NASCAR Cup Series Duel Race Report

February 17, 2023

Track: Daytona International Speedway   
Race: Bluegreen Vacations Duel
Date: February 16, 2023  

No. 2 Discount Tire Ford Mustang – Austin Cindric
Duel 1
Start: 4th
Race Finish: 2nd
Laps Led: 3

DAYTONA 500 Starting Position: 6th
Race Rundown: NASCAR Cup Series drivers took to the high banks of Daytona International Speedway Thursday night for a pair of 150-mile races to set the official lineup for the 65th running of the Daytona 500. Austin Cindric finished second after setting sail from the fourth position. The driver of the No. 2 Discount Tire Ford Mustang raced up to second in the early goings of the race before a caution on Lap 6 slowed the field. Cindric continued to be a frontrunner in the pack throughout the duration of the event, trading positions for the lead in the final laps. The 24-year-old driver ultimately crossed the stripe in the runner-up position and will roll off the grid 6th in his third start in the Great American Race on Sunday. 

Cindric's Thoughts: "We definitely had some speed in our Discount Tire Ford. I think the theme for the whole night is Fast Fords. Hopefully, that transfers over to Sunday. I'm proud of that effort for everyone inside the Ford Performance group and Roush Yates, everybody. That's a big testament to the work done in the offseason. We didn't have that speed last year. It was fun to run up front all race and have a little bit of speed and make some decisions – some good and some not so good. Overall, I'm proud of the evening. There's some good stuff to look at for Sunday's race."

No. 12 Menards/BlueDEF/PEAK Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney
Duel 1
Start: 4th
Race Finish: 3rd
Laps Led: 31

DAYTONA 500 Starting Position: 7th

Race Rundown: Ryan Blaney led a race-high 31 laps in the first of two Bluegreen Vacations Duels at Daytona International Speedway Thursday night before coming away with a third-place finish in the No. 12 Ford Mustang. Blaney took the lead on lap two and paced the field up until green flag pit stops cycled before fighting his way back to third to secure a top-10 starting position in Sunday's Daytona 500.

Blaney's Thoughts: "It's a weird spot to be in. You want to try to win, and I thought we had a good shot when I pulled up around the No. 20 on the white. I got to the inside of the No. 4 and no one went with me. I thought he was going to take the run and would have put us in a better spot to win. I made another run, but just kind of got boxed in there and it didn't work out. At least a Ford won, and we got a good base point of what we need to work on for Sunday."

No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang – Joey Logano
Duel 1
Start: 3rd
Race Finish: 1st
Laps Led: 29

DAYTONA 500 Starting Position: 3rd

Race Rundown: Joey Logano wheeled the No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford Mustang into Victory Lane in the first of two Bluegreen Vacations Duels Thursday night from Daytona International Speedway. Logano led the final 29 laps after winning the race off pit road during green flag pit stops as teammate Ryan Blaney pushed the No. 22 across the line to fend off a hard-charging outside lane.

Logano's Thoughts: "A total team effort. I said it out there on the start-finish line, it takes a total team effort to win out here on a superspeedway. You've got to execute the strategy correctly. You've got to execute everything on the racetrack. Coleman did an amazing job up there painting the picture of what was going on behind me, getting ready for the intense moment that was going to happen on the last lap. You know it was going to happen. It's just staying calm and making the right blocks at the right time and positioning ourselves to where I was going to be in the front there at the end. Blaney helped me a lot there at the end, sticking with his Ford friend, instead of pushing that Toyota, so it worked out really well."

Friday, February 18th
5:30 p.m. ET: Daytona 500 Practice (FS1)

Saturday, February 19th
10:30 a.m. ET: Daytona 500 Final Practice (FS2, FS1 starting at 11:00 a.m. ET)

Sunday, February 20th
2:30 p.m. ET: Daytona 500 (FOX, MRN, Sirius XM NASCAR)