William Bryon wins Duel 2 at Daytona in dramatic fashion

William Byron got the very first win of his Cup Series career Thursday night and while it was just an exhibition race, the victory was still a huge statement heading into The Daytona 500. Byron ended up winning the Duel 2 race after making a gutsy move to the outside lane on Lap 57, which allowed him to hook up with Jimmie Johnson and take the lead from Kevin Harvick.

“Yeah, 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 something over the last year working with Chad. He’s allowed me to grow up a lot. I think he’s held me accountable for a lot of things that are really good.”

“I just feel comfortable walking into the shop,” he continued. “I think that took me really till this year, this off-season, to walk in and just feel like a racecar driver and comfortable. That’s a lot of credit to him and Tyler, Brandon, all the guys on the team.”

Jimmie Johnson came home in second place after pushing his teammate out front, Kyle Larson worked his way to third, Harvick shuffled back to fourth and rookie Cole Custer rounded out the top-five. Other notable finishers include Matt DiBenedetto, who finished seventh, Ross Chastain in ninth and Tyler Reddick, who came home 10th.

While Bryon’s win was impressive, especially considering the questions that were hanging over The Chevrolet camp, it was also very surprising. The reason for this is that if Chevrolet didn’t get a lucky caution on Lap 43 when JJ Yeley hit the wall, they would have most likely remained five or six seconds behind the Toyota and Ford camps due to pit stops.

The Chevrolets pitted on Lap 24, which was a full 10 laps before The Toyota and Ford cars came in to get serviced. This gave Toyota and Ford a huge advantage with track position and left little chance of the Chevrolets catching up. This was ultimately remedied by the JJ Yeley incident and bunched the field back up for one last shootout.

Due to Yeley’s incident on Lap 43, he did not qualify for The Daytona 500, which opened the door for Timmy Hill to make The Great American race. Hill joins Reed Sorenson who qualified for the field in the first duel race of the evening and beat out Daniel Saurez and Chad Finchum to do so.

Coverage for The Daytona 500 will take place Sunday at 1 p.m. on FOX. Prerace festivities including predictions, driver introductions and more can be seen at 11 a.m.

Starting Lineup for the Daytona 500:

Starting Lineup for the Daytona 500:

1 47 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
2 88 Alex Bowman
3 22 Joey Logano
4 24 William Byron
5 10 Aric Almirola
6 48 Jimmie Johnson
7 6 Ryan Newman
8 42 Kyle Larson
9 2 Brad Keselowski
10 4 Kevin Harvick
11 43 Bubba Wallace
12 41 Cole Custer #
13 3 Austin Dillon
14 20 Erik Jones
15 19 Martin Truex Jr.
16 21 Matt DiBenedetto
17 95 Christopher Bell #
18 1 Kurt Busch
19 17 Chris Buescher
20 77 Ross Chastain(i)
21 11 Denny Hamlin
22 8 Tyler Reddick #
23 38 John Hunter Nemechek #
24 13 Ty Dillon
25 9 Chase Elliott
26 34 Michael McDowell
27 12 Ryan Blaney
28 18 Kyle Busch
29 14 Clint Bowyer
30 36 David Ragan
31 37 Ryan Preece
32 66 Timmy Hill(i)
33 16 Justin Haley(i)
34 15 Brennan Poole #
35 0 Quin Houff #
36 32 Corey LaJoie
37 51 Joey Gase(i)
38 52 BJ McLeod(i)
39 62 Brendan Gaughan(i)
40 27 Reed Sorenson

Did not qualify: Chad Finchum (No. 49) JJ Yeley (No. 54) Daniel Suarez (No. 96)

To the rear: Blaney No. 12 (backup car), LaJoie No. 32 (backup car)

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.  As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases for some links and banners that are being displayed on SpeedwayMedia.com.


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