Joey Logano, William Byron Win Duels At Daytona International Speedwayby Camille Jones February 13, 2020 0 comments
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The field is set for Sunday’s 62nd running of the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway.
Starting on the front row will be Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Alex Bowman, who claimed their positions in qualifying last Sunday.
The two front row starters will be followed by Joey Logano and William Byron, who secured their starting positions with wins in Thursday night’s Bluegreen Vacations Duel races.
In the first of the Duel races, Stenhouse began the race in dominant fashion, leading for 27 laps of the 60-lap event. Logano wasn’t giving up his shot at a second-row starting spot without a fight. With Aric Almirola on his bumper, Logano carried the top line of traffic to the finish, earning the third place starting spot for the Daytona 500.
“It feels so good,” said Logano. “I mean, obviously it’s the Duels, not the Daytona 500, but momentum is momentum. Just T.J. does such a great job up on the roof and understanding the draft, and then working with this new group here, they’re not new to working together but I’m new with them, and it’s been a good partnership so far. Been pretty seamless and working out some of the kinks last week and being able to come to Victory Lane here in Daytona. Winning anything in Daytona is such a big deal, so just ready to go for the 500.”
During the first event, there was one caution caused by a crash on lap 30. During a pit sequence, Daniel Suarez, who was racing to earn a spot in the big race, dodged out of line as Brad Keselowski slowed in front of him to hit pit road. Suarez’s quick move resulted in a collision with Ryan Blaney, ending his race with significant damage. Suarez consequently misses the chance to race in Sunday’s Daytona 500.
Bowman started on the pole of the second Duel race of the night. In the closing laps, Kevin Harvick carried the line of traffic with three laps to go. William Byron claimed the lead with two laps to go, as Kurt Busch and Jimmie Johnson helped him along in the top line. In the final moments, Busch dove down to try to make a pass for the lead, but he made light contact with Harvick, killing their runs for the lead. Byron held on, carrying the pack to the finish and earning the fourth starting spot in the big event on Sunday.
“No, there wasn’t any Chevy orders or anything like that,” said Byron. “We just did a good job of working together. Kurt was a great pusher and great helper. I really had a lot of trust in him. I was really trying to go with one to go, but I had enough momentum out of the tri‑oval. Watching the old races, that’s where the momentum kind of lines up. I didn’t know if I would get that kind of same momentum once everybody started pushing with one to go. Made it there, got to second. I guess Kevin played really nice and didn’t pull a big block. Thanks to Axalta. This car looks really good. I’m sure it was beautiful under the lights. Excited for the 500.”
On lap 42, Corey LaJoie and JJ Yeley made minor contact when the No. 32 of LaJoie had a big run behind the No. 54 of Yeley. The collision resulted in significant damage for Yeley, ending his hopes of racing in Sunday’s race.
Along with Suarez and Yeley, Chad Finchum also failed to make the Daytona 500.
Tune-in Sunday, February 16, to see the 40 NASCAR Cup Series competitors take to the high banks of Daytona International Speedway for the 62nd running of the Daytona 500. Live coverage will be found on FOX and the Motor Racing Network (MRN) at 2:30 p.m. ET.
Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images