Gander RV Duels – Daytona Speedway

Gander RV Duels – Daytona Speedway

Qualifying for the Daytona 500 is no easy task, especially under NASCAR’s set up of single-run, two round qualifying to determine a front row. Then there are 2 60-lap races to determine how the rest of the field lines up. Here’s how those final races went down.

DUEL 1: 

Drivers – Kevin Harvick, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Paul Menard, Martin Truex Jr, Chris Buescher, Matt DiBenedetto, Ryan Newman, Ryan Preece, Bubba Wallace, Jimmie Johnson, Daniel Suarez, Tyler Reddick, Parker Kligerman, Ryan Truex, Landon Cassill, William Byron, Kyle Busch, Daniel Hemric, Matt Tifft, Cody Ware, and Brad Keselowski. 

LAP 1: The green flag waved to a Hendrick Motorsport front row with William Byron in pole position and Jimmie Johnson on the outside lane. After passing the start line, Byron slid up to pull Johnson’s lane and within 2 laps the field had begun racing single-file on the high line.

LAP 12: In an unusual strategy call, Martin Truex Jr in the #19 Toyota Camry, pulled out of the pack and down to pit road alone. Usually, at Daytona, drivers wait to pit with their manufacturer teammates to ensure drafting partners when leaving pit road.

LAP 13: All but 6 cars came to pit road for fuel only to make it to the end of the race. Of those that pitted, 3 pit road penalties were issued…2 of which were for the same driver. Brad Keselowski in the #2 Ford was initially penalized for pitting outside the box, which requires the driver to come down pit road to serve a time penalty. While serving said penalty, Keselowski acquired another infraction for speeding on pit road. By the time the #2 returned to the track, he was 3 laps down.

CAUTIONLAP 25: Kyle Busch spun on the backstretch after contact with Jimmie Johnson. Busch shoved his #18 Toyota in between Johnson and the #31 of Tyler Reddick, making them three-wide as they came out of Turn 2. Johnson tried to slide in behind the #18 but misjudged and ended up turning Busch instead.

LAP 60: Kevin Harvick held onto the lead to win the first duel, thus securing the 3rd place starting spot in the Daytona 500.


Drivers: Joey Logano, Clint Bowyer, Aric Almirola, Denny Hamlin, Kurt Busch, Ryan Blaney, Jamie McMurray, Chase Elliott, Austin Dillon, Ty Dillon, David Ragan, Kyle Larson, Alex Bowman, Erik Jones, Brendan Gaughan, Corey LaJoie, Casey Mears, Michael McDowell, Ross Chastain, Joey Gase, and BJ McLeod

LAP 1: Much like Duel 1, Hendrick teammates led the field to green with Alex Bowman in pole position and Chase Elliott on the outside. Once again, drivers created a single-file situation on the top lane.

LAP 12: Eight drivers, including the race leaders of Bowman and Elliott, made their way to pit road for fuel only.

LAP 13: Ten other drivers came to pit road including Ryan Blaney who also got a wedge adjustment along with fuel.

The entire race, Chase Elliott continuously tried to move to the front. After falling out of the main draft, Elliott began leading a charge with Austin Dillon, Ty Dillon, and David Ragan, making up the 25-car-length difference and catching the main pack again with 5 laps. Elliott attempted to leapfrog cars every few laps, eventually making it all the way to P6 after a power move on Kurt Busch.

LAP 59: Joey Logano decided enough was enough. Logano and his #22 Ford were running 4th at the white flag when he pulled out of line to side draft Aric Almirola. With the draft and the help of his teammate, Ryan Blaney, Logano was able to power by Denny Hamlin and Clint Bowyer to claim the lead and the Duel win, thus securing the 4th place starting spot in the Daytona 500.

The Daytona 500 starting grid is officially set:

1. William Byron
2. Alex Bowman
3. Kevin Harvick
4. Joey Logano
5. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
6. Clint Bowyer
7. Paul Menard
8. Aric Almirola
9. Matt DiBenedetto
10. Denny Hamlin
11. Martin Truex Jr.
12. Kurt Busch
13. Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr.
14. Ryan Blaney
15. Chris Buescher
16. Jamie McMurray
17. Jimmie Johnson
18. Chase Elliott
19. Ryan Newman
20. Austin Dillon
21. Ryan Preece
22. Ty Dillon
23. Daniel Suarez
24. David Ragan
25. Parker Kligerman
26. Kyle Larson
27. Landon Cassill
28. Erik Jones
29. Daniel Hemric
30. Brendan Gaughan
31. Kyle Busch
32. Corey Lajoie
33. Matt Tifft
34. Michael McDowell
35. Brad Keselowski
36. Ross Chastain
37. Cody Ware
38. BJ McLeod
39. Tyler Reddick
40. Casey Mears