Logano, Byron win their Duels as NASCAR’s Daytona 500 Field Is Set
When the Duel qualifying races were all said and done late Thursday Justin Haley, Brendan Gaughan, Reed Sorenson, and Timmy Hill learned they will race in Sunday’s Daytona 500, while Daniel Suarez, Chad Finchum, and JJ Yeley will be watching from the sidelines.
Joey Logano won the second Duel last season, after an hour rain delay Thursday he won the first Duel. This win however came with a different crew chief and pit crew after Team Penske made wholesale crew and crew chief swaps in the off season. Logano took the lead after a fierce back and forth battle in the closing laps and led the final two laps to lead a Ford top four finish. Aric Almirola was second followed by Ryan Newman, Brad Keselowski and Bubba Wallace in a Chevy rounded out the top five.
“It feels so good,” Logano said. “I mean, obviously it's the Duels, not the Daytona 500, but momentum is momentum.”
Justin Haley finished 17th and raced his way into Sunday’s big show while Reed Sorenson made it in on speed after finishing 18th. Meanwhile Daniel Suarez hopes to make the Daytona 500 came to an end on lap 30 when he got together with Ryan Blaney coming out of turn 4 after the Blaney missed the signal from his Penske crew to pit. Suarez’s Toyota came up and into Blaney’s Ford and was put nose first into the wall. His car came to a stop on the infield and his race and hopes to make the 500 was over.
Despite damage Blaney finished the first Duel 14th. After the race however, his crew determined the damage to be too heavy and he will start in a backup Sunday. Chad Finchum in an open car finished 20th three laps down and failed to make the 500 field.
Alex Bowman led the field to the green for the second Duel beside his Hendrick teammate Jimmie Johnson. Kevin Harvick had control for much of the race until three laps to go when William Byron was able to power by on the outside and held off his teammate Johnson for the win. Kyle Larson was third, Harvick fourth with Cole Custer fifth.
“I was really trying to go with one to go, but I had enough momentum out of the tri‑oval,” Byron said. ” 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.
“I guess Kevin played really nice and didn't pull a big block.”
The final spot for the Daytona 500 was secured on lap 41 when JJ Yeley got together with Corey LaJoie along the backstretch. Yeley was racing with Timmy Hill for the final spot. Brenden Gaughan who had already made it in on speed, dropped to the back of the field to simply survive for Sunday. Yeley limped to the pits but the damage was too great and his race, and his Speedweeks were over.
2020 Daytona 500 Starting Lineup
Starting Position Driver Team
1. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. JTG Daugherty Racing
2. Alex Bowman Hendrick Motorsports
3. Joey Logano Team Penske
4. William Byron Hendrick Motorsports
5. Aric Almirola Stewart-Haas Racing
6. Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Motorsports
7. Ryan Newman Roush Fenway Racing
8. Kyle Larson Chip Ganassi Racing
9. Brad Keselowski Team Penske
10. Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Racing
11. Bubba Wallace Richard Petty Motorsports
12. Cole Custer Stewart-Haas Racing
13 Austin Dillon Richard Childress Racing
14. Erik Jones Joe Gibbs Racing
15. Martin Truex Jr. Joe Gibbs Racing
16. Matt DiBenedetto Wood Brothers Racing
17. Christopher Bell Leavine Family Racing
18. Kurt Busch Chip Ganassi Racing
19. Chris Buescher Roush Fenway Racing
20. Ross Chastain Spire Motorsports
21. Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing
22. Tyler Reddick Richard Childress Racing
23. John Hunter Nemechek Front Row Motorsports
24. Ty Dillon Germain Racing
25. Chase Elliott Hendrick Motorsports
26. Michael McDowell Front Row Motorsports
27. Ryan Blaney Team Penske
28. Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Racing
29. Clint Bowyer Stewart-Haas Racing
30. David Ragan Rick Ware Racing
31. Ryan Preece JTG Daugherty Racing
32. Timmy Hill MBM Motorsports
33. Justin Haley Kaulig Racing
34. Brennan Poole Premium Motorsports
35. Quin Houff StarCom Racing
36. Corey LaJoie GO FAS Racing
37. Joey Gase Petty Ware Racing
38. BJ McLeod Rick Ware Racing
39. Brendan Gaughan Beard Motorsports
40. Reed Sorenson Premium Motorsports