Daytona 500 Duels results: Christopher Bell, Tyler Reddick win qualifying races; Jimmie Johnson makes field

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Tyler Reddick and Christopher Bell won the two Bluegreen Vacations Duel races Thursday, with both making daring last-lap passes in their respective races to earn the third and fourth starting spots in Sunday's Daytona 500. As Reddick and Bell both drove to Victory Lane, Jimmie Johnson and Kaz Grala earned the final two available spots in "The Great American Race," narrowly qualifying thanks to races for the transfer spot that weren't decided until coming into the tri-oval to the checkered flag.

The complexion of Sunday's Daytona 500 was altered enormously through the Duels, particularly through a major multi-car accident in Duel 2 that destroyed the primary cars of Ryan Blaney and Kyle Busch while also collecting other contenders. Their troubles paled in comparison to J.J. Yeley and B.J. McLeod, both of whom failed to qualify for the Daytona 500 in heartbreaking fashion.

The Duels set quite the tone for the 500, offering a potential preview of the most important lap of all: Both Reddick and Bell led only the last lap in winning their Duel.

Reddick's winning move came toward the end of the backstretch on the final lap, as he cut to the inside of Kyle Larson and then held off a run by Chase Elliott off Turn 4 to get back to the finish line first. As that took place, Jimmie Johnson -- whose Daytona 500 bid was jeopardized when he was collected in a four-car crash late in Duel 1 -- prevailed in his battle with Yeley to be the highest-finishing Open car.

In the final corner, Yeley responded to a checkup by Ross Chastain by cutting to the outside, leaving himself without drafting help and leaving the inside open for Johnson to go through. Johnson beat Yeley to the line to secure his Daytona 500 spot, avoiding a disaster scenario that would have seen him fail to qualify for the first time in his Hall of Fame career.

"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 told Fox Sports. "... It's very stressful. Very thankful that we got this Carvana Toyota in the race. I knew the first half of the race was going too easy. I knew there would be a challenge thrown at us, and we got it just in time.

"Hats off to J.J. Yeley. He put up a heck of a fight, had a very competitive car. And we were just in the right spot at the right time when the checkered fell."

While Johnson's late-race spin significantly heightened the urgency at the end of Duel 1, the turning point of Duel 2 was far more brutal. A massive crash broke out in the tri-oval with 13 laps to go, which began when William Byron got turned sideways and into Ryan Blaney, sending the defending Cup Series champion hard into the wall and triggering a crash that collected 11 of the 21 cars in the race -- one of whom, B.J. McLeod, was in position to qualify for the Daytona 500 as an Open car.

After yet another hard impact in a crash at Daytona -- he had a vicious head-on hit in a similar accident last August -- Blaney voiced his frustrations after emerging from the infield care center.

"It looks like a terrible push, yet again, gets me right-reared into the wall," Blaney told Fox Sports. "I don't know who it was, who it stems from ... Shitty pushes by people three times in a row in Daytona, and got a wrecked racecar. I'm getting pretty sick of getting right-reared by someone's awful push.

"It's unfortunate we've got to build a whole new 500 car. But we had a fast Menards/Peak Ford Mustang tonight. Shame it's ruined by someone else."

McLeod was able to recover from the accident to stay in the lead pack, but the ensuing caution allowed Kaz Grala -- who had lost the draft following green flag pit stops -- to get back in the mix for the final available spot in the field. Grala was able to beat McLeod by a carlength to make the field, as Christopher Bell pulled off a last-lap pass on Denny Hamlin and held off both Harrison Burton and Austin Cindric to give Toyota a sweep of the two Duels.

"That was so much more stressful than it needed to be for us," Grala told Fox Sports. "For a little while there we looked to be in good shape, and then we had some trouble there on pit road, we weren't able to stay with the draft. Just really proud of everybody at Front Row Motorsports. They worked so hard the last 24 hours to get our car ready to race today -- we had some troubles yesterday.

"Really cool to be able to get it in the show for them. This is a big opportunity for me here. Excited to be here on Sunday again."

The end result of the two Duel races was a number of race teams who will have to repair their Daytona 500 cars or go to a backup car outright. Ryan Blaney, William Byron and Daniel Hemric were among those set to head to backups, while others like Brad Keselowski and Todd Gilliland will repair their primary cars following Thursday night and ahead of practice on Friday afternoon.

