Reddick wins first Bluegreen Vacations Duel amid last-lap pass; Johnson rallies to make Daytona 500 field

After posting the 36th-fastest qualifying lap during Wednesday night’s single-car qualifying session for this year’s Daytona 500, Tyler Reddick responded with vengeance and in dramatic style after executing a final lap pass on Kyle Larson to storm to the victory in the first of two Bluegreen Vacations Duels at Daytona International Speedway on Thursday, Feb. 15.

The two-time NASCAR Xfinity Series champion from Corning, California, led only the final lap of 60 scheduled laps in an event where he rallied from starting towards the rear of the field to methodically carve his way to the front. After nearly getting in a wreck following a bump by Martin Truex Jr. during the event’s lone cycle of green flag pit stops with nearly 20 laps remaining, Reddick would draft his way from the top 10 toward the front during a six-lap shootout before overtaking Larson on the final lap to win his first Duel event at Daytona of his career.

In the midst of Reddick’s victory, Jimmie Johnson rallied from being involved in a late multi-car wreck to overtake JJ Yeley on the final lap and claim a transfer spot into this year’s Daytona 500.

Prior to the event, Joey Logano, the 2024 Daytona 500 pole winner, started on the pole position and was joined on the front row by Kyle Larson.

When the green flag waved and the first Duel event commenced, Logano and Larson dueled for the lead through the first two turns and through the backstretch until Larson started to muscle ahead from the outside lane with drafting help from Austin Dillon. Then through Turns 3 and 4, Larson managed to muscle ahead and clear the field as he managed to fend off Logano to lead the first lap in his No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 while Logano was locked into a side-by-side battle with Dillon amid a tight packed lane fanning out two lanes.

During the proceeding laps, Larson continued to lead as he also remained on the outside lane while receiving drafting help from Austin Dillon while Logano remained as the first competitor leading the inside lane with drafting help from Chase Elliott. The outside lane, however, would continue to gain the advantage through the straightaways as Larson, who then transitioned from the outside to the inside lane, maintained the lead while Todd Gilliland battled Dillon for the runner-up spot. In addition, Chris Buescher was in fourth while Logano was mired in fifth as he was battling Daniel Suarez, Erik Jones and Elliott, with the field battling amid two tight-packed lanes.

Through the first five scheduled laps, Erik Jones was the leader ahead of Daniel Suarez, who overtook Larson for the lead during the previous lap. With Jones and Suarez dueling for the lead amid two tight-packed lanes, Jones had Martin Truex Jr. drafting him on the outside lane while Suarez had Larson drafting him on the inside lane.

At the Lap 10 mark, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. made his way into the lead by 0.069 seconds over Jones while Truex, Corey LaJoie, Suarez, Jimmie Johnson, Larson, Ty Gibbs, Gilliland and Alex Bowman were running in the top 10. By then, Logano had fallen back to 15th while JJ Yeley, who was battling Johnson for a transfer spot into this year’s Daytona 500, was mired back in 17th. In addition, Anthony Alfredo, who guaranteed himself a starting spot for the Daytona 500 based on his qualifying speed from Wednesday night’s single-car qualifying session, dropped back to 21st place, dead last, to preserve his primary car for the main event.

Not long after, a side-by-side battle for the lead ignited between Stenhouse and LaJoie as Stenhouse had Jones’ No. 43 AdventHealth Toyota Camry XSE drafting him for the lead on the inside lane while LaJoie had drafting help from Johnson’s No. 84 Carvana Toyota Camry XSE on the inside lane. Stenhouse, however, would receive another strong shove from Jones through the backstretch to muscle away from LaJoie and clear the field to gain sole possession of the lead ahead of the pack nearing the Lap 15 mark.

A few laps later, the top three competitors led by Stenhouse and including Jones and Truex cleared the field while the rest of the field led by a side-by-side battle between Suarez and Johnson were stacked in two tight-packed lanes.

