The Duels Are Both Kind And Cruel At Daytona

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, February 14 2020

William Byron celebrates his victory in Thusday night’s qualifying race at Daytona. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Harold Hinson)

By Deb Williams | Senior Writer

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Jubilation and heartbreak.

Those two emotions are a way of life in motorsports. However, when it comes to Thursday’s 60-lap Daytona 500 qualifying races they are magnified for those who do or don’t make the field for the prestigious season opener.

Joey Logano and William Byron, winners of the Bluegreen Vacations Duels, were already locked into Sunday’s Daytona 500 field. They raced for a starting position on the grid, but it was a different story for five other drivers. Two raced their way into the Daytona 500 while three had to head home. Timmy Hill and Reed Sorenson will start 32nd and 40th, respectively, on Sunday. Daniel Suarez, J.J. Yeley and Chad Finchum will have to wait another year for a shot at the Daytona 500.

Suarez’s run in the first Duel ended when an apparent pit miscue by Ryan Blaney collected Suarez’s Toyota and sent him crashing through the frontstretch grass. 

“I don’t know if the 2 (Brad Keselowski) was going to pit or everyone else was going to pit,” a dejected Suarez said after walking from the infield care center at Daytona International Speedway. “I don’t know what the deal was, but the 2 got his hand out of the window at the exit of (turn) four. So when I saw that I started slowing down and moved to the right to avoid him and the 12 (Blaney) just didn’t give me enough room. Those last second calls just don’t work.”

Suarez said Thursday’s result left him with “a lot of frustration, a broken heart because I have been working my ass off to try to make this happen.”

Hill made it into the Daytona 500 field for the first time on his second attempt that occurred during his 10th year in NASCAR. It was an accomplishment the 26-year-old driver admitted he thought might never happen. 

“With the new Cup car coming next year, if we didn’t put this deal together this year, I might never have a shot at this,” said Hill, who couldn’t stop smiling.  

 Like Hill, Sorenson was happy. 

“This is probably the best motor I have had to try to race my way in,” Sorenson said. “Any time you try to make this race it’s very nerve racking, not only for the driver but for the team owners. I don’t think our crew chief has slept in a week. I’ve been on the other side of it where I have missed it and it’s very disappointing. It takes a while to get over. So it was nice this year to come down here and get in.”

The Daytona 500 is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. on Fox.


NASCAR Cup Series Race – Bluegreen Vacations Duel 1

Daytona International Speedway

Daytona Beach, Florida

Thursday, February 13, 2020

  1. (6)  Joey Logano, Ford, 60.
  2. (4)  Aric Almirola, Ford, 60.
  3. (8)  Ryan Newman, Ford, 60.
  4. (12)  Brad Keselowski, Ford, 60.
  5. (17)  Bubba Wallace, Chevrolet, 60.
  6. (15)  Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 60.
  7. (11)  Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 60.
  8. (1)  Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Chevrolet, 60.
  9. (5)  Christopher Bell #, Toyota, 60.
  10. (10)  Chris Buescher, Ford, 60.
  11. (3)  Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 60.
  12. (13)  John Hunter Nemechek #, Ford, 60.
  13. (2)  Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 60.
  14. (14)  Ryan Blaney, Ford, 60.
  15. (7)  Clint Bowyer, Ford, 60.
  16. (9)  Ryan Preece, Chevrolet, 60.
  17. (16)  Justin Haley(i), Chevrolet, 60.
  18. (18)  Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, 59.
  19. (20)  Quin Houff #, Chevrolet, 58.
  20. (21)  Chad Finchum, Toyota, 57.
  21. (22)  Joey Gase(i), Chevrolet, 57.
  22. (19)  Daniel Suarez, Toyota, Accident, 28.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  166.105 mph.

Time of Race:  0 Hrs, 54 Mins, 9 Secs. Margin of Victory:  .172 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  1 for 7 laps.

Lead Changes:  11 among 6 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   R. Stenhouse Jr. 1-22;C. Bowyer 23-29;R. Newman 30-34;C. Buescher 35;R. Stenhouse Jr. 36-37;J. Logano 38;R. Stenhouse Jr. 39;J. Logano 40-42;A. Dillon 43;J. Logano 44-57;R. Stenhouse Jr. 58-59;J. Logano 60.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 4 times for 27 laps; Joey Logano 4 times for 19 laps; Clint Bowyer 1 time for 7 laps; Ryan Newman 1 time for 5 laps; Chris Buescher 1 time for 1 lap; Austin Dillon 1 time for 1 lap.


NASCAR Cup Series Race – Bluegreen Vacations Duel 2

  1. (4)  William Byron, Chevrolet, 60.
  2. (2)  Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 60.
  3. (10)  Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 60.
  4. (6)  Kevin Harvick, Ford, 60.
  5. (7)  Cole Custer #, Ford, 60.
  6. (5)  Erik Jones, Toyota, 60.
  7. (8)  Matt DiBenedetto, Ford, 60.
  8. (11)  Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 60.
  9. (14)  Ross Chastain(i), Chevrolet, 60.
  10. (9)  Tyler Reddick #, Chevrolet, 60.
  11. (15)  Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 60.
  12. (12)  Michael McDowell, Ford, 60.
  13. (3)  Kyle Busch, Toyota, 60.
  14. (13)  David Ragan, Ford, 60.
  15. (1)  Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 60.
  16. (17)  Timmy Hill(i), Ford, 60.
  17. (16)  Brendan Gaughan(i), Chevrolet, 60.
  18. (20)  Brennan Poole #, Chevrolet, 59.
  19. (18)  Corey LaJoie, Ford, 59.
  20. (21)  BJ McLeod(i), Ford, 58.
  21. (19)  JJ Yeley, Ford, Accident, 41.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  170.994 mph.

Time of Race:   Margin of Victory:  .117 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  1 for 5 laps.

Lead Changes:  8 among 5 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   A. Bowman 1-4;K. Harvick 5;A. Bowman 6;K. Harvick 7-15;A. Bowman 16-22;E. Jones 23-30;K. Busch 31-33;K. Harvick 34-57;W. Byron 58-60.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  Kevin Harvick 3 times for 34 laps; Alex Bowman 3 times for 12 laps; Erik Jones 1 time for 8 laps; William Byron 1 time for 3 laps; Kyle Busch 1 time for 3 laps.

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, February 14 2020
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