With their primary cars both intact following the Duels, polesitter Joey Logano and outside polesitter Michael McDowell will both keep their starting positions Sunday and lead the field to the green flag in the 66th Daytona 500.

Daytona 500 starting lineup

  1. #22 - Joey Logano
  2. #34 - Michael McDowell
  3. #45 - Tyler Reddick
  4. #20 - Christopher Bell
  5. #9 - Chase Elliott
  6. #2 - Austin Cindric
  7. #48 - Alex Bowman
  8. #11 - Denny Hamlin
  9. #77 - Carson Hocevar (R)
  10. #42 - John Hunter Nemechek
  11. #43 - Erik Jones
  12. #21 - Harrison Burton
  13. #99 - Daniel Suarez
  14. #71 - Zane Smith (R)
  15. #54 - Ty Gibbs
  16. #6 - Brad Keselowski
  17. #5 - Kyle Larson
  18. #24 - William Byron
  19. #17 - Chris Buescher
  20. #14 - Chase Briscoe
  21. #1 - Ross Chastain
  22. #51 - Justin Haley
  23. #84 - Jimmie Johnson
  24. #23 - Bubba Wallace
  25. #41 - Ryan Preece
  26. #36 - Kaz Grala (R)
  27. #19 - Martin Truex Jr.
  28. #16 - A.J. Allmendinger
  29. #7 - Corey LaJoie
  30. #4 - Josh Berry (R)
  31. #38 - Todd Gilliland
  32. #12 - Ryan Blaney
  33. #3 - Austin Dillon
  34. #8 - Kyle Busch
  35. #47 - Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  36. #15 - Riley Herbst
  37. #31 - Daniel Hemric
  38. #10 - Noah Gragson
  39. #62 - Anthony Alfredo
  40. #60 - David Ragan

Failed to Qualify: B.J. McLeod, J.J. Yeley

Updates
(80)
 
Pinned
Link copied

Bell gets a push from Harrison Burton past Hamlin! Austin Cindric to the inside of Burton! Cindric tries to make a run at Bell, but he can't get it done! They stack up back in the pack, and Grala and McLeod come off Turn 4 side-by-side, but it's Grala in the line that moves and Kaz Grala beats BJ McLeod by a carlength to earn the final available spot in the Daytona 500!

1 - #20 - Christopher Bell
2 - #2 - Austin Cindric
3 - #11 - Denny Hamlin
4 - #42 - John Hunter Nemechek
5 - #21 - Harrison Burton
6 - #71 - Zane Smith
7 - #6 - Brad Keselowski
8 - #24 - William Byron
9 - #14 - Chase Briscoe
10 - #51 - Justin Haley

See New Posts
 
Pinned
Link copied

Red flag is out following a massive crash involving most of the lead pack. Ryan Blaney, William Byron, Kyle Busch, Noah Gragson, Chase Briscoe, BJ McLeod, Bubba Wallace and more -- at least 11 cars -- involved. Many will be headed to backup cars for the Daytona 500.

This crash has major implications in the fight for the final Daytona 500 spot: Kaz Grala had lost the draft and was well behind the lead pack, but due to McLeod being collected in the accident, Grala now has the opportunity to race his way into the Daytona 500.

 
Pinned
Link copied
@NASCARONFOX via Twitter
February 16, 2024, 2:31 AM
Feb. 15, 2024, 9:31 pm EST
 
Pinned
Link copied
@NASCARONFOX via Twitter
February 16, 2024, 2:27 AM
Feb. 15, 2024, 9:27 pm EST
 
Pinned
Link copied

BIG crash in the tri-oval! Ryan Blaney got hooked HARD into the outside wall by William Byron, and pretty much everyone behind them got cuaght up in it.

Blaney's car comes to rest on fire, but he's out of his car and okay. RIley Herbst is in it. BJ McLeod has damage. Justin Haley, and many, many more.

Red flag is coming

 
Pinned
Link copied

McDowell, Cindric, Hamlin, Herbst, Briscoe, Smith, Gragson, Berry now to pit road. McDowell got hard on the binders coming in to pit entry -- We'll see if he hurt his tires at all.

Burton, Blaney, Keselowski, Ragan and Grala now pit to complete the cycle.

Pit road penalty for Zane Smith: Too fast exiting.

