Tha Sports Junkies 101

Race Recap: The CanAm Duel at Daytona

Can-Am Duel at Daytona 2017

NASCAR

For the first time since 1977, The CanAm Duel at Daytona not only set the field for The Daytona 500, but top 10 finishers also received points to help kick off their season. Prior to the event, it was unclear if that would change the complexion of the traditional qualifying races, which are unique to The Daytona 500 race weekend. At their conclusion however, there was no doubt. “Aggressive” was the word of the day.

Duel 1:

Brad Keselowski dominated the early stages of Duel 1, before a challenge and pass by Kyle Busch just before a caution at lap 25. That caution set the stage for strategy plays, where some teams elected to take fuel only in order to stay up front.

Kyle Busch was one of those drivers, but it didn’t work out for him.

Brad Keselowski quickly regained the lead from Busch, and was able to stay there until a big push propelled Chase Elliot to the lead. He kept that lead for the final 24 laps of the event, and claimed his first career victory in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.

He was followed across by Jamie McMurray, Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski, and Matt Kenseth.

The race only saw one major crash, by Reed Sorenson who was hoping to race his way into the field. Sorenson took a massive head-on hit into the inside wall and was able to walk away, but without a spot in Sunday’s race. Instead it is Corey LaJoie who will see race action in the 2017 Daytona 500.

Duel 2:

Duel 2 began with Dale Earnhardt Jr out front, marking his first return to competition since sitting out due to concussion last July. Showing no signs of rust, Earnhardt Jr dueled with Denny Hamlin for the first 5 laps, before taking it for himself. A competition caution at lap 25 brought out more strategy, and Ryan Blaney came out of the pits with the lead.

An incident on Lap 46 between David Ragan, Jimmie Johnson, and Blaney would cause Blaney to cut a tire and exit the race early, but not before Jimmie Johnson hit the wall in turn 3 to bring out the final caution of the night.

Dale Jr led the event through that caution, and all the way up until 2 to go, when a huge push from Austin Dillon propelled Denny Hamlin to 1st place. Hamlin held on to win, with Clint Bowyer, Kurt Busch, A.J. Allmendinger, and Austin Dillon completing the top-5. Dale Jr ended the race in 6th, followed by Danica Patrick in 7th, her 2nd top-10 of Speedweeks. Canadian driver D.J. Kennington raced his way into The Daytona 500, while Timmy Hill went home early with an engine failure.

Notes:

The Toyotas of Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch showed an ability to make moves for the lead, which has proven difficult in recent years.

Both Jamie McMurray and Kyle Larson aggressive and will likely be a major factor on Sunday.

Clint Bowyer was impressive in his debut at Stewart-Haas racing, staying toward the front throughout the night.

Both Kyle Busch and Ryan Blaney had fast cars in their respective races, but were damaged and finished toward the back.

The #78 of Martin Truex Jr, the #47 of A.J. Allmendinger, and the #37 of Chris Buescher failed post-race inspection and will start The Daytona 500 from the rear.