Keselowski, Buescher Head RFK Duels Sweep

(DAYTONA BEACH, FL – FEB 17, 2022 – RIS) Brad Keselowski started his ownership in RFK (Roush-Fenway-Keselowski) in fine form by winning the first of the Bluegreen Vacations Duels by just over a quarter second ahead of fellow Ford driver Ryan Blaney.

Kyle Larson and fellow Hendrick racers William Byron and Chase Elliott led the field to the green, with Ross Chastain at the front of the outside row, leading Tyler Reddick and Daniel Suarez while the Hendrick trio ran in front of the inside row.

A bump by Suarez to Elliott let the field drop back into single-file racing, with Ryan Blaney and Brad Keselowski following Suarez.

The Chevy crowd pitted as a group with 25 laps to go, followed by the Ford contingent on the next lap. Kaz Grala, having to race. Into the 500 Sunday, was caught for speeding as he left the pits and forced to take a penalty drive-through, dropping him to last on the track and a pair of laps down.

Ryan Blaney took the lead after the Fords nearly all took only right side tires on their stops. Brad Keselowski, Chase Briscoe, Austin Cindric and Tyler Reddick followed Blaney in the top five with Reddick the sole Chevy in the lead bunch before fading back with Elliott, Erik Jones and Kyle Larson passing him. The gap between the top four racers and Elliott stayed almost five seconds until Keselowski pulled out to pass Blaney, followed by Chase Briscoe. The move let the Chevies close up by about a half second but still unable to advance.

The lead pack stormed around lapped cars approaching the checkered flag, with JJ Yeley moving up to let them by, while Kaz Grala, who also had to race into the field, used the draft to get around Yeley and race into the field. Grala won his first race at Daytona, taking the 2017 season-opening Truck race.

"This is a great way to start," said Keselowski. "We didn’t have a great Clash but that doesn't count. That isn’t official and we got us 10 points to officially start the season and a trophy. That is a good way to go."

Unofficial Results: Duel 1 - Thursday, February 17, 2022 - Daytona International Speedway

Fin, Str, Driver, Car, Laps , Tms Led, Laps Led, Points, Status
1) 9, Brad Keselowski, No. 6 Kohler Generators Ford, 60, 1, 4, 10, Running
2) 11, Austin Cindric #, No. 2 Discount Tire Ford, 60, , , 9, Running
3) 7, Ryan Blaney, No. 12 Menards/Blue DEF/PEAK Ford, 60, 1, 22, 8, Running
4) 10, Chase Briscoe, No. 14 Mahindra Tractors Ford, 60, , , 7, Running
5) 3, Chase Elliott, No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, 60, , , 6, Running
6) 12, Erik Jones, No. 43 FOCUSfactor Chevrolet, 60, , , 5, Running
7) 1, Kyle Larson, No. 5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet, 60, 1, 34, 4, Running
8) 8, Tyler Reddick, No. 8 3CHI Chevrolet, 60, , , 3, Running
9) 13, Kurt Busch, No. 45 Monster Energy Toyota, 60, , , 2, Running
10) 4, Ross Chastain, No. 1 Advent Health Chevrolet, 60, , , 1, Running
11) 5, Daniel Suarez, No. 99 Tootsies Orchid Lounge Chevrolet, 60, , , 0, Running
12) 2, William Byron Jr., No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet, 60, , , 0, Running
13) 14, Justin Haley, No. 31 LeafFilter Gutter Protection Chevrolet, 60, , , 0, Running
14) 18, Landon Cassill(i), No. 77 FOX Nation Chevrolet, 60, , , 0, Running
15) 16, Todd Gilliland #, No. 38 First Phase Credit Card Ford, 60, , , 0, Running
16) 15, Cole Custer, No. 41 HaasTooling.com Ford, 59, , , 0, Running
17) 6, Daniel Hemric(i), No. 16 Heritage Pool Supply Group Chevrolet, 59, , , 0, Running
18) 19, * Kaz Grala(i), No. 50 Pit Viper Sunglasses Chevrolet, 58, , , 0, Running
19) 21, * JJ Yeley(i), No. 55 Hex.com Ford, 58, , , 0, Running
20) 20, BJ McLeod, No. 78 NASCAR Ignition Ford, 58, , , 0, Running
21) 17, * Noah Gragson(i), No. 62 Beard Oil/South Point Chevrolet, 57, , , 0, Running
(i) Ineligible for driver points in this series, (#)  Rookie, (*) Must race into the field

Time of Race: 0 Hrs, 48 Mins, 36 Secs.
Race Length: 60 Laps - 150. Miles
Average Speed: 185.185 MPH
Margin of Victory: .264 Seconds

Comments: Brad Keselowski has won the Bluegreen Vacations Duel 1 at Daytona International Speedway, his first victory in the NASCAR Cup Series qualifying races.

Prior to the race, the following car dropped to the rear of the field under penalty for the reason indicated: No. 50 (Unaproved Adjustments). 

No Caution Flags

Lead Changes: 2 among 3 drivers; K. Larson 1-34;
R. Blaney 35-56;
B. Keselowski 57-60.