 
Pinned
Link copied

Wallace peels off to pit road and brings Bell, Byron, Busch, Haley, Allmendinger, McLeod and Nemechek with him. Eight car group.

 
Pinned
Link copied

Justin Haley has now put a move on McLeod, jumping to the inside line to race McLeod for third. That happens behind Wallace and Bell, who continue to control the field.

Now here comes McLeod moving forwrd with a push from McDowell. Great horses under the hood of the No. 34 and a great speedway racer behind the wheel -- One who was in the position McLeod is currently in many times in his early career.

 
Pinned
Link copied

Halfway this time by, and likely 10 laps away from pit stops: Bubba Wallace leads Christopher Bell, B.J. McLeod, Zane Smith, Justin Haley, Riley Herbst, Michael McDowell, Noah Gragson, Austin Cindric and A.J. Allmendinger.

McLeod is driving the race of his life right now, but he's not out of the woods yet: Despite running 21st, Kaz Grala remains in the lead pack and in position to try and make a run at it in the second half of this race.

 
Pinned
Link copied

Bubba Wallace, Christopher Bell, and Zane Smith have dropped down to the inside line. Riley Herbst follows them. The new leader of the outside line is BJ McLeod: No sponsor and all, trying to race his way into the Daytona 500 with a push from Justin Haley. The only owner/driver in the Cup Series trying to make the field the old-fashioned way as we come up on the halfway point.

 
Pinned
Link copied

The outside line has made incredible gains with Wallace and Bell in front of it. They're pulling the whole outside line forwards, bringing Zane Smith and BJ McLeod with them.

One of the major takeaways from qualifying yesterday was a lack of single-car speed from Toyota, but they seem to race quite well with Tyler Reddick winning his Duel and Bubba Wallace now leading his in another 23XI Toyota.

 
Pinned
Link copied

Yesterday during Daytona 500 Media Day, Noah Gragson trashed Riley Herbst's basketball skills, but Herbst suggested that Gragson misrepresented exactly which version of basketball he was discussing. These two go back a long ways, and now they're at the front of the field at Daytona.

Herbst has dropped down to the inside line to pick up Gragson, and that's given Bubba Wallace the opportunity to drive past and take the lead.

 
Pinned
Link copied

The advantage is now Allmendinger's, as he leads the line before Herbst gets back alongside him.

Meanwhile, at the battle maong the Open cars: David Ragan has dropped to the back of the lead pack, which puts BJ McLeod as the top Open car as he runs 11th in the outside line. Kaz Grala is within shouting distance of McLeod, but he' hanging out at the back of the lead pack in 19th.

Herbst and Gragson now get clear of the inside line and move down. The new first car in the outside line is Bubba Wallace, who has help from another Toyota in Christopher Bell. Now Herbst tries to cover Wallace and opens the door for Gragson to challenge for the lead.

 
Pinned
Link copied

A.J. Allmendinger cuts to the inside from third in the outside line, and he picks up drafting help from two Chevys in Byron and Busch. Dinger and Herbst are now side-by-side for the lead, with Herbst just barely leading over Allmendinger at the start/finish line.

 
Pinned
Link copied

Herbst has been able to get up alongside Byron, but not much further. It's a stalemate at the front of the field right now much like the race between Truex and Stenhouse in the first Duel was.

And just as I finish typing that sentence, Herbst gets an excellent push from Gragson to move the outside line forward, and Herbst is now the leader.

 
Pinned
Link copied

Byron and Busch now clear the inside line and drop down, which opens the door for Riley Herbst to challenge for the lead with a push from fellow Las Vegas driver and childhood friend Noah Gragson. Herbst challenged for the win at Talladega last fall, and it looks like he's got a fast car again for Speedweeks.

 
Pinned
Link copied

Five laps complete in Duel 2 and William Byron has moved up to the top side with drafting help from Kyle Busch. He and McDowell are now side-by-side for the lead.

 
Pinned
Link copied

McDowell gets down in front of Cindric on the opening lap, and the two Fords lead the inside line on Lap 1. Then it's two Chevys in William Byron and Kyle Busch followed by Harrison Burton's Ford. Another Ford, Riley Herbst, is the leader of the outside line.

