Daytona, FL – Chase Elliott in the No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet led the final 34 laps of the Can-AM Duel 2 at Daytona International Speedway as he captured the victory. It marks the 2nd Duel win for Chase in 3 total appearances, and the 6th overall Duel wins for the Elliott family.
Here’s how it all went down at the World Center of Racing.
Denny Hamlin in the No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota started at the front of the pack in Can-AM Duel 2 at Daytona with Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch in the No. 18 M&M’s Toyota in 2nd. Things stayed pretty calm on the track for the first ten laps.
Then on lap 11, Elliott got into the left rear quarter panel of Erik Jones in the No. 20 DeWalt Chevrolet, sending Jones into the wall. While spinning, Jones car clipped the No. 42 Credit One Bank Chevrolet of Kyle Larson who then collected the No. 32 The Hurricane Heist Ford of Matthew DiBenedetto. This would be the end of the day for Larson and DiBenedetto.
During the yellow, Elliott was served a penalty and had to start at the back of the field. After being served that penalty, his team elected to come down pit road for fresh tire’s since they were already starting from the back. A decision that would paid off.
After yellow flag stops, Kevin Harvick in the No. 4 Jimmy Johns Ford was scored as the leader. Harvick would maintain the lead until lap 22 when Hamlin overtook the lead with the pack running double file across the start-finish line. Harvick remained hot on his tail. Three laps later it was Chase Elliott joining the party. The three battled hard, with Hamlin trying to maintain the lead. After Elliot made it past Harvick, he would make the pass for the lead on lap 26.
“First off, a really fast car, first and foremost. Secondly, I think just a big push by Kevin at the right time. It was timely, just the way it kind of worked out, was able to get by Denny before the lane got completely single file. Then I was able to kind of halfway control the top and how it continued to run. I was hoping that those guys would give each other a hard time there towards the end, would hopefully take some pressure off me.” described Elliott.
As we reached 15 laps to go, it was still Elliott out in the front of the pack with Hamlin in 2nd and Harvick in 3rd. As the final laps wound down, Elliot would have his hand’s full trying to hold off the pack.
With two laps to go, Harvick in the No. 4 looked to make a final run, passing the No. 11 for 2nd and got a good run but was unable to get in front of Elliott in his final atempt.
“I think the race in general was good for us.” said Harvick of the 2nd place finish. “I knew I was going to have to make two moves in order to win the race. It kind of depended on how everything formed back up after I got Denny. The 14 and 21 got side-by-side back there, weren’t able to form up enough energy to push up beside the 9.
“Made one, and the second one didn’t quite get to finish it off. Still a good day.”
In the end, Elliott was able to hold off the field and earn a 4th place start in the 60th Annual Daytona 500 on Sunday. It marked back to back Duel wins for Elliott, but he wants the Harley J. Earl Trophy.
“Fun night, for sure. Fast car. Did it last year, so the big trophy is the one we want.”
As Elliott makes his 3rd career start in the Daytona 500 on Sunday , he will look to win the 9th Daytona 500 for Hendrick Motorsports, who last won the 500 back in 2014 when Dale Earnhardt Jr. took the checkered flag.