Joey Logano leads Ford 1-2-3-4 in Duel #1 win

Joey Logano got some help from fellow Ford driver Aric Almirola to win the first of two Daytona 500 qualifying races on Thursday night.

Joey Logano leads Ford 1-2-3-4 in Duel #1 win

With two of 60 laps remaining, Almirola shoved Logano into the lead and the Ford drivers provided some protective cover on the last lap as Logano cruised to the win.

It’s the fourth victory by a Ford driver in the last five Daytona 500 qualifying races.

“It feels so good,” Logano said. “Obviously, it’s the Duels, not the Daytona 500, but momentum is momentum. T.J. (Majors, his spotter) does such a great job up on the roof understanding the draft.

“I’ve been working with this new group here. They’ve been working together but I’m new with them and it’s been a good partnership so far. It’s been pretty seamless working out some of the kinks last week and being able to come to Victory Lane at Daytona.

“Winning anything at Daytona is such a big deal.”

Ryan Newman finished third, Brad Keselowski was fourth and Bubba Wallace rounded out the top-five.

With the win, Logano will line up third in Sunday’s Daytona 500, while Almirola will line up fifth.

Reed Sorenson finished 18th and one lap down but it was enough to claim the final spot in the 500 for non-charter teams from the first qualifying race.

Stenhouse, who started on the pole by virtue of his top speed in Sunday’s qualifying, led the first 23 laps until he and a contingent of fellow Chevrolets elected to pit.

Toyotas came the next lap but Martin Truex Jr. overshot his pit box and made contact with Christopher Bell, who was also pitting.

“I was staying with (Hamlin) my bad,” Truex said over his team radio.

On Lap 26 with the Fords yet to pit, Bowyer led the way.

On Lap 30, while exiting Turn 4 and attempting to head to pit road, Ryan Blaney hit Daniel Suarez as Blaney tried to move down the track to bring out the first caution of the race.

 

The Fords completed their pit stops under the caution and when the race resumed on Lap 38, Stenhouse was back in the lead followed by Chase Elliott, Newman and Logano.

With a push from Almirola on the high side, Logano powered into the lead on Lap 39. Stenhouse was able to work his way back to the front on the following lap.

Another push from Almirola sent Logano back to the point on Lap 41.

With help from Stenhouse and Elliott, Austin Dillon moved into the lead on Lap 44, only to see Logano reclaim the top spot one lap later.

With 10 laps remaining in the race, Logano maintained his hold on the lead, followed by Almirola, Newman, Keselowski and Bowyer. Stenhouse was the top non-Ford, at seventh.

After 55 laps, Logano and Almirola remained out front of the field.

With two laps remaining, Stenhouse got shove past Logano to retake the lead.

Newman had to start the race from the rear of the field for unapproved adjustments made to his No. 6 Ford.

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