Joey Logano and William Byron win Duels at Daytona as Daniel Suarez will miss Daytona 500

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Joey Logano (22) beats Ryan Newman (6) and Aric Almirola (10) to the finish line to win the first of two NASCAR Daytona 500 qualifying auto races Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020, at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Joey Logano will start third in Sunday's Daytona 500. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Joey Logano will start third in the Daytona 500.

Logano won the first Duel qualifying race at Daytona after he got a huge push from Aric Almirola right after taking the white flag. Almirola fell back to the pack on the backstretch but Logano was out ahead enough in front of everyone else that he stayed ahead of Almirola and Ryan Newman at the checkered flag.

The race’s biggest storyline came when Daniel Suarez crashed out of the race. Suarez got caught behind multiple Ford teams trying to pit under green and he took evasive action. That caused him to run into Ryan Blaney and get turned into the wall.

Suarez, set to drive the entire 2020 season with Gaunt Brothers Racing after he was let go by Stewart-Haas Racing after just one season, entered Thursday night’s qualifying races without a guaranteed starting spot via a charter. That meant he needed to be the highest non-charter driver in the Duel or be the second-best non-charter driver if Justin Haley — who qualified for the race during Sunday’s pole qualifying session — was the highest-finishing non-charter driver.

That didn’t happen, as Suarez had to climb from his car as it came to a stop in the infield. Reed Sorenson outraced Chad Finchum for the Daytona 500 spot that looked to be Suarez’s after the 2016 Xfinity Series champion crashed.

William Byron wins Duel 2

Byron took advantage of a three-wide move by Kurt Busch behind him to win the second Duel.

Byron got the lead with less than three laps to go and was ahead of teammate Jimmie Johnson with one lap to go. As Johnson was behind Byron in second, Kurt Busch pulled out from behind Johnson from the outside line entering turn 3 on the final lap in an attempt to gain a position.

It didn’t work. Busch forced Kevin Harvick on the inside line to go even lower and the three-wide maneuver blunted the momentum of the drivers behind Byron and allowed the driver of the No. 24 car to sail away to the win.

It’s unofficially the first win of Byron’s Cup Series career. The former Xfinity Series champion is entering his third full-time season in the Cup Series after replacing Kasey Kahne at Hendrick Motorsports.

Timmy Hill beat out JJ Yeley for the final Daytona 500 starting spot for non-charter cars. Yeley crashed out of the race and allowed Hill to steal the final spot. Sunday will be Hill’s first Daytona 500 in his 93rd career Cup Series start.

Duel 1 results

1. Joey Logano (will start 3rd Sunday)

2. Aric Almirola (5th)

3. Ryan Newman (7th)

4. Brad Keselowski (9th)

5. Bubba Wallace (11th)

6. Austin Dillon (13th)

7. Martin Truex Jr. (15th)

8. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (1st)

9. Christopher Bell (17th)

10. Chris Buescher (19th)

11. Denny Hamlin (21st)

12. John Hunter Nemechek (23rd)

13. Chase Elliott (25th)

14. Ryan Blaney (27th)

15. Clint Bowyer (29th)

16. Ryan Preece (31st)

17. Justin Haley (33rd)

18. Reed Sorenson (35th)

19. Quin Houff (37th)

20. Chad Finchum (DNQ)

21. Joey Gase (39th)

22. Daniel Suarez (DNQ)

Duel 2 results

1. William Byron (will start 4th Sunday)

2. Jimmie Johnson (6th)

3. Kyle Larson (8th)

4. Kevin Harvick (10th)

5. Cole Custer (12th)

6. Erik Jones (14th)

7. Matt DiBenedetto (16th)

8. Kurt Busch (18th)

9. Ross Chastain (20th)

10. Tyler Reddick (22nd)

11. Ty Dillon (24th)

12. Michael McDowell (26th)

13. Kyle Busch (28th)

14. David Ragan (30th)

15. Alex Bowman (2nd)

16. Timmy Hill (32nd)

17. Brendan Gaughan (34th)

18. Brennan Poole (36th)

19. Corey LaJoie (38th)

20. BJ McLeod (40th)

21. JJ Yeley (DNQ)

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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