Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott Survive To Win Can-Am Duels In Daytona

by February 15, 2018 0 comments

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Ryan Blaney and Chase Elliott claimed the third and fourth starting spots for the 60th Annual Daytona 500 with wins in their respect Can-Am Duel races on Thursday night at Daytona International Speedway.

Can-Am Duel No. 1

The first Can-Am Duel race was the most intense of the two. With several incidents, multiple drivers will be sent to backup cars for The Great American Race on Sunday.

Two of those drivers being sent to backup cars are Aric Almirola and Jimmie Johnson. On lap 10, the caution came out when Johnson’s No. 48 Lowes Chevrolet snapped loose due to a tire down and spun into the front of Aric Almirola’s No. 10. Smithfield Ford. Daniel Suarez spun to dodge the incident, and he was able to make it out with minimal damage.

“Tough way to start Speedweeks,” Johnson said. “I feel terrible for my race team for all their hard work. We’ll take that backup (car) out. The car started to shake a little bit entering the tri-oval. That is why I pulled down. I was kind of shocked that I had the shake, and knew it was that soft tire shake coming from the right side. As I entered the tri-oval, it finally went flat and hooked me around and into to Aric (Almirola) unfortunately. Terrible way to start, but thankful for all the support from Chevrolet, Lowes for Pros. We will pull out that next bullet and get ready.”

The high-line was the place to be on Thursday night, but Ricky Stenhouse Jr. spent most of the 60-lap event trying to make the bottom lane work in his No. 17 Fastenal Ford. The experimenting became risky when he became involved in two separate incidents, one taking out William Byron in the No. 24 Liberty University Chevrolet, and the other taking out David Gilliland in the No. 92 Black’s Tire Service/Carquest Auto Parts Ford, by simply taking the air off the rear of their cars and spinning them around without any contact involved. Gilliland and Byron will both be going to backup cars as well.

The Team Penske trio of Ryan Blaney, Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano dominated the event, and they appeared to be on their way to a 1-2-3 finish; however, with three laps to go, Keselowski  made contact with the No. 1 McDonalds Chevrolet of Jamie McMurray, resulting in significant damage to Keselowski’s No. 2 Discount Tire Ford. Keselowski will be going to a backup.

The race went into NASCAR Overtime, where Ryan Blaney was able to take the victory. Joey Logano finished in second, with Darrell Wallace, Jr. finishing third.

“I thought our car was super fast all night,” Blaney said. “I thought all three of our cars were really fast, myself, Brad and Joey. It’s a shame the 2 got tore up.

“I thought we were able to really control the whole race pretty much. We saw that in the Clash, the 2 was able to control it, Joey was able to control it.  I was kind of the middle.  We had a set plan to try to work with each other the best we can.  I think we do that great as a whole organization.”

Can-Am Duel No. 2

The second of the two Can-Am Duel races remained much calmer following the destruction of the first Can-Am Duel race.

With one single accident in the event, only two drivers from the second Can-Am Duel race will be going to backup cars.

On lap 12, a multi-car incident occurred involving Erik Jones in the No. 20 Dewalt Toyota, Kyle Larson in the No. 42 CreditOne Bank Chevrolet and Matt DiBenedetto in the No. 32 The Hurricane Heist Ford. Larson and DiBenedetto will give up their wrecked primary cars and hop behind the wheel of backup cars on Sunday.

“I just hate that we tore up another car and my guys are going to have to get another Credit One Bank Chevy prepared before tomorrow morning practice,” Larson said. “We just didn’t really want to crash today. That stinks. I haven’t seen a replay or anything but it kind of looked like the No. 9 (Chase Elliott) got into the No. 20 in the middle of the corner. Seemed like we were all good then they started spinning on exit and I had nowhere to go. ”

Chase Elliott led 34 of the 60 laps raced and came home the winner of the second Duel race. Kevin Harvick was able to make a late move to finish in second while Erik Jones finished in third. With the win, Elliott became the first driver in history to pilot the new Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 to Victory Lane in NASCAR.

“Our NAPA Camaro ZL1 was really fast tonight,” Elliott said. “A big thanks to everybody at Hendrick Motorsports.  The Hendrick engine shop does a great job. Brought a lot of steam tonight. I am proud of Alan and our entire group.  All of our partners – Hooters, Kelly Blue Book, Mountain Dew, Sun Energy, Valvoline and of course Chevrolet, like I said.  We are excited to get to Sunday. We did this last year.  We have the big one on Sunday – that is the main thing.”

The 60th Annual Daytona 500 will take place on Sunday, February 18 at Daytona International Speedway. Live coverage of The Great American Race will broadcast on FOX and the Motor Racing Network (MRN) at 2:30 p.m. ET.

Photo Credit: Sarah Crabill/Getty Images

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