 
Pinned
Link copied

As the field takes pace laps before Duel 2, Jimmie Johnson is now speaking in the Media Center. Here's a sampling of what Johnson had to say about his battle to make the Daytona 500 with J.J. Yeley, and the handshake between the two afterwards.

 
Pinned
Link copied
@NASCARONFOX via Twitter
February 16, 2024, 3:23 AM
Feb. 15, 2024, 10:23 pm EST
 
Pinned
Link copied
@NASCARONFOX via Twitter
February 16, 2024, 3:10 AM
Feb. 15, 2024, 10:10 pm EST
 
Pinned
Link copied
@NASCARONFOX via Twitter
February 16, 2024, 3:04 AM
Feb. 15, 2024, 10:04 pm EST
 
Pinned
Link copied
@NASCARONFOX via Twitter
February 16, 2024, 3:03 AM
Feb. 15, 2024, 10:03 pm EST
 
Pinned
Link copied
@NASCARONFOX via Twitter
February 16, 2024, 2:55 AM
Feb. 15, 2024, 9:55 pm EST
 
Pinned
Link copied

Engines now fired for Duel 2. The drama in this race surrounds the 40th and final spot available in the field.

It's between BJ McLeod and Kaz Grala. McLeod can either race his way in or fall back on his qualifying time with David Ragan races in. Kaz Grala has to either go or go home.

 
Pinned
Link copied

McLeod has passed Grala, but Grala has drafting help from Ragan! Those two are side-by-side coming to the white flag as Hamlin leads them back!

 
Pinned
Link copied

Hamlin now clear of Bell and trying to cover both lines. Cindric challenging with help from Keselowski. No! Here comes Keselowski to the inside and through the middle! Three-wide, and that costs the outside a TON of momentum! AND it brings Grala right back to McLeod!

Two to go! Three Toyotas lined up on the inside single-file!

 
Pinned
Link copied

A HUGE block by Denny Hamlin on McDowell! The 34's got to get out of it, and he gets shuffled to the outside and all the way to the back of the pack!

That opens the door for Christopher Bell on the inside, and now the Joe Gibbs cars are side-by-side for the lead with four to go!

 
Pinned
Link copied

Hamlin now challenging McDowell for the lead coming to fix to go. As that happens, BJ McLeod is at the rear of the lead pack and trying to move forward in order to try and get back to the front and challenge Grala for the last spot in the field.

McLeod's best friend right now may be David Ragan -- McLeod is in the field if Ragan finishes ahead of Grala -- but Ragan has an obligation to Grala as a fellow Ford driver. This may come down to the final lap just like Duel 1 did!

 
Pinned
Link copied

Denny Hamlin and Christopher Bell got broken up, allowing McDowell to keep the lead with drafting help from Cindric, Keselowski, and Grala -- who is now in a position to make the Daytona 500 as the highest-running Open car.

The inside line finds each other again with Hamlin, Bell, and Nemechek forming their three Toyotas up.

See More

Share Video

Link copied!
  • Image thumbnail
    Live

    CBS Sports HQ

  • Image thumbnail
    2:14

    Butler-less Heat rout Bulls to clinch No. 8 seed in East and date with Celtics

  • Image thumbnail
    1:24

    Highlights: Astros ace Justin Verlander solid against Nationals in season debut

  • Image thumbnail
    0:34

    Alabama feels like home for Kadyn Proctor

  • Image thumbnail
    0:17

    Breaking Down Scheffler's Potential Schedule

  • Image thumbnail
    1:16

    Ryan Wilson's NFL Mock Draft: Chicago selects QB Caleb Williams at No. 1

  • Image thumbnail
    1:44

    How Marcell Ozuna Is Carrying The Braves Right Now

  • Image thumbnail
    1:18

    Timeline For Paul Skenes To Hit The Majors

  • Image thumbnail
    1:03

    Jack Leiter Struggles In MLB Debut

  • Image thumbnail
    0:38

    Avalanche Top Oilers

  • Image thumbnail
    1:09

    Red-Hot Mets Begin Six Game Road Trip In Los Angeles

  • Image thumbnail
    1:35

    Stanley Cup Playoff Preview: Best Bet to Win the Cup

  • Image thumbnail
    1:56

    Highlights: Diamondbacks at Giants

  • Image thumbnail
    2:25

    Stanley Cup Playoff Preview: Rangers Look To Break Presidents' Trophy Curse