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NASCAR Cup: Austin Dillon wins second Daytona Duel

By AMANDA VINCENT

Austin Dillon nosed out in front of Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. as the two drivers approached the checkered flag of the second Bluegreen Vacations Duel at Daytona race on Thursday night to win and claim the fourth starting position in Sunday’s Daytona 500. Dillon beat Wallace by 0.057 seconds.

“What a way to capitalize on our Duel and show what our No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE can do,” Dillon said. “I was talking to my spotter, Brandon Benesch, about having the No. 4 (Kevin Harvick) car behind us on the final restart since he had been pushing well all night. I knew he had another Ford behind him, though, so it was going to be tough. I made a decent block down the backstretch and got a big push after that. I knew the No. 23 (Wallace) was going to try to block me as we came to the line, but I just whipped the wheel, and it all worked out. It’s going to be a great feeling rolling off Sunday up near the front row, and I’m hopeful we can have a similar result that evening for Bass Pro Shops, Tracker Off Road, Dow, Coca-Cola and all of our partners.”

Aric Almirola won the first Duel race of the evening.

Wallace finished second in the second Duel, Kevin Harvick was third, and Kyle Busch and Chase Elliott rounded out the top-five of the race that was scheduled for 60-laps/150-miles but was extended to 63 laps by an overtime restart.

“A lot of mistakes. A good debut, but nothing to be really happy about for myself,” Wallace said. “It’s okay for drivers to be hard on themselves. That’s how we motivate ourselves to go out and do better. Hats off to my guys – the 23XI team – for building me a great DoorDash Toyota Camry. I tried to do all I could to help (Martin) Truex, there; get Toyota a win. I appreciate Kyle (Busch) for cutting me a lot of breaks. I know I’ve got a lot to learn, here, but all in all, it was a good night, but I’ve got some learning to do.” 

The second Duel set the outside line, or even-numbered positions on the Daytona 500 starting grid.

David Ragan and Kaz Grala claimed Daytona 500 starting positions as drivers with open, or non-chartered teams. Ragan finished eighth in the second Duel, and Grala was 14th. Ragan already had guaranteed a position somewhere on the Daytona 500 starting grid by his lap time in Wednesday’s front-row qualifying session, but as the highest finisher among the four open drivers in Thursday night’s second race, Grala took the available Daytona 500 starting spot based on Wednesday’s qualifying session.

The start of Thursday night’s second race was delayed by rain, but when the race finally got underway, it was dominated by pole sitter William Byron. Byron, who claimed his Daytona 500 front-row starting position alongside Hendrick Motorsports teammate and 500 pole starter Alex Bowman during front-row qualifying, led 34 laps of of the second Duel after starting the race in the first position.

Byron, though, was involved in the final caution, the second of the race, that began when open driver Garrett Smithley hooked Brad Keselowski. Ryan Blaney, Ross Chastain and open driver Noah Gragson also were collected in the incident.

Byron wound up 19th at the checkered flag.

When the race restarted for the final time, Martin Truex Jr. was the race leader, with Wallace alongside in second. Truex fell back to 12th by the end of the race.

The first caution came on lap 36, beginning with a spin by Chase Briscoe. Smithley also was a casualty of that incident that also collected Grala and Anthony Alfredo.

Ragan was the only open driver in the second Duel not involved in one of the cautions.

Championship points were awarded to the top-10 finishers in each Duel. finishing sixth through 10th in the second race were Blaney, Corey LaJoie, Ragan, Kurt Busch and Chris Buescher.

Harvick was the only driver other than Byron to lead more than 10 laps, running up front for 11 laps. Truex, Blaney, Wallace and Dillon also were lap leaders.

Below, is the finishing order of the second BlueGreen Vacations Duel at Daytona race:

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Posted by on February 12, 2021. Filed under Breaking News,Cup Series,Featured,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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