It was a Joe Gibbs Racing takeover as Kyle Busch grabbed the victory in the Can-Am Duel No. 2 at Daytona International Speedway on Thursday, Feb. 18.
He and JGR teammates of Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards ran 1-2-3 for a majority of the opening 35 laps.
“Myself, Matt [Kenseth] and Carl [Edwards] , we ran up in the top 3 most of the race and then pit stops kind of changed the order around a little bit,” Busch said. “There at the end, again, with guys going for positions and trying to race a little bit to get themselves a better starting spot. It got a little hectic I would say.”
With Kenseth being forced into a back-up car after crashing out on the final lap, Busch advances to the front row for Sunday’s Daytona 500.
“I think I get to start on the front row now,” Busch said in realization. “I didn’t win this race to qualify myself for the fourth starting position. With our teammate [Kenseth] having trouble there at the end of the race, they’ll have to go to a back-up car.”
Starting second, Busch trailed Kenseth before the No. 20 driver picked up debris on the front grille, handing the lead to Busch.
“I thought we had a shot at the race,” Kenseth said. “I got some debris on the grille and got it hot so I had to let Kyle [Busch] by. Then we came off pit road 1-2 and we were able to hold that for a while until the [No.] 48 got me shuffled.”
In two separate single-file lines, the lead pack approached lapped vehicles of Reed Sorenson and Robert Richardson, Jr. before Jimmie Johnson and Martin Truex, Jr. sparked a multi-car crash in turn 1, calling the race official on the last lap.“We’re racing in split-seconds decisions,” Johnson, who will go to a back-up No. 48 machine, said. “It’s hard to put a whole lot of blame on somebody when you’re racing in split seconds.”
Truex suffered extensive damage to his No. 78 Toyota, also leading to a back-up car for Sunday.
“Just riding along there taking the white in a pretty decent spot and they just wrecked in front of me,” Truex said. “So there’s not much you can do. It was really the first we had really done some serious racing and drafting with it. I was really pretty happy with it. Unfortunate to be in the wrong place, wrong time again on the last lap.”
AJ Allmendinger was also swallowed up in the accident.
“I just saw cars crashing,” Allmendinger said. “We had a good run on the outside and felt like we did a good job to maximize everything we could to get out there and have a chance at a top-5 finish. It’s just sad that we wasted that car now for no reason.”
Shortly before the accident, second-place runner Casey Mears ran out of gas in his No. 13 Geico Chevrolet, snatching the possible win from the restrictor plate ace.
Ryan Newman was pulled behind the wall on lap 31 after a sour engine cooked his chances at a superior starting position for Sunday.
The unfortunate drivers who were unable to keep with the head packs and who were unable to qualify themselves into the Daytona 500 were David Gilliland and Reed Sorenson. Both drivers were stranded in the rear before coming home short on Daytona 500 glory.
On the other side of the emotion scale was Robert Richardson, Jr., who finished 18th, which was good enough based on his qualifying speed from Pole Day on Sunday.
Completing the top 10: Jamie McMurray in second, followed by Kurt Busch, Carl Edwards, Ty Dillon, Kyle Larson, Danica Patrick, Brian Vickers, Matt DiBenedetto and Michael Annett.
2016 Can-Am Duel 2 At Daytona Results
|Finish||Start||Car Number||Driver||Team||Laps Completed||Status||Laps Led|
|1||2||18||Kyle Busch||M&M's Toyota||60||Running||35|
|2||10||1||Jamie McMurray||McDonald's Chevrolet||60||Running||0|
|3||5||41||Kurt Busch||Monster Energy Chevrolet||60||Running||0|
|4||4||19||Carl Edwards||ARRIS Toyota||60||Running||0|
|5||8||95||Ty Dillon||Cheerios Chevrolet||60||Running||0|
|6||11||42||Kyle Larson||Target Chevrolet||60||Running||0|
|7||14||10||Danica Patrick||Nature's Bakery Chevrolet||60||Running||0|
|8||22||14||Brian Vickers||Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet||60||Running||0|
|9||12||93||Matt DiBenedetto (R)||Dustless Blasting Toyota||60||Running||0|
|10||16||46||Michael Annett||Pilot/Flying J Chevrolet||60||Running||0|
|11||17||38||Landon Cassill||Florida Lottery Ford||60||Running||0|
|12||19||35||David Gilliland||Front Row Motorsports Ford||60||Running||0|
|13||3||48||Jimmie Johnson||Lowe's Chevrolet||59||Running||0|
|14||21||78||Martin Truex, Jr.||Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet||59||Running||0|
|15||15||47||A.J. Allmendinger||Kroger/Scott Products Chevrolet||59||Running||0|
|16||1||20||Matt Kenseth||Dollar General Toyota||59||Running||23|
|17||6||13||Casey Mears||GEICO Chevrolet||59||Running||0|
|18||18||26||Robert Richardson, Jr.||Stalk It Toyota||59||Running||0|
|19||9||43||Aric Almirola||Smithfield Ford||59||Running||2|
|20||13||83||Michael Waltrip||Maxwell House Toyota||59||Running||0|
|21||20||40||Reed Sorenson||CRC Brakleen Chevrolet||56||Running||0|
|22||7||31||Ryan Newman||Caterpillar Chevrolet||31||Engine||0|
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