DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The second Bluegreen Vacations Duel came down to the wire, but it was William Byron who wound up victorious at Daytona International Speedway.
Byron took control with two laps to go, as he passed Kevin Harvick on the high side to take the lead.
Coming down to the finish, Byron was able to hold off Harvick, Kurt Busch, and his own teammate, Jimmie Johnson, to take his first career Daytona Duel victory.
Not an official points-awarding race winner yet in the NASCAR Cup Series, Byron still sees his duel victory as a huge gain moving forward.
“I think we’re going to use this momentum as it should be,” Byron said. “I feel like we didn’t luck into this, we’ve built coming over the past year, working with Chad (Knaus), he’s allowed me to grow up a lot, and I think he’s held me accountable for a lot of things that are really good.”
Harvick led on the backstretch, but Byron had a head of steam with Johnson and Busch in tow. A block just wasn’t worth the risk for Harvick.
“When they are coming that fast, it is putting a lot of risk out there to block,” Harvick said. “We have seen how that works out.
“We were able to get onto pit road and had a great pit stop, and put ourselves in position to have a chance there. Matt D (DiBenedetto) was a heck of a pusher. It was kind of two against the rest of those Chevrolets and we held our own tonight.”
Last Sunday, Brendan Gaughan locked himself into the field with the second fastest lap by an open team, which left the door open for either Timmy Hill or J.J. Yeley to take the final spot in the upcoming Daytona 500.
With just under 20 laps to go, Yeley hit the wall after contact with Corey Lajoie, and that ended Yeley’s chances of advancing.
With Gaughan staying out of the mix to save his car from calamity, Hill took the top honors of the open cars, and advanced to the big race on Sunday.
“I’m really proud about the car that the team prepared for this race,” Hill said. “They’ve brought me a beautiful race car, they invested a lot of money into renting a Roush Yates motor, I had great power all night long.”
Gaughan and Hill join Justin Haley and Reed Sorenson in advancing to Sunday’s main event.
The line up now set for the 62nd running of the Daytona 500, the Great American Race will kick off on FOX on Sunday, February 16th, 2020 at 2:30 pm ET.
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