Chase Elliott wins first Daytona Duel race

Chase Elliott won his first race in Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series competition in dramatic fashion.

Chase Elliott wins first Daytona Duel race
Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet takes the checkered flag
Duel 1 winner Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Duel 1 winner Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet takes the checkered flag
Winner Duel 1, Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Reed Sorenson, Premium Motorsports Toyota, crash
Reed Sorenson, Premium Motorsports Toyota, crash

Chase Elliott won his first race in Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series competition in dramatic fashion.

Elliott, who had already secured the pole for Sunday’s Daytona 500, took the lead late in Thursday night’s first 150-mile qualifying race at Daytona International Speedway and held off a furious charge from Jamie McMurray and Kevin Harvick to claim the victory.

Brad Keselowski finished fourth and Matt Kenseth fifth.

Elliott takes the win and bonus points

In years past, with Elliott already on the pole, his victory wouldn’t have offered him much more than a trip to Victory Lane, but this season he also collects 10 points for the finish which will go toward his total from the Daytona 500 weekend.

“I didn’t think anybody was going to help us there at the first part of the race and I had a couple good pushes to get us out front and our spotter did a great job on the roof making sure he was calling the lanes correctly and we were able to get back in front,” Elliott said.

“I just want to thank our partners and the Hendrick engine shop. They had some steam tonight. It was apparent.”

Elliott said he was glad his No. 24 Chevrolet came home with no problems.

“I’m just more excited about how this thing ran tonight and keeping it in one piece,” he said. “I know it’s just a Duel win and it doesn’t count towards a win in the playoffs, but it still means a lot to me and it means a lot to our team.

“This is a great way to start the season.”

Elliott made some daring moves in the race to work his way to the front, including one to get around then-leader Keselowski to take the lead on Lap 37.

McMurray praises Chase

McMurray took notice.

“I thought Chase did an awesome job. It doesn't matter who it is, at some point we all make a bad decision out there. I made a couple tonight,” he said. “I was fortunate it didn't cause a wreck. But that's what happens at places like this.”

Keslowski dominated the race (leading a race-high 28 laps), and gave up the lead for the first time to Kyle Busch only right before the competition caution displayed on Lap 26.

During pit stops, Busch was the first off pit road, followed by Keselowski, McMurray, Elliott and Kenseth and was the leader on the restart on Lap 30.

Keselowski quickly moved back into the lead on the restart to retake command of the race.

With just over 20 laps remaining, Elliott powered around Keselowski to take the lead for the first time.

“We knew (Elliott) was going to be strong,” Keselowski said. “It just didn’t shake out like I hoped it would in some of those pivotal moments, that’s part of it. I could have taken a few more risks.

“We’re going to work on some things that make that possible.”

Trouble for the transfer spot

On Lap 49, Corey LaJoie got into the back of Reed Sorensen, sending Sorensen off the track and into the Turn 1 infield wall. Paul Menard also suffered damage in that incident.

“I’m sure it looked like I meant to do it, but I didn’t,” LaJoie said over his team radio. “I just tried to stick the middle and he came down on me.”

LaJoie’s 18th-place finish still ensured him a spot in Sunday’s 40-car 500 field.

“Every kid in a race car dreams of racing in a Daytona 500 and I get to do that on Sunday,” he said. “I really do feel bad about Reed. Man, when I’m trying to get into the Daytona 500, if my mom was in that spot, I’d probably wreck her, too.

“I’m racing on Sunday.”

Sorensen, as expected, had another take on the incident.

“I guess he did what he needed to do to make the race,” Sorensen said. “I hope he’s proud of that part of it.”

