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Michael Waltrip Crashes; Will Not Make Daytona 500

Michael Waltrip's hopes of making the 2012 Daytona 500 have been dashed. The two-time Daytona 500 champion was attempting to pull his Toyota up onto the racing surface after pitting, but as his car transitioned from the apron to the racing surface, he lost control and slammed the backstretch wall head-on. The nose of the Hillman Racing machine is demolished, ending Waltrip's dreams of qualifying.

Waltrip could have potentially made the field, had three drivers already locked into the field raced their way into the 500 by finishing among the top-two in their respective Duel among go-or-go-home drivers. Unfortunately, David Stremme parked his Toyota after 28 laps, thus taking the speed provisional and closing Waltrip's remaining avenue to make the field.

It will be the first Daytona 500 in decades to not include either Michael or his legendary brother Darrell, who retired after the 2000 season.

With fewer than five laps remaining, Tony Stewart leads the Gatorade Duel ahead of Kevin Harvick, polesitter Carl Edwards, Jeff Burton, and Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.