NASCAR is completing its qualifying process for the Daytona 500 on Thursday night with the annual Duel races at Daytona International Speedway. The twin 150-mile races will set not only the starting positions for the Feb. 14 race, but also determine the final two drivers to make the 40-car field.
Phase 1 of qualifying took place Wednesday night with pole qualifying. Hendrick Motorsports teammates Alex Bowman and William Byron posted the two fastest qualifying lap times and thus gained the pole and No. 2 position, respectively, for the race.
Two other drivers — Ryan Preece and David Ragan — earned entry into the race with their qualifying runs. They secured two of the four open spots in the field. The other two spots will be up for grabs in the Duels, with six drivers competing for them.
The overall qualifying results set the lineups for the Duel races: Drivers in odd-numbered qualifying positions will race in Duel 1; drivers in even-numbered positions will race in Duel 2.
Daytona 500 starting lineup
The first race will establish the inside row for the Daytona 500. The results will be updated below when Duel 1 is complete.
Duel 1 results
|Starting position||Driver||Car No.|
|3. (Duel winner)||Aric Almirola||10|
Duel 2 results
The second race will establish the inside row for the Daytona 500. The results will be updated below when Duel 2 is complete.
|Starting position||Driver||Car No.|
Daytona Duels 2021 live updates, highlights
(All times Eastern)
8:10 p.m.: White flag. Aric Almirola leads the field, single file, into the backstretch. Joey Logano briefly gets in front but Almirola retakes and wins by three-quarters of a car length. Christopher Bell, who also made a late move, finishes second. Ryan Newman gets up for third. Logano finishes fourth. Ryan Preece completes the top five just ahead of Ty Dillon, who fails to make the race. Timmy Hill also is eliminated. Ryan Cindric gets in under NASCAR’s Byzantine Daytona rules.
8 p.m.: With 10 laps to go, Aric Almirola leads Duel 1 and Ty Dillon (fifth) is the leading open driver.
7:55 p.m.: Alex Bowman returns to the track but is two laps down. It’s about saving the engine now.
7:50 p.m.: Green-flag stops cycle through. Austin Cindric serves a pass-through penalty for speeding on pit road. That hurts his chances of getting into the race. With 22 to go, it’s Aric Almirola, Joey Logano, Matt DiBenedetto, Ryan Newman and Ty Dillon in the top five.
7:45 p.m.: Daytona 500 polesitter Alex Bowman makes an unscheduled pit stop under green. He’s worried about the engine. His No. 1 position for the race will be in doubt if there is a major issue. Minutes later, wholesale green-flag stops begin.
7:40 p.m.: Lap 25, and it’s single file on the outside. Clean and green so far.
7:35 p.m.: We’re through the first quarter of Duel 1 (15 laps of 60), and the top three are Aric Almirola, Joey Logano and Christopher Bell. Austin Cindric is leading the open drivers needing to race into the 500. This will all have changed by the time you read this, because Daytona.
7:30 p.m.: Denny Hamlin wanted no part of a potential Big One inside the first 10 laps. The two-time defending 500 winner dropped way below the double yellow and shuffled himself to the back of the pack.
7:20 p.m.: Green flag! They’re racing on the superspeedway!
7:10 p.m.: Tyler Reddick will start Duel 1 at the rear because of unapproved adjustments. Fox Sports reported Reddick’s team changed the transmission in Reddick’s No. 8 car.
7 p.m.: NASCAR reminded drivers (with animation) that they need to keep their cars above the double yellow line on the track:
Daytona Duels 2021 start times
- Duel 1: 7 p.m. ET
- Duel 2: 8:45 p.m. ET
The lineup for Duel 1 consists mainly of the drivers who finished in odd-numbered spots in pole qualifying. That means pole sitter Alex Bowman will be on the front row for his Duel race, along with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (third in qualifying).
The lineup for Duel 2 consists mainly of the drivers who finished in even-numbered spots in pole qualifying. That means second-place qualifier William Byron will lead the field for his Duel race along with Bubba Wallace (fourth in qualifying).
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