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NASCAR Cup: William Byron among those to back for Daytona 500

By AMNDA VINCENT

At least six cars will drop to the back for the start of Sunday’s 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season-opening Daytona 500 after going to backup cars. All six, including official front-row starter William Byron, wrecked their primary cars in one of the Bluegreen Vacations Duel at Daytona races Thursday night.

Byron’s car was collected in a lap 57 wreck during the second Duel after he led 34 laps. He claimed his official Daytona 500 starting position of second during a single-car, single-lap qualifying session Wednesday evening. Hendrick Motorsports teammate Alex Bowman qualified on the pole.

Whether or not Bowman will drop to the back for the start of the Daytona 500 in favor of an engine change is unknown at this point. Bowman contested the first Duel. About halfway through the 60-lap race, he reported a possible engine problem when his engine seemed to rev. A diagnostic test by his team showed no problem, so the team plans to wait until practice Saturday to determine whether or not an engine change is needed.

“Obviously, we were trying to run as hard as we could, there, at the beginning of the race,” Bowman’s crew chief Greg Ives said. “We wanted to try to stay in the draft and understand what the handling was. He felt it handled fine and then went towards the back of the pack. Alex felt and heard something in the engine, which turned into a vibration in the chassis. Being a non-points race and being locked in, it allowed us to do some things that would make us a few laps down. We talked through engine diagnostics and sent some guys over pit wall who don’t normally go over the wall. Our Ally Racing team was able to go through some tire sets to make sure it wasn’t that. There were a lot of things you always think you are going to be prepared for until you actually go through them. I feel like we did a good job understanding it, and hopefully, we are able to diagnose it and make sure everything is good.”

Cole Custer will be in the back in a backup car for the start of the Daytona 500 after wrecking on the final lap of the opening Duel on Thursday. 

“We were running in the top-10 for most of the night and tried to go to the bottom to get better track position at the end,” Custer said. “We were just too loose,  and it didn’t work out. We’ve got some work to do on our HaasTooling.com Ford Mustang, but we have time to get things figured out during practice, and then, we’ll turn our attention to the Daytona 500.”

Other drivers moving to backup cars and, therefore, dropping to the back to start the Daytona 500 after wrecking their primary cars in one of two cautions during the second Duel include Brad Keselowski, Kaz Grala, Anthony Alfredo and Ross Chastain.

Below, is the complete official starting grid for Sunday’s Daytona 500:

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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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