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NASCAR Cup: Joey Logano, William Byron claim Bluegreen Vacations Duel wins

DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA – FEBRUARY 13: Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Cup Series Bluegreen Vacations Duel 1 at Daytona International Speedway on February 13, 2020 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

By AMANDA VINCENT

After an approximate one-hour rain delay at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway on Thursday night, the NASCAR Cup Series completed its task of completing the starting grid for the Daytona 500, scheduled for Sunday afternoon. Joey Logano repeated as a Bluegreen Vacations Duel at Daytona winner with his victory of the first 60-lap race, while William Byron won the second Duel race. As a result, Logano and Byron will start the Daytona 500 in the second row behind pole sitter Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Byron’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate Alex Bowman. Stenhouse and Bowman’s Daytona 500 starting positions were determined during Daytona 500 front-row qualifying Feb. 9.

Of the 43 Daytona 500 entrants, seven are with open, or non-chartered, teams, meaning they entered Daytona Speedweeks without a guaranteed Daytona 500 starting spot. Justin Haley and Brendan Gaughan clinched Daytona 500 participation by virtue being the fastest two among the seven during front-row qualifying. Haley, though, raced his way in through the first Duel on Thursday night, so Reed Sorenson was able to advance to the Daytona 500 on his front-row qualifying session lap time.

From the first Duel, Daniel Suarez and Chad Finchum failed to make the Daytona 500. Finchum finished the first race 20th of 22 cars. Suarez wound up last as a result of an early retirement. He was eliminated from the race in a crash that also involved Ryan Blaney on lap 30. That incident brought the only caution of the race. Blaney was able to continue.

“The 2 (Brad Keselowski) car, he started getting his hand out of the window super, super late, and I didn’t see him. When I started going out, the 12 (Blaney) was there,” Suarez said.

With a Daytona 500 starting spot secure, Brendan Gaughan was cautious in the second Duel and finished 17 of the 21 cars in that race. Timmy Hill raced his way into the Daytona 500 through the second Duel with a 16th-place finish. J.J. Yeley failed to make the Daytona 500 after falling out of the race because of a crash that also involved Corey LaJoie on lap 42. That wreck was the only incident of the second Duel.

Logano led 19 laps in the first 60-lap Duel en route to his win. He took the lead with a push from eventual second-place finisher Aric Almirola on lap 38 and led most of the remainder of the race. Ryan Newman finished third and Brad Keselowski was fourth to give Ford the top-four positons in the finishing order. Darrell Wallace Jr. rounded out the top-five.

“This is awesome. What great teamwork by the Fords, especially Aric Almirola, my goodness,” Logano said. “He was a great pusher at the right time, and we were able to hold off the bottom when we needed and hold off the Chevys and showed the speed that the Fords have here. That is something I am proud to be a part of. I am proud to be driving that ‘Blue Oval’ and these Roush Yates motors. We are ready to rock and roll. I can’t wait for the 500.”

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. led a race-high 27 laps, including the first 22, before finishing eighth. Despite collecting a large piece of debris on his grille by lap 11, Stenhouse remained on the track and up front until leading the Chevrolets in the race down pit road for scheduled pit stops on lap 23.

Toyotas pitted a lap later, but the Ford teams remained out a few laps longer and ran up front, led by Clint Boywer before the lone yellow flag of the race. After Ford drivers cycled through their pit stops, Stenhouse was back up front for a few laps before Logano took the lead.

Stenhouse fell back after losing the lead to Logano, but he was back up to second with four laps remaining and challenging Logano for the lead before falling back, again, by the checkered flag.

Byron led only three laps en route to his Duel two win, taking the lead from Kevin Harvick on lap 58 and leading the final three laps. Harvick was back to fourth by the second checkered flag. Jimmie Johnson was second in the second Duel to give Hendrick Motorsports a one-two finish. Kyle Larson was third for a Chevrolet one-two-three. Meanwhile, Harvick’s Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Cole Custer rounded out the top-five.

“We didn’t really have Chevy orders or anything like that. We just did a good job of working together,” Byron said. Kurt (Busch) was a great pusher and a great helper, and 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 just watching old races; that’s just kind of where the momentum kind of lines up. So I didn’t know if I’d get that same momentum once everybody started pushing with one to go. So just made it there. Got to second, I guess. And then, Kevin played really nice and didn’t pull a big block. Thanks to Axalta. This car looks really good. It sure is beautiful under the lights. I’m excited for the 500.”

Harvick led over half of the second Duel, leading 34 of the 60 laps. Bowman was the only other driver to post double digits in the laps-led column, running up front for 12 laps before finishing 15th.

Harvick first took the lead on lap five with a push from Matt DiBenedetto. Bowman, after starting on the pole and leading the first four laps, was pushed back to the lead by Erik Jones on lap 16. He gave up that lead to lead his fellow-Chevrolet drivers down pit road on lap 23. After Erik Jones and Kyle Busch, the only two Toyota drivers in the second Duel, spent time up front, Harvick moved up to second behind leader Busch on lap 31.

Harvick was up front, with Busch in second, after the Ford and Toyotas pitted on lap 33. Harvick ran up front most of the remainder of the race, until Byron took his race-winning lead in the closing laps. By the checkered flag, Busch was shuffled back to 13th.

Below, is the complete finishing order of each Bluegreen Vacations at Daytona Duel race:

Below, is the complete starting grid for the Daytona 500:

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Posted by on February 14, 2020. 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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