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2011 Daytona Gatorade Duel: What Is It And Why Did Dale Earnhardt Jr. Lose The Pole Position?

I'll be the first to admit that I don't know much about NASCAR. It's just not an appealing sport to me. Cars going around a track do not impress me. It does others. Fine with me.

But there's the big race this weekend: the Daytona 500. And the big news yesterday was that Dale Earnhardt Jr. lost the pole position (top starting spot) due to a crash during the Gatorade Duel practices. Upon hearing this, I wanted to find out what the Gatorade Duel was. It's a race that determines the order of the qualifying field as SB Nation Atlanta points out: "Today, 33 drivers will find out where they will start in Sunday's Daytona 500, while 13 will find out if they're even starting at all."

OK, but what about Earnhardt's crash during practice on Wednesday? He needs to move to his third car, because he crashed his Bud Shootout car (yeah, there seem to be a lot of cars at these things) as well. Technically, Earnhardt Jr. is still the "pole-sitter" but he will now start from the back of the field. If that's the rules, that the rule. Still, if I were in that position I think I'd be quoting Allen Iverson: "We’re talking about practice, man. We’re talking about practice. We’re talking about practice. We’re not talking about the game. We’re talking about practice."

The Gatorade Duels start at 12:00 p.m. MT on SPEED, and head on over to SB Nation's NASCAR hub for content by people who actually know about the sport.