The Can-Am Duel qualifying races took place Thursday night at Daytona International Speedway. The finish of the twin 150-mile races set the bulk of the starting line for the Daytona 500 on Sunday (3 p.m. ET, FOX).
Who won Duel No. 1?
Ryan Blaney continued a dominant Team Penske Speedweeks by taking the win in the first Duel. Blaney got a push from Darrell Wallace Jr. on an overtime restart to get enough of an advantage that no one could pass the No. 12 Ford. Joey Logano finished second, with Wallace third, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. fourth, and defending Daytona 500 winner Kurt Busch in fifth.
The Team Penske cars of Logano, Blaney, and Brad Keselowski dominated much of the 60-lap race, as they ran nose-to-tail holding the top three positions. Keselowski, who entered as the favorite to the Daytona 500, never made it to the finish line as contact with Jamie McMurray sent Keselowski crashing into the outside backstretch wall. As the caution came out for Keselowski’s crash, Blaney passed Logano for the lead.
On the subsequent overtime restart, Blaney got the jump then a push from his good friend Wallace to maintain the lead. That proved the difference for Blaney to claim the victory.
Who qualified for the Daytona 500?
All 20 drivers in the first Duel advanced to the Daytona 500.
What else of note?
Polesitter Alex Bowman deliberately dropped to the rear of the field as soon as the race went green. That was a strategic decision as the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports team did not want to damage its primary Chevrolet. Had Bowman crashed and needed to switch to a backup, he would’ve forfeited the pole in Sunday’s Daytona 500. … Jimmie Johnson, Bowman’s teammate, suffered a tire failure that caused the No. 48 Chevrolet to spin up the track and into the path of Daniel Suarez and Aric Almirola. Suarez was able to continue after repairs, while Johnson and Almirola were knocked out of the race. … The wreck was the second for Johnson in as many races this week after also crashing in the preliminary The Clash last weekend. Almirola will also switch to a backup car for the Daytona 500. … Rookie William Byron, in a third Hendrick car, lost control in the draft and spun down the frontstretch toward Turn 1 on Lap 40. Byron then took his Chevrolet behind the wall and finished 18th; he also will be in a backup on Sunday.