DAYTONA BEACH, Fla – After a ho-hum Clash at Daytona last Sunday, everyone wondered what would happen with the Duels and Daytona 500. Well, we all thought the Duels would be lacking in adrenaline, not just because of this new restrictor plate package, which oh by the way, I really do like, but also because there were 40 drivers in the field going for 40 spots. No one was going home.
With bad handling cars and no one going home, why risk wrecking your Daytona 500 car? With qualifying and the Can Am Duels being inpounded inbetween, you couldn’t alter your setups. Alex Bowman qualified on the pole, but he decided to go for speed last weekend and not to win the Duels.
He immediately went to the back from the pole on Thursday night and finished 14th. That was by design too. They didn’t have the setup to compete and wanted to stay out of carnage. Why risk wrecking and losing your top starting spot?
He didn’t and finished in the back.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. on the other hand did the exact opposite. He started towards the back in his duel and finished fourth. That’s because they went for race pace, not qualifying pace in his qualifying run.
Everyone else, had similar stories. The underfunded teams, they couldn’t risk crashing. Danica Patrick doesn’t even have a backup car. She just tried to get by.
That’s why you saw a lot of single file action all night. While there was some racing, and even crashes, it wasn’t due to a whole lot of intense racing.
Joey Logano led 56 laps in the first duel. In fact, from Lap 13 to 57, he led them all. In the second duel Chase Elliott took over the lead on Lap 27 and led the final 34 laps en route to a win.
This was expected though.
Well we still don’t know what to expect. I do think we will see some single file racing, because these cars are going to be hard to handle. But, I do think we see some insane intense action too because these drivers want to race and win the year’s biggest event. That could in turn cause carnage too.