By Lap 20, Stenhouse maintained the lead ahead of Jones, Truex and Suarez while Johnson tried to ignite another run to the front from the outside lane. Meanwhile and as the field slowly started to fan out to three lanes, LaJoie, who was battling towards the front, was drifting to the back of the field after he was placed in the middle of a three-wide battle and lost the draft.

Six laps later and with the field returning to running in two tight-packed lanes, Truex gained a huge run through the backstretch to draft his way into the lead from the outside lane followed by Larson and Johnson while Stenhouse, who transitioned from the outside to inside lane to keep Erik Jones drafting him, fell back to within the top five. Two laps later, however, Stenhouse fought his way back from the inside lane as he drew Truex into a side-by-side battle exiting the frontstretch and through the backstretch.

At the halfway mark on Lap 30, Truex was drafted into the lead from Larson ahead of Stenhouse while Johnson, Jones, Ty Gibbs, Suarez, Tyler Reddick, Bowman and Chastain were battling in the top 10. By then, Johnson was in a transfer spot ahead of JJ Yeley, who was mired back in 14th, while Logano was scored in 18th behind Austin Dillon and rookie Carson Hocevar.

With 25 laps remaining, Truex was leading from the outside lane in his No. 19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota Camry XSE as he had Larson drafting him along with Johnson while Stenhouse remained on the inside as he had Jones drafting him while he continued to keep Truex within his sights. By then, Alfredo, who pitted under green, was penalized for speeding on pit road, which dropped him out of the lead lap category.

Then with 21 laps remaining, pit stops under the green flag commenced as the Toyota competitors Johnson, Reddick, Jones and Ty Gibbs pitted. Prior to the pit stops, Truex bumped and nearly sent Reddick sideways into Ty Gibbs as Reddick was trying to make the turn to pit road while Austin Dillon nearly got turned in the middle of the pack as he barely squeezed Gilliland up against the outside wall. The following lap and with the field dispersed, Austin Dillon and Stenhouse pitted under green while Larson was leading ahead of Chastain, Suarez, Bowman and Elliott.

Then with 17 laps remaining, a majority of the field, led by Larson, pitted under green as Todd Gilliland assumed the lead. During the pit stops, Chastain was penalized for speeding on pit road and was forced to make another trip to pit road to serve a pass-through penalty. Shortly after, the following names that include Gilliland, Logano, Ryan Preece and Buescher pitted under green.

Following the pit stops, Larson rocketed his way back into the lead followed by Chevrolet teammates Suarez, Elliott and Bowman while Logano, who tried to blend in front of the Chevrolet competitors, fell back to fifth. Amid the completion of pit stops, Johnson continued to run in a transfer spot within the top 10 with less than 15 laps remaining in the event.

Then with 10 laps remaining, the first Duel’s first caution flew after Daniel Hemric, who briefly stepped off the gas as the field briefly checked up in front of him while fanned out to nearly four lanes, was bumped by Stenhouse, which sent Hemric’s No. 31 Cirkul Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 sideways and head-on into the outside wall in Turn 3. Amid Hemric’s wreck, Stenhouse, Austin Dillon and Johnson made contact that sent all three spinning below the apron. Amid the incident, Hemric retired while Stenhouse, Dillon and Johnson continued, with the latter now locked in a tight battle with Yeley to claim a transfer spot for Sunday’s Daytona 500.

With the race restarting with six laps remaining, Larson and Suarez dueled for the lead ahead of Elliott and Ty Gibbs while Johnson, who pitted during the caution period, was trying to regain speed to keep pace with Yeley towards the rear of the field. As the field continued to jostle and battle amid two stacked lanes from the backstretch and through the frontstretch, Larson and Suarez remained dead even for the lead followed by Ty Gibbs, Elliott, Hocevar and Logano as the event reached its final five-lap mark remaining.