Duel 2:
Aric Almirola's outside front row start in the second of the 'Duels' ended quickly a he faded back to 19th in just five laps. Joey Logano and the outside row slowly pulled up to lead a few laps but Martin Truex gave Bowman a gentle shove and back into the lead. Then Logano retook the lead before several cars started swapping the lead with Chris Buescher and Ricky Stenhouse Jr moving into the front, with Kevin Harvick and Michael McDowell ahead of Logano in the top five at the 20-lap mark.

When the Toyota cars pitted, Denny Hamlin spun entering the pits, falling out of touch with the other Toyotas and taking on four tires. He seemed to lock the left rear and then the front tire before spinning onto the front straight turf.

As laps ran down, Logano, Buescher, McDowell and Burton headed the field in the top four Fords, followed by Kyle Busch, Christopher Bell, Martin Truex and Bubba Wallace sweeping the next four positions in Toyotas, with Ricky Stenhouse Jr the top Chevy in ninth place.

On the white flag lap, Chris Buescher moved low for a pass on Logano, who seemed to misjudge the block, got spun and the race ended under caution with Buescher just ahead of McDowell, followed by Harrison Burton, the Toyota contingent, Stenhouse, Logano and Harvick. "I just made a mistake," Logano admitted later. [I] "Thought I was still clear and I wasn't."

Greg Biffle raced into the 500 on Sunday in spite of running out of fuel and finishing a lap down.

Alex Bowman will start on the front row of the Daytona 500 for the fifth consecutive time, 

Unofficial Results: Duel 2 - Thursday, February 17, 2022 - Daytona International Speedway

Fin, Str, Driver, Car, Tms Led, Laps Led, Laps , Pts, Status
1) 14, Chris Buescher, No. 17 Fastenal Ford, 3, 17, 60, 10, Running
2) 11, Michael McDowell, No. 34 Love's Travel Stops Ford, , , 60, 9, Running
3) 5, Harrison Burton #, No. 21 Motorcraft/DEX Imaging Ford, , , 60, 8, Running
4) 9, Kyle Busch, No. 18 M&M's Toyota, , , 60, 7, Running
5) 7, Christopher Bell, No. 20 DeWalt Toyota, , , 60, 6, Running
6) 3, Martin Truex Jr., No. 19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota, , , 60, 5, Running
7) 8, Bubba Wallace, No. 23 McDonald's Toyota, , , 60, 4, Running
8) 16, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 47 Kroger/Irish Spring Chevrolet, 1, 1, 60, 3, Running
9) 6, Joey Logano, No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, 4, 33, 59, 2, Accident
10) 13, Kevin Harvick, No. 4 Busch Light #BUSCHRACETEAM Ford, , , 59, 1, Running
11) 15, Corey LaJoie, No. 7 Built.com Chevrolet, , , 59, 0, Running
12) 12, Ty Dillon, No. 42 Black Rifle Coffee Company Chevrolet, , , 59, 0, Running
13) 19, * Greg Biffle(i), No. 44 Grambling State University Chevrolet, , , 59, 0, Running
14) 1, Alex Bowman, No. 48 Ally Chevrolet, 3, 7, 59, 0, Running
15) 4, Denny Hamlin, No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota, , , 59, 0, Running
16) 17, Cody Ware, No. 51 Nurtec ODT Ford, , , 59, 0, Running
17) 20, David Ragan, No. 15 Select Blinds Ford, , , 58, 0, Running
18) 10, Austin Dillon, No. 3 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Off Road Chevrolet, 1, 2, 58, 0, Running
19) 2, Aric Almirola, No. 10 Smithfield Ford, , , 58, 0, Running
20) 21, * Timmy Hill(i), No. 66 Bumper.com Ford, , , 56, 0, Running
21) 18, * Jacques Villeneuve, No. 27 Hezeberg Engineering Systems Ford, , , 34, 0, Electrical
(i) Ineligible for driver points in this series, (#)  Rookie, (*) Must race into the field

Time of Race: 0 Hrs, 48 Mins, 24 Secs.
Race Length - 60 Laps - 150. Miles
Average Speed: 185.98 MPH
Margin of Victory: Under Caution

Comments: Chris Buescher won the Bluegreen Vacations Duel 2 at Daytona International Speedway, his first victory in the NASCAR Cup Series qualifying races.

Cautions: 1 for 1 lap;
Laps: 60-60 (No. 17, 22, 21, 34 Incident Turn 2.

Lead Changes: 11 among 5 drivers;
A. Bowman 1;
J. Logano 2;
A. Bowman 3-7;
J. Logano 8-9;
A. Bowman 10;
J. Logano 11-14;
A. Dillon 15-16;
C. Buescher 17;
R. Stenhouse Jr. 18;
C. Buescher 19-33;
J. Logano 34-59;
C. Buescher 60.

John Davison

Long-time RIS staffer, beginning in the mid-80s. Charlotte, NC area local contact.

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Volume 2022, Issue 2, Posted 10:36 PM, 02.17.2022