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NASCAR WCUP: Twin 125s: More Than Just Another Race

15 February 2000

By David Treffer
Contributing Editor, The Auto Channel

DAYTONA BEACH, FL--Some fans say that Thursdays Twin 125 races are more interesting than the Daytona 500 itself. No doubt, their are fans that would disagree with that statement. Well for starters the 500 is four times as long. In the Twin 125s their will be fewer pitstops therefore fewer chances to make a mistake. Without pointing out too many more obvious answers you cannot dismiss the boiler-room heat that emanates from each garage area before the two races.

Simply put the "125s" are a pressure packed 50-lap journey into the last chance to make the field for a coveted starting spot in the Daytona 500. The rules are fairly simple. Finish in the top fifteen in your race and youve made the field. Finish out of the top 15 and you will be looking over your shoulder at your qualifying lap last Saturday to see if you are going to the big dance. It is a race of two emotions-Exuberance and Heartache.

Exuberance for the teams that did not have a good enough qualifying lap but somehow worked their way into the top 15. Heartache for the teams that are on the bubble, missed the top 15 and realize that they just raced their last lap at Daytona until July. It is racing drama in its finest hour. Emotions after the Twin 125s have been known to boil over. A couple of years ago, two drivers vying for the last spot decided that the best way to settle the issue was to do a "WCW" style of conflict resolution in the garage area after the race. The driver who finished in the money, err starting field, was accosted by the driver jilted at the altar. Fortunately for both drivers Winston Cup Officials were able to intervene before blood was spilled but for a few seconds things looked ugly. Exuberance and Heartache.

The starting field for the two races are divided right down the middle. Dale Jarrett is the pole sitter and will lead the 28 car field in race number one. Outside pole sitter Ricky Rudd will lead the field in race number two. The field is divided alternating the qualifying positions. 1,3,5,7 and so on are in race number one. 2,4,6,8 and so on are in race number two.

Some interesting names are on the dreaded bubble. Kenny Wallace, Ricky Craven, Kyle Petty, Dave Marcis and Chad Little are five of the 13 drivers that could conceivably miss the Daytona 500. Some of the afore mentioned drivers could rely on provisional starting places but no doubt they would like to do it the old-fashion way: "They earned it."

So you think that the Twin 125s are really a no-nothing race. Well grab a qualifying sheet from Saturday. Draw a line at the 30 car mark. Sit back in the grandstands and watch the tussle, bumping and drafting that will go on in each race. Figure out who made it and who is going home. Then ask yourself if that was just as exciting as the big race itself.

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