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Daytona 500 Qualifying 2019: Duels Starting Grid After Group Results

Joe Tansey

The starting order for the 2019 Daytona 500 will be completed Thursday night during the Gander RV Duels at Daytona International Speedway. 

William Byron and Alex Bowman earned spots in the front row for Sunday's Daytona 500 by recording the best times in qualifying, but the rest of the starting positions don't get determined until Thursday's duels. 

Duel 1 determines the odd positions in the starting order, with the winner of the duel moving into the No. 3 spot on the starting grid.

Duel 2 decides the drivers in the even numbers of the starting order, with the victor of that race slotted into the No. 4 spot on the grid.  

Duel 1 begins Thursday night's racing at 7 p.m. ET, while Duel 2 is scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. ET. 


Duels Starting Grid

Duel 1

1. William Byron 

2. Jimmie Johnson

3. Daniel Hemric 

4. Martin Truex Jr.

5. Brad Keselowski

6. Paul Menard

7. Kyle Busch

8. Kevin Harvick 

9. Tyler Reddick 

10. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 

11. Daniel Suarez

12. Chris Buescher

13. Ryan Newman 

14. Ryan Truex

15. Ryan Preece

16. Matt DiBenedetto 

17. Bubba Wallace

18. Matt Tifft

19. Parker Kligerman 

20. Landon Cassill

21. Cody Ware 


Duel 2

1. Alex Bowman 

2. Chase Elliott

3. Joey Logano

4. Clint Bowyer

5. Austin Dillon

6. Denny Hamlin

7. Erik Jones

8. Ryan Blaney

9. Aric Almirola

10. Kurt Busch 

11. David Regan

12. Michael McDowell

13. Casey Mears

14. Jamie McMurray

15. Brendan Gaughan

16. Kyle Larson

17. Ty Dillon

18. Ross Chastain

19. Corey Lajoie

20. BJ McLeod

21. Joey Gase 


Can Blaney or Elliott Repeat as Duel Winners? 

There can only be one repeat winner of the duels Thursday, as Ryan Blaney and Chase Elliott are both part of Duel 2. 

A year ago, Blaney captured Duel 1 after recording the 15th-best qualifying time a few days before, while Elliott took Duel 2 from the fifth starting position. 

Both drivers have had decent trips to Daytona so far, as they both finished in the top 10 of The Clash and are starting in the top 10 of Duel 2. 

Elliott is in better shape on the Duel 2 starting order, as he lines up in the second position and is part of the most successful team at Daytona through the first week of Speed Weeks. 

John Raoux/Associated Press

Elliott's Hendrick Motorsports teammates William Byron and Alex Bowman have already secured their spots on the front row for the Daytona 500 and Jimmie Johnson won Sunday's Clash event. 

Blaney, who is one of two Team Penske drivers in Duel 2, is one of many racers hoping to unseat Hendrick Motorsports from the top of the grid before Sunday's main event. 

The good news for Blaney is he'll have an ally in Joey Logano alongside him for most of the race, which should make drafting a bit easier. 

However, Blaney still has to put himself in a good position to succeed during the final few laps, when every driver is fighting for his own personal gains. 


More Drama in Store for Johnson and Menard? 

The 2019 NASCAR season is only a week old, but there's already been some drama involving a few drivers. 

With inclement weather nearing the track during the end of The Clash, Johnson made contact with Paul Menard on his way into first place. 

Johnson chalked the incident up to strictly racing, per Pete Pistone of MRN.com

"It was really just a racing thing," Johnson said. "I was going down into Turn 1 and it was looking darker and darker. I saw my move and I had to take it." 

Menard, who has criticized Johnson in the past, wasn't happy with Johnson's antics, per Motorsport.com's Charles Bradley

"Jimmie pulled down, I moved down a little bit, and the next thing I knew I’m getting turned in the left rear," Menard said. "Jimmie does that a lot at these tracks, it’s unfortunate." 

Johnson and Menard are separated by four starting positions in Duel 1, and after Sunday's confrontation, all eyes will be on the pair of drivers. 

Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Based on Hendrick's success at Daytona, Johnson is expected to be at the front of the field alongside Byron. 

Although Menard, who races for Wood Brothers Racing, doesn't have a teammate to help him draft, he should receive a good amount of assistance to get back to the front and challenge Johnson, which will strum up plenty of drama as the race progresses. 


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

Statistics obtained from NASCAR.com.

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