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What’s the Total Damage of the Daytona Duels?

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Joshua Lipowski

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What’s Happening?

The Duels at Daytona featured two major crashes that forced 5 drivers to back-up cars for the Daytona 500 on Sunday. Today, we break down all of the damage from the Daytona Duel races.

  • We will take a look at each Duel crash and which teams will have backup cars as a result. The penalty for teams going to a backup car is being sent to the back of the grid.
  • We will also look at how this affects the grid for the Daytona 500. These drivers’ spots will change, and so will the entire starting grid.
  • Fans are always upset when their favorite driver has to head to the back thanks to a backup car. However, it is often a part of speedweeks at Daytona.

Duel 1

A stack-up late in Duel 2 caused a crash involving Jimmie Johnson, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Daniel Hemric, and Austin Dillon. Both Johnson and Dillon finished the race while Stenhouse Jr. and Hemric both did not.

Kaulig Racing announced that night that Daniel Hemric would move to a backup. Dillon, Stenhouse Jr., and Johnson would all repair their primaries for the race and retain their starting positions.

Duel 2

Duel 2 had by far the more violent accident. According to Racing Reference, 12 cars were involved including Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch, Noah Gragson, Ryan Blaney, Chase Briscoe, Riley Herbst, Harrison Burton, Bubba Wallace, William Byron, Justin Haley, and B.J. McLeod. Blaney, Busch, Herbst, and Gragson all failed to finish the race as a result.

Backup cars were pulled out after the race on Thursday night for Gragson, Blaney, Byron, and Busch. The rest of the cars will be repaired for Sunday. NASCAR actually moved up the garage opening on Friday afternoon from 12:30 PM to 9:00 AM to ensure that these teams can get practice time.

How It Affects The Starting Order

Since these drivers all finished near the back of their respective Duel races, the starting lineup is not affected that much near the front of the field. However, the second half of the field is jumbled up a bit.

Byron, who was supposed to start 18th, will now start 34th in the Daytona 500. Everyone on the outside row from rows 10-15 (Positions 20-30) will all move up a row, therefore, two starting positions. The benefactors are Chase Briscoe (20th to 18th), Justin Haley (22nd to 20th), Bubba Wallace (24th to 22nd), Kaz Grala (26th to 24th), A.J. Allmendinger (28th to 26th), and Josh Berry (30th to 28th).

Ryan Blaney and Kyle Busch qualified 32nd and 34th for the race, and they will now start in 36th and 38th respectively in the Daytona 500. Riley Herbst will move up three rows as a result of Byron, Busch, and Blaney falling to the back. Instead of starting 36th, Herbst will now start 30th.

Daniel Hemric (37th) and Noah Gragson (38th) both qualified in Row 19. This means that they will now make up row 20 and start 39th and 40th respectively. Anthony Alfredo will move up one row to take Daniel Hemric’s spot in row 19, 37th, because Hemric is the only driver with a backup car who qualified on the inside row.

The biggest benefactor of all will be the original 40th-place starter David Regan. He will move up a full 4 rows from Row 20 to Row 16, and he will start 32nd on Sunday.

The damage has been done during the Duels, and the Daytona 500 is sure to bring more carnage. Which of these drivers will end up actually on track at the finish on Sunday?

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Picture of Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

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