DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- Jimmie Johnson gambled on pit strategy, then held off Kevin Harvick in a door-to-door battle to the finish line to win the first qualifying race for the Daytona 500.
The victory means Johnson will start in the second row for Sunday's season-opening race.
Max Papis and Michael McDowell both raced their way into the 43-car field. Papis, a former open-wheel driver, broke down in tears of joy after the race.
Kasey Kahne won the second Daytona 500 qualifying race, holding off Tony Stewart to prevent Chevrolets from sweeping the first two rows of NASCAR's version of the Super Bowl.
Kahne will line up his Ford in the second row of Sunday's race next to Johnson, winner of the first qualifying race. Kahne had to beat Tony Stewart to the finish line of Thursday's race to spoil the Chevy party.
Michael Waltrip, meanwhile, nervously cheered on Scott Speed from inside a television booth. The two-time Daytona 500 winner wrecked in the first qualifier, and he could not get into the race unless Speed or Bobby Labonte earned one of the two "transfer" spots.
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