As the laps continued to dwindle, Larson and Suarez remained dead even of one another for the race lead ahead of the pack while Johnson was trying to keep pace and remain ahead of Yeley towards the rear of the field, but with a starting spot for the Daytona 500 up for grabs.

When the white flag waved and the final lap started, Larson was scored the lead as he started to muscle ahead of teammate Elliott, Suarez and the field through the frontstretch. Entering Turns 1 and 2, Elliott transitioned from the outside to the inside lane as he was drafted into a brief lead by Hocevar before Larson fought back with drafting help from Reddick. Then through the backstretch, Reddick seized an opportunity by veering to the left and making his move beneath Larson for the lead, which he executed as Larson got loose off the front nose of teammate Bowman and lost the draft.

With Larson losing ground as the field fanned out entering the frontstretch, Reddick was able to muscle his No. 45 Nasty Beast Toyota Camry XSE away from the field and beat a hard-charging Elliott by 0.056 seconds to win the first Duel event.

With the victory, Reddick, whose previous best Duel result was eighth, was awarded a handful of championship points and the third-place starting spot for this year’s 66th running of the Daytona 500 that is set to occur this upcoming Sunday, February 18. Reddick also became the first Toyota competitor to win a Daytona Duel event since his owner Denny Hamlin made the last accomplishment in 2017 as he also recorded the first Duel victory for 23XI Racing. The 2024 Cup Series season is set to mark Reddick’s fifth full-time campaign in NASCAR’s premier series and sixth consecutive attempt to win his first Great American Race.

Photo by Patrick Sue-Chan for

“It’s a great way to start off the weekend,” Reddick said on FS1. “Man, this [car] is a beast. It’s a great way to kick off a brand-new product. Go out and get some Hard Tea, have a good time tonight. I know we are.”

Chase Elliott settled in second place followed by teammate Bowman, Hocevar and Erik Jones while Suarez, Logano, Ty Gibbs, Larson and Chris Buescher finished in the top 10 on the track.

Meanwhile, Jimmie Johnson was also left smiling after rallying from his late incident to race his way into the Daytona 500 after overtaking JJ Yeley entering the frontstretch and crossing the finish line in 12th place while Yeley ended up in 16th place, which left him and NY Racing out of this year’s Daytona 500 field.

With his accomplishment, Johnson will make his 21st career start in the Great American Race at Daytona, his second in a row as a driver/co-owner of Legacy Motor Club and his first piloting a Toyota Camry XSE stock car. He will also pursue a third Daytona 500 victory.

Photo by Patrick Sue-Chan for

“I’ve never been in a position like this before and I have such a greater appreciation for everyone before me that’s tried to race their way in,” Johnson said. “It’s very stressful. I’m very thankful we got this Carvana Toyota into the race. I knew the first half of the race was going too easy. I knew there’d be a challenge thrown at us and we got it just in time. Hats off to JJ Yeley. He put up a heck of a fight in a very competitive car. We were just in the right spot at the right time when the checkered [flag] fell.”

There were 15 lead changes for nine different leaders. The event featured one caution for four laps.


1. Tyler Reddick, one lap led

2. Chase Elliott

3. Alex Bowman

4. Carson Hocevar

5. Erik Jones, five laps led

6. Daniel Suarez, two laps led

7. Joey Logano, one lap led

8. Ty Gibbs

9. Kyle Larson, 20 laps led

10. Chris Buescher

11. Ross Chastain

12. Jimmie Johnson

13. Ryan Preece

14. Martin Truex Jr., 14 laps led

15. Corey LaJoie

16. JJ Yeley

17. Todd Gilliland, one lap led

18. Austin Dillon

19. Anthony Alfredo, one lap down

20. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – OUT, DVP, 15 laps led

21. Daniel Hemric – OUT, Accident

The second Bluegreen Vacations Duel at Daytona International Speedway is underway and will complete the starting lineup for the 66th running of the Daytona 500 scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 18, at 2:30 p.m. ET on FOX.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of


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