Blaney/Elliott Wins Thursday Night’s Can-Am Duels

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla – Everyone wondered what to expect out of Thursday night’s Can Am Duels in Daytona. After last Sunday’s ho-hum Clash, most were worried that Thursday night’s twin races on the high banked Daytona International Speedway would be even worse. If passing was that hard, why would anyone make any extra effort to do so with everyone making the show for Sunday’s 60th annual Daytona 500 (2:30 p.m. ET/FOX/MRN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)?

While the 2018 Duels weren’t anything like they could have been, they also weren’t entirely boring either. 

In the first duel, Ryan Blaney earned his first Speedweeks victory of his young career by besting his Team Penske teammate Joey Logano for the win. Blaney, led just six laps in the first race, but they were the most important ones, the last six.

When the final caution came out on Lap 57 for an incident on the backstretch between Brad Keselowski and Jamie McMurray, Blaney was scored the leader ahead of Logano. He’d lead the field to the green for the only overtime of the duel and used a last lap push from friend Bubba Wallace en route to the victory in his No. 12 Ford.

Logano, brought his No. 22 Ford home second for the second time of Speedweeks. He came home runner-up to Keselowski on Sunday and was again on Thursday, this time to his other teammate.

He led a race-high 56 of the 63 laps as this race was an all Penske show just like last Sunday’s was.

Wallace, finished third in his No. 43 Chevrolet, while Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Kurt Busch rounded out the top five.

Daytona 500 polesitter Alex Bowman kept it conservative in the race and immediately dropped to the back upon the drop of the green flag. He’d keep his car in one piece and finish 14th as a result. His other Hendrick teammates weren’t as fortunate.

Jimmie Johnson said he ran over something in the banking between Turns 3 and 4 and a tire cut down on his No. 48 Chevrolet as a result. He’d collect Daniel Suarez and Aric Almirola in the Lap 8 incident. Johnson and Almirola would be relegated to their backup cars for Sunday’s race. That in turn means they will start in the back next weekend too in Atlanta.

On Lap 38, William Byron was involved in an accident as well. He had his air taken away from him by Stenhouse Jr.

The only other crash occurred on Lap 47 with David Gilliland. He blamed Stenhouse for that crash too.

The second duel was much calmer than the first, with only just one caution. That flew when Chase Elliott got Erik Jones loose exiting Turn 2 and sending Jones’ No. 20 Toyota spinning in front of the pack on the backstretch on Lap 12. Unfortunately, Kyle Larson and Matt DiBenedetto were caught up behind that spin in a crash of their own and would have to go to backup cars as a result.

Elliott meanwhile, stayed in the hunt as he took over the lead for the first time on Lap 27. He’d never look back and lead the final 34 laps en route to his second straight Can Am Duel victory. He won the first duel last year too.

Elliott, bested Kevin Harvick for his third career Daytona win.

Harvick, would bring his No. 4 Ford home second and start sixth in the Daytona 500. Jones, would rebound to finish third in his No. 20 Toyota, while Clint Bowyer and Kyle Busch rounded out the top five.

The race had just that one lone caution.

Can Am Duels No. 1 Results

  1. 12 Blaney
  2. 22 Logano
  3. 43 Wallace Jr.
  4. 17 Stenhouse Jr.
  5. 41 Busch
  6. 31 Newman
  7. 38 Ragan
  8. 19 Suarez
  9.  1 McMurray
  10. 37 Buescher
  11. 13 Dillon
  12. 62 Gaughan
  13. 00 Earnhardt
  14. 88 Bowman
  15. 51 Marks
  16.  2 Keselowski OUT
  17. 92 Gilliland OUT
  18. 24 Byron OUT
  19. 48 Johnson OUT
  20. 10 Almirola OUT

Can Am Duels No. 2 Results

  1.  9 Elliott
  2.  4 Harvick
  3. 20 Jones
  4. 14 Bowyer
  5. 18 Busch
  6.  3 Dillon
  7. 21 Menard
  8.  6 Bayne
  9. 11 Hamlin
  10. 47 Allmendinger
  11. 34 McDowell
  12. 78 Truex Jr.
  13. 95 Kahne
  14.  7 Patrick
  15. 96 Kennington
  16. 72 LaJoie
  17. 23 Gaulding
  18. 66 Thompson
  19. 32 DiBenedetto
  20. 42 Larson

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