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Austin Dillon wins Duel #2 in a close finish

Duel 2 at Daytona. Credits: NASCAR, Getty Images.

The no.3 car returns to the victory lane at Daytona.

Austin Dillon was able to bring the no.3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet to victory lane Thursday night. The second Bluegreen Vacations Duel was pushed back a couple of hours due to rain. A late start did not stop the action as 22 drivers raced into the next morning, bringing tight, side by side racing through the high banks of Daytona. Dillon, had one of the fastest cars all night. The iconic no.3 was upfront leading laps the entire race and was able to hold off an aggressive Bubba Wallace as they came to the finish line.

We saw our first caution of the night in the second duel, as there were none in the first race. Kaz Grala, Anthony Alfredo, Chase Briscoe, Garrett Smithley, and BJ McLeod were involved in the incident on lap 34. This caution included some names that couldn’t afford a wreck, as they were racing to get into the Daytona 500. Only one car that could not continue the race due to damage was the no.38 of Anthony Alfredo. The other four drivers were able to get back onto the track after making repairs. This caution allowed teams to make pit stops, to finish the race.

On lap 57, chaos continued with only 3 laps to go. Garrett Smithley made contact with Brad Keselowski and collected Noah Gragson, William Byron, and Ross Chastain with them. This crash ended Gragson’s and Smithley’s Daytona 500 hopes as they were racing to make the Daytona 500. William Byron showed great speed in qualifying, as he posted a time that put him on the front row for the 500. Byron had too much damage which meant the no.24 team will have to forfeit their front-row starting position and bring out the backup car which will force them to start at the rear of the field on Sunday.

As he was involved in the first wreck, Kaz Grala was able to qualify for the Daytona 500 as he finished higher than all the other competitors who needed to make the 500. David Ragan posted a fast time in qualifying the night prior so he was locked in due to the initial speed. This will be Kaulig Racing’s second time entering the Daytona 500 as they entered in 2020.

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