DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Ryan Blaney and Chase Elliott scored victories in Thursday night’s Can-Am Duel at Daytona International Speedway.
Blaney held off his teammate Joey Logano, along with rookie Darrell Wallace Jr., to the checkered flag in the first Duel.
“We have amazing speed, hopefully, we can bring it home on Sunday,” Blaney said. “It’s good to start the year off well.”
Blaney will start third in the Daytona 500.
“I saw (Wallace) was third and figured he’d give me a good push,” Blaney said. “He did a good job of racing us home. He did a great job. … I thought our cars in the Clash and tonight have been really, really good. We have amazing speed. Hopefully we can bring it home on Sunday.”
Wallace was thrilled about bringing his Richard Petty Motorsports Chevrolet home third.
“I just had a guard walk me from pit road to the media center,” Wallace said. “His name is Richard Petty. I’ve never seen him so excited in my life. He had the sunglasses off!”
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Kurt Busch rounded out the top five.
The opening race of the night’s twin 150-mile races turned out to be a wild affair with a number of accidents and incidents taking out several top contenders. Jimmie Johnson and Aric Almirola were involved in the first incident of the night. (Read More)
Rookie William Byron, Brad Keselowski and David Gilliland were also had damage to their cars in separate incidents.
Elliott held off Kevin Harvick to win the night’s second race. The Hendrick Motorsports driver led 33 of the night’s 60 laps to notch the victory. It was his second straight Duel win.
“I was kind of trying a bunch of stuff, I didn’t really know what to do,” Elliott said. “This new package is a little different and they way these cars draft is a little strange to what we’ve seen in the past. I don’t know that anyone has it 100 percent figured out. I think we’re all trying to learn and see what the best position it to be in and when you want to be there.”
Harvick believes there’s work to be done before Sunday’s 500.
“We’ve got to make our car better,” he said. “I just wasn’t comfortable to pull on the car like I needed to,”
Erik Jones, who spun to avoid an earlier incident, came back to finish third.
Clint Bowyer and Kyle Busch rounded out the top five.
Kyle Larson and Matt DiBenedetto were involved in the accident that Jones was able to avoid by spinning.
“I just hate that we tore up another car and my guys are going to have to get another Credit One Bank Chevy prepared before practice,” Larson said. “We just didn’t really want to crash today. That stinks.”
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series teams now return to the track Friday for practice in preparation for Sunday’s race.