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Blaney and Elliott win the Duels at Daytona

Blaney starts 3rd and Elliott 4th in the Daytona 500

Ryan Blaney (L) and Chase Elliott (R) won the Can-Am Duels at Daytona International Speedway on February 18, 2018.
Ryan Blaney (L) and Chase Elliott (R) won the Can-Am Duels at Daytona International Speedway on February 18, 2018. (news4jax.com)

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Ryan Blaney and Chase Elliott won the two Can-Am Duel races Thursday night at Daytona International Speedway, securing second-row starting positions for Sunday’s 60th annual DAYTONA 500.

Blaney will start third while Elliott will roll off fourth.

Blaney was followed to the finish in the first race by his Team Penske teammate Joey Logano, the 2015 DAYTONA 500 champion.

“Our car was so fast,” Blaney said. “I thought we (Penske cars) were really able to control the whole race.”

Elliott – the son of NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott – was the DAYTONA 500 polesitter in 2016 and ’17. Thursday, he led the last 33 laps of the second Can-Am Duel race.

“We brought a lot of steam tonight,” Elliott said. “We are excited to get to Sunday. We have the big one on Sunday that is the main thing."

The Can-Am Duel, two 150-mile/60-lap races, established starting positions 3-40 for the DAYTONA 500; the first race awarded odd-number positions while the second set even-number positions. The front row was “locked in” on Feb. 11 with DAYTONA 500 Qualifying, with Alex Bowman
and Denny Hamlin qualifying 1-2. Bowman finished 14th in the first Duel race with
Hamlin finishing ninth in the second.

Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr., driving the No. 43 Click n’ Close Chevrolet fielded by Richard Petty Motorsports,finished third in the first Can-Am Duel race. That earned a seventh-place start for the DAYTONA 500 – the first time a Petty car will start “The Great American Race” in the top 10 since 2006.

Wallace is making a lot of history this Speedweeks; he’ll be the first African-American driver in the DAYTONA 500 since Wendell Scott in 1969. Scott won his only NASCAR race in Jacksonville.

Danica Patrick, racing in the DAYTONA 500 for the final time on Sunday, finished 14th in the second Duel race. She’ll start the DAYTONA 500 in 28th position.