finished third, and Bowyer.
Busch said: "It's hard to pass the leader. Get out front, stay out front and hold everyone off behind us.
"There's not enough lane-by-lane racing here. Being able to beat the guys into the pits, and a great call to take fuel only, was the right one and thanks to my team-mate Kenseth pushing me right until the end."
In a caution-free race, punctuated only when Newman spun as he tried to enter the pits too fast, Gordon returned to finish 12th after his penalty.
Thursday's winners, Kevin Harvick and Busch, will start from the second row behind Danica Patrick and Gordon in Sunday's Daytona 500.
The only two non-qualifiers were Brian Keselowski and Mike Bliss.
Results - 60 laps: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Kyle Busch Gibbs Toyota 46m24s 2. Kasey Kahne Hendrick Chevrolet + 0.093s 3. Austin Dillon Childress Chevrolet 4. Clint Bowyer Waltrip Toyota 5. Matt Kenseth Gibbs Toyota 6. Mark Martin Waltrip Toyota 7. Paul Menard Childress Chevrolet 8. Jeff Burton Childress Chevrolet 9. Jamie McMurray Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet 10. David Ragan Front Row Ford 11. Marcos Ambrose Petty Ford 12. Jeff Gordon Hendrick Chevrolet 13. Aric Almirola Petty Ford 14. Ricky Stenhouse Jr Roush Fenway Ford + 1 lap 15. Dave Blaney Baldwin Chevrolet + 1 lap 16. Josh Wise Front Row Ford + 1 lap 17. Travis Kvapil BK Toyota + 1 lap 18. Terry Labonte FAS Lane Ford + 1 lap 19. Michael McDowell Parsons Ford + 1 lap 20. JJ Yeley Baldwin Chevrolet + 1 lap 21. Ryan Newman Stewart-Haas Chevrolet + 2 laps 22. Mike Bliss Smith Chevrolet + 5 laps