Logano, Almirola Notch Duel Victories

| , RacinToday.com Friday, February 17 2023

Joey Logano crosses the finish line just ahead of Christopher Bell in Duel 1 at Daytona on Thursday night. (Photo courtesy of NASCAR)

A day after Chevrolets dominated front-row qualifying for Sunday’s Daytona 500, Fords seized the moment by winning both Duel at Daytona qualifying races at Daytona International Speedway Thursday night.

The Duel set the field for the 36-car race.

Joey Logano, in a Team Penske Ford won the first 21-car Duel while Aric Almirola, in a Stewart-Haas Ford, won the second.

On Wednesday, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolets of Alex Bowman and Kyle Larson claimed the front row for the 500.

Logano led 25 of the 60 caution-free laps in the opening race, his Team Penske teammate Ryan Blaney led a race best 30 laps, finishing third – behind Logano, and Joe Gibbs Racing driver Christopher Bell, who crossed the finish line a mere .018-seconds after Logano.

Almirola led only 17 laps but took the lead for good in the No. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford with two laps remaining and held off fellow Ford driver Austin Cindric and Chase Elliott by a slight .122-second in a race that featured more drama; two caution periods including one that ultimately took out the dominant car.

Kyle Busch led the most laps (28) in the second Duel, but his No. 8 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet was hit from behind by Daniel Suarez’s No. 99 Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet and wrecked from the lead with 18 laps remaining.

“Lots of pushing and shoving,” Busch said afterward.

“Doing everything you can to hang on and do best you can to keep it straight,” Busch said of the incident. “Finally overloaded the left rear and hooked it to the right. Hate it for all my guys. Built a fast Chevy Camaro and was fun to drive. Had a long way to go and don’t understand [this] but it is what it is.”

The final position in the race went to IndyCar Series regular Conor Daly, who finished off the lead lap  because of mechanical issues.

“Well, we were inherently unlucky for the last 36 hours, but we got lucky,” Daly said. “I wish I could have said that I drove it in on pure pace, but it was just crazy.

“When we went out there, the car was bouncing around. I had no idea what was going on. I thought the drivetrain was broken, and [crew chief] Tony [Eury Jr.] just made it better every time. We got lucky with the yellows to try to get some experience, but it is pretty crazy.

“This race, I’ve watched it for so many years and so much crazy stuff can happen and thankfully we were on the right side of the craziness. It’s pretty amazing.”

“I’m sure none of you expected to see me here, but we changed everything but the car’s color in that race,” Daly told reporters with a smile, noting he already had 170 text messages as he did post-race interviews.

The first Duel was much quieter.

“The execution of this race is everything,” Logano, the defending series champion, said. “You know most likely there won’t be a caution, so you’ve got to do a good job on pit road cycling yourself to the front but then I’m sitting there as the leader and I’m thinking I’m a sitting duck this is not where you want to be. I was hoping they would start racing back there, which they did, and it ended up working out for me.

“When the 20 got to me, I saw Blaney was behind me and I thought, ‘that’s my buddy, I’ve got to stick with him.’ I knew the 20 would make the run to the outside and I probably wouldn’t be able to defend that and just waited for the 12 to push me through there. So good Penske effort there to get the Duel win.”


NASCAR Cup Series Race – Duel 1 at DAYTONA

Daytona International Speedway

Daytona Beach, Florida

Thursday, February 16, 2023

  1. (3)  Joey Logano, Ford, 60.
  2. (11)  Christopher Bell, Toyota, 60.
  3. (4)  Ryan Blaney, Ford, 60.
  4. (7)  Chris Buescher, Ford, 60.
  5. (13)  Michael McDowell, Ford, 60.
  6. (9)  Kevin Harvick, Ford, 60.
  7. (6)  Bubba Wallace, Toyota, 60.
  8. (15)  Zane Smith(i), Ford, 60.
  9. (5)  Harrison Burton, Ford, 60.
  10. (2)  William Byron, Chevrolet, 60.
  11. (8)  Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, 60.
  12. (14)  Erik Jones, Chevrolet, 60.
  13. (17)  Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 60.
  14. (12)  Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 60.
  15. (16)  AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 60.
  16. (18)  Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Chevrolet, 59.
  17. (1)  Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 59.
  18. (21)  Chandler Smith(i), Chevrolet, 59.
  19. (10)  Ty Gibbs #, Toyota, 59.
  20. (19)  Cody Ware, Ford, 59.
  21. (20)  Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 59.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  187.63 mph.

Time of Race:  0 Hrs, 47 Mins, 58 Secs. Margin of Victory:  0.018 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  0 for  laps.

Lead Changes:  4 among 3 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   A. Bowman 0;R. Blaney 1-5;R. Chastain 6;R. Blaney 7-31;J. Logano 32-60.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  Ryan Blaney 2 times for 30 laps; Joey Logano 1 time for 29 laps; Ross Chastain 1 time for 1 lap.


NASCAR Cup Series Race –  Duel 2 at DAYTONA

Daytona International Speedway

Daytona Beach, Florida

Thursday, February 16, 2023

  1. (2)  Aric Almirola, Ford, 60.
  2. (4)  Austin Cindric, Ford, 60.
  3. (7)  Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 60.
  4. (9)  Brad Keselowski, Ford, 60.
  5. (20)  Corey LaJoie, Chevrolet, 60.
  6. (1)  Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 60.
  7. (17)  Todd Gilliland, Ford, 60.
  8. (11)  Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 60.
  9. (13)  Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 60.
  10. (8)  Ryan Preece, Ford, 60.
  11. (14)  Noah Gragson #, Chevrolet, 60.
  12. (6)  Daniel Suarez, Chevrolet, 60.
  13. (10)  Tyler Reddick, Toyota, 60.
  14. (15)  Justin Haley, Chevrolet, 60.
  15. (3)  Chase Briscoe, Ford, 60.
  16. (18)  BJ McLeod, Chevrolet, 60.
  17. (21)  Conor Daly(i), Chevrolet, 59.
  18. (16)  Austin Hill(i), Chevrolet, Accident, 41.
  19. (5)  Kyle Busch, Chevrolet, Accident, 40.
  20. (19)  Riley Herbst(i), Ford, Accident, 40.
  21. (12)  Travis Pastrana, Toyota, Accident, 40.


Average Speed of Race Winner:  151.813 mph.

Time of Race:  0 Hrs, 59 Mins, 17 Secs. Margin of Victory:  0.122 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  2 for 9 laps.

Lead Changes:  15 among 6 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   K. Larson 1;A. Almirola 2-4;K. Larson 5;A. Almirola 6-10;K. Larson 11;K. Busch 12-13;K. Larson 14;K. Busch 15-40;D. Suarez 41-42;K. Larson 43-45;A. Almirola 46;K. Larson 47-48;A. Almirola 49-54;A. Cindric 55-57;T. Gilliland 58;A. Almirola 59-60.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  Kyle Busch 2 times for 28 laps; Aric Almirola 5 times for 17 laps; Kyle Larson 6 times for 9 laps; Austin Cindric 1 time for 3 laps; Daniel Suarez 1 time for 2 laps; Todd Gilliland 1 time for 1 lap.

| , RacinToday.com Friday, February 17 2023
No Comment