Austin Dillon Claims Duel 2 Win at Daytona

After several hours under rain delay following Duel 1, Duel 2 was underway to set the even-numbered starting positions for the Daytona 500. Alex Bowman and William Byron claimed their front row starting spots during Wednesday’s qualifying session. Additionally, Aric Almirola won Duel 1 to grab the third-place starting position for Sunday’s race. This left one open slot in the first two rows, and it was Austin Dillon that managed to win Duel 2 to gain this sought-after fourth place starting position. 

Prior to the wave of the checkered flag, there was a 60-lap race ahead of the drivers. Within the first half of the race, William Byron, Kevin Harvick, and Bubba Wallace all led laps. 

The race remained drama-free until 25 to go. The yellow flag came out for an incident involving Chase Briscoe, Garrett Smithley, Anthony Alfredo, and Kaz Grala. The root of the accident began when Briscoe spun as he was trying to get down to pit road. 

Another caution came with only four laps to go. This time the accident was caused by Smithley, who clipped Brad Keselowski. William Byron, Ross Chastain, and Noah Gragson all sustained major damage. This event undermined Gragson’s chance to make the Daytona 500. Additionally, Byron may have to resort to a backup car, which would cause him to forfeit his front row starting position. This accident allowed Grala to advance due to his finish, and David Ragan advanced to the Daytona 500 based on his qualifying time. 

With a two-lap shootout to the finish, it all came down to Bubba Wallace and Austin Dillon. Ultimately, it was Dillon that bested Wallace by a meager 0.057 seconds. 

“I knew Bubba was gonna block it, but I just whipped the wheel, and it worked out well,” Dillon said of the battle.

Now that the starting lineup has been set, make sure to tune into FOX this Sunday at 2:30 PM ET to watch the thrilling season opener at Daytona International Speedway. 

Kaylee Hiner