NASCAR wraps up its qualification process for the Daytona 500 Thursday night with the annual duel races at Daytona International Speedway. The twin 150 mile races will not only establish the starting positions for the February 14 race, but will also determine the final two drivers to make the 40-car field.
Qualifying phase 1 took place on Wednesday evening with pole qualifying. Hendrick Motorsports team-mates Alex Bowman and William Byron set the two fastest times in the qualifying lap to take pole and second place respectively in the race.
Two other drivers – Ryan Preece and David Ragan – were admitted to the race with their qualifying heats. They got two of the four open spots on the field. The other two places will be up for grabs in the Duels, with six drivers competing for them.
The overall qualifying results define the rosters for the duel races: the drivers in the odd qualifying position will compete in duel 1; the pilots in even positions will race in Duel 2.
Daytona 500 starting line-up
The first race will establish the inside line for the Daytona 500. Results will be updated below when Duel 1 is completed.
Duel 1 results
|Starting position||Driver||Car number|
|3. (Winner of the duel)||Aric almirola||ten|
Duel 2 results
Race 2 will establish the inside line for the Daytona 500. Results will be updated below when Duel 2 is complete.
|Starting position||Driver||Car number|
Daytona Duels 2021 live updates, highlights
(All Eastern hours)
8:10 p.m .: White flag. Aric Almirola leads the field, single line, in the backstretch. Joey Logano briefly takes the lead but Almirola takes over and wins by three quarters of a car length. Christopher Bell, who also made a late move, finished second. Ryan Newman takes third place. Logano finished fourth. Ryan Preece completed the top five just ahead of Ty Dillon, who failed to make the race. Timmy Hill is also eliminated. Ryan Cindric enters NASCAR’s Byzantine Daytona rulers.
8 p.m .: With 10 laps to go, Aric Almirola leads Duel 1 and Ty Dillon (fifth) is the first open driver.
7:55 p.m .: Alex Bowman returns to the track but is two laps away. It’s about saving the engine now.
7:50 p.m .: The green flag stops. Austin Cindric is serving a pass-through penalty for speeding on the pit lane. This affects his chances of entering the race. At 22, it’s Aric Almirola, Joey Logano, Matt DiBenedetto, Ryan Newman and Ty Dillon in the top 5.
7:45 p.m .: Daytona 500 poleman Alex Bowman makes an unscheduled pit stop under the green. He’s worried about the engine. His position as No. 1 for the race will be questioned in the event of a major problem. A few minutes later, the big green flag stops begin.
7:40 p.m .: Round 25, and it’s a single file outside. Clean and green so far.
7:35 p.m .: We are in the first quarter of Duel 1 (15 laps out of 60), and the first three are Aric Almirola, Joey Logano and Christopher Bell. Austin Cindric leads the open riders who have to race in the 500. That will all have changed by the time you read this, because Daytona.
7:30 p.m .: Denny Hamlin didn’t want to be part of a potential Big One in the first 10 rounds. The reigning double 500m winner fell well below double yellow and found himself at the back of the field.
7.20 p.m .: Green flag! They are running on the superspeedway!
7:10 p.m .: Tyler Reddick will start Duel 1 from the back due to unapproved adjustments. Fox Sports reported that the Reddick team changed the transmission on Reddick’s No.8 car.
19h00: NASCAR reminded drivers (animatedly) 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 training for Duel 1 consists mainly of drivers who finished odd places on qualifying pole. This means that pole-sitter Alex Bowman will be on the front row for his duel race, with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (third in qualifying).
The training for Duel 2 consists mainly of drivers who finished in even places on qualifying pole. This means that William Byron, who qualified for second place, will lead the peloton in his duel race alongside Bubba Wallace (fourth in qualifying).