Cla#DriverManufacturerLapsTime
1 24 united_states Chase Elliott  Chevrolet 60  
2 1 united_states Jamie McMurray  Chevrolet 60 0.156
3 4 united_states Kevin Harvick  Ford 60 0.168
4 2 united_states Brad Keselowski  Ford 60 0.255
5 20 united_states Matt Kenseth  Toyota 60 0.278
6 6 united_states Trevor Bayne  Ford 60 0.347
7 78 united_states Martin Truex Jr.  Toyota 60 0.408
8 43 united_states Aric Almirola  Ford 60 0.459
9 22 united_states Joey Logano  Ford 60 0.466
10 72 united_states Cole Whitt  Ford 60 0.485

CLICK HERE for complete results

shares
comments
Harvick pleased with Ford's performance, picks Penske as 500 favorites

Previous article

Harvick pleased with Ford's performance, picks Penske as 500 favorites

Next article

Denny Hamlin passes Earnhardt to win second Daytona Duel

Denny Hamlin passes Earnhardt to win second Daytona Duel
Load comments
From the archive: Dale Earnhardt’s final Autosport interview Prime

From the archive: Dale Earnhardt’s final Autosport interview

The death of Dale Earnhardt in the 2001 Daytona 500 shocked NASCAR to the core. At the Daytona 24 Hours, two weeks before his fatal accident, ‘The Intimidator’ shared his expectations of challenging for an eighth Cup title with JONATHAN INGRAM, in an article first published in the 15 February 2001 issue of Autosport magazine. Little did we know then what tragedy would unfold…

NASCAR Cup
Feb 18, 2021
The lasting NASCAR legacy after Dale Earnhardt’s death Prime

The lasting NASCAR legacy after Dale Earnhardt’s death

On February 18, 2001, seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Dale Earnhardt – the fearless ‘Intimidator’ – was in his element at Daytona International Speedway. While his own DEI team’s cars ran 1-2 towards the finish line, his famed #3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Monte Carlo was playing rear gunner to block any late runs from the chasing pack. As the cars tore through Turns 3 and 4 on that fateful final lap, Earnhardt maintained the strongarm tactics that encapsulated his persona… but his actions in those moments sadly proved to be his last.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 18, 2021
Inspired by Pitbull, the “revolution” sweeping through NASCAR Prime

Inspired by Pitbull, the “revolution” sweeping through NASCAR

The NASCAR Cup Series is changing. Whether it be the gradual morphing out the seasoned drivers of yesterday as the next generation step up, a radical calendar shake-up featuring more road courses than ever before and the prospect of an all-new car on the horizon, stock car racing’s highest level is nearing the end of a huge facelift.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 16, 2021
The NASCAR storylines to watch out for in 2021 Prime

The NASCAR storylines to watch out for in 2021

This weekend's Daytona 500 kickstarts a NASCAR Cup season that promises plenty of intrigue courtesy of new owners and a refreshed calendar. Here's what you need to know ahead of the new season…

NASCAR Cup
Feb 13, 2021
Why Kyle Larson can't blow his big shot at redemption Prime

Why Kyle Larson can't blow his big shot at redemption

From a disgraced NASCAR exile, Kyle Larson has been given a chance of redemption by the powerhouse Hendrick Motorsports squad. Effectively replacing seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson is no easy billing, but Larson has every intention of repaying the team's faith...

NASCAR Cup
Feb 11, 2021
Why Roger Penske is an American motorsport icon Prime

Why Roger Penske is an American motorsport icon

In this exclusive one-on-one interview, Roger Penske reveals the inner drive that has made him not only a hugely successful team owner and businessman but also the owner of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar. He spoke to David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Dec 28, 2020
Why NASCAR's latest second-generation champion is just getting started Prime

Why NASCAR's latest second-generation champion is just getting started

Chase Elliott's late charge to the 2020 NASCAR Cup title defied predictions that it would be a Kevin Harvick versus Denny Hamlin showdown. While the two veterans are showing no signs of slowing down, Elliott's triumph was a window into NASCAR's future…

NASCAR Cup
Nov 18, 2020
Why Kyle Larson deserves his second chance in a cancel culture Prime

Why Kyle Larson deserves his second chance in a cancel culture

“You can’t hear me? Hey n*****” Those fateful words uttered by Kyