Logano wins NASCAR Duel 1; Zane Smith makes Daytona 500 field
Logano grabbed control of the race following his green-flag pit stop on Lap 31 of 60 and held off a last-lap charge by Christopher Bell to claim the win by 0.018 seconds.
At the start of the final lap, Bell and his No. 20 Toyota was able to pull out of line without help and nearly powered pass Logano all on his own before settling for second.
Ryan Blaney ended up third, Chris Buescher fourth and Michael McDowell fifth.
“Just a great job by the Shell-Pennzoil team. The execution of this race is everything because you know most likely there won’t be a caution so you’ve got to do a good job on pit road, cycle yourself to the front,” Logano said.
“But then I am sitting there as the leader and I’m like, ‘Man, I am a sitting duck. This is not where you want to be.’ I was hoping they started racing back there, which they did, which ended up kind of working out for me.
“Then, when (Bell) got to me, I saw (Ryan) Blaney was behind me. I said, ‘That’s my buddy. I’ve got to stick with him.’ I knew (Bell) would make the run to the outside, and I probably wasn’t going to be able to defend that, and just waited for (Blaney) to push me through there. Good Penske effort there.”
Zane Smith ended up eighth and the top-finishing non-chartered team, which locks him into Sunday’s Daytona 500 field. Jimmie Johnson was already locked in based on his qualifying speed.
Chandler Smith, attempting to make his Cup Series debut with Kaulig Racing, failed to make the field.
Bowman, by winning the pole for the Daytona 500 on Wednesday night, also started on the pole for the first qualifying race.
Joey Logano, Team Penske, Shell Pennzoil Ford Mustang
Photo by: Nigel Kinrade / NKP / Motorsport Images
After Bowman and Byron both took brief stints in the lead, Blaney ended up leading the first lap.
Five laps in, Blaney maintained a small lead over Chastain, who was coming on strong in the outside lane.
With 50 laps remaining, Blaney remained out front leading a single-file line of about 10 cars.
On Lap 12, Zane Smith was the highest running non-charter driver in the 10th position.
By Lap 15, Bowman, who bailed out of the lead draft early-on, had fallen about a half-lap behind the field, electing to stay out of trouble and preserve his starting position in Sunday’s 500.
Nine cars hit pit road on Lap 22 to make their green-flag pit stop. Both Chandler Smith and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. were penalized by NASCAR for speeding on pit road and both had to do a pass-through on pit road.
At the halfway mark, Blaney remained out front followed by Wallace and Logano but more than half the field still had to make a pit stop.
On Lap 31, the rest of the field pit with Logano the first off and moved into the lead. Ty Gibbs was penalized for speeding and had to serve a pass-through on pit road.
With 25 laps to go, Logano maintained a small advantage over Harvick, followed by Blaney and Buescher.
With eight laps remaining, Harvick and his team began discussing scenarios to make a move on Logano for the lead.
Logano remained out front of a single-file line with five laps to go with Harvick tucked in close behind him.
Ty Dillon was forced to pit with four laps to go and had a tire get loose during his stop.
Chandler Smith had to start at the rear of the field due to unapproved adjustments to his No. 13 Chevrolet.