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Dale Earnhardt Jr, Kyle Busch Win Respective Can-Am Duel Races

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Dale Earnhardt Jr. held off a last-lap charge by defending Daytona 500 winner Joey Logano to win the first of two Can-Am Duel races Thursday night at Daytona International Speedway.

Earnhardt led 43 of the race’s 60 laps, repeating his winning performance in last year’s first Duel in the same exact car that he won last year’s race in, as well. Logano finished second. Rookie Ryan Blaney overcame two pit stops to fix a mechanical issue to rally for a third-place finish. Kevin Harvick rallied from last to finish fourth, followed by Sprint Unlimited winner Denny Hamlin, who led 13 laps, in fifth.

Daytona 500 pole sitter Chase Elliott had a good race, while Michael McDowell raced his way into Sunday’s race as Josh Wise and Cole Whitt both fell short of making the 500.

The second Can-Am Duel qualifying race was uneventful until Kyle Busch won under caution thanks to a last-lap crash involving Matt Kenseth, the outside pole-sitter for the Daytona 500. Jamie McMurray, Kurt Busch, Carl Edwards and Ty Dillon rounded out the top five.

The 60-lap race went caution free until a crash in Turn 2 started when Jimmie Johnson got loose while attempting to pass Jamie McMurray. The No. 48 then hit Martin Truex Jr. The crash then collected AJ Allmendinger and Danica Patrick spun into the grass while trying to avoid it.

Robert Richardson Jr. raced his way into the Daytona 500 via qualifying speed with an 18th-place finish after teammate Matt DiBenedetto raced his way in and didn’t need the safety net. The BK Racing driver will start 40th.

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