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Daytona Beach, FL, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin speaks to the media during Daytona 500 media day at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Can-Am Duel Races Determine Lineup for Daytona 500

It’s opening week for Nascar and things have already gotten off to a solid start. With the Daytona 500 only a couple days away, a little preview took place last night.  It was the Can-Am Duel, a Monster Energy Cup Series, which is the preliminary race to the Daytona 500. Although this doesn’t count towards the actual Daytona 500, the two 150-mile races are qualifiers for a few of the drivers. Yet, the one thing that it does count towards for the big race is the race order.

Duel Race One

Can-Am Duel Race One consisted of the projected winner of the Daytona 500, Chase Elliott. Elliott backed up that projection with a win on Thursday night after keeping in front of Jamie McMurray and Kevin Harvick. Elliott says that he’s really excited for Sunday and that his team really worked hard to earn the win. Although Elliott already maintained a starting position for Sunday’s race, he did earn 10 points. Duels are now worth points on a 10-1 scale depending on how the drivers finish.

The top 10 finishers of Race One’s duel were:

1. Chase Elliott
2. Jamie McMurray
3. Kevin Harvick
4. Brad Keselowski
5. Matt Kenseth
6. Trevor Bayne
7. Martin Truex Jr.
8. Aric Almirola
9. Joey Logano
10. Cole Whitt

Duel Race Two

The Second Can-Am Duel Race had a familiar face finishing the race first. It was last year’s Daytona 500 winner, Denny Hamlin. He made a late race appearance passing Dale Earnhardt Jr. with two laps to go and never slowed down. Because Earnhardt Jr. and Elliott already had their first and second spots for Sunday’s Daytona 500 secured, Hamlin will start in position four heading into the big race.

Hendrick MotorSports would have taken the complete sweep had Earnhardt Jr. won, but Hamlin helped to put Joe Gibbs Racing’s on the charts. Hamlin caught up to Earnhardt Jr. in the final laps and Earnhardt Jr. was not able to block Hamlin in. Hamlin then had a clear path to win and he took advantage of it.

The top 10 finishers of Race Two were:

1. Denny Hamlin
2. Clint Bowyer
3. Kurt Busch
4. AJ Allmendinger
5. Austin Dillon
6. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
7. Danica Patrick
8. Ryan Newman
9. Kyle Larson
10. Ty Dillon

Who made the cut for Daytona 500?

There are 40 spots in the Daytona 500 and 36 of them were filled. The Can-Am Duel helped to confirm the last four spots. Corey LaJoie secured a spot in the Daytona 500 with the highest finished by a non-chartered team in Duel number One. D.J. Kennington received the last spot in the Daytona 500 with the highest finish by a non-chartered team in in Duel number Two.  He will be joined by Elliott Sadler and Brendan Gaughan who qualified for the race during pole qualifying on February 19th.

Be sure to tune in at  the Daytona International Speedway on Sunday at 2 p.m. to catch the Daytona 500.

About Troy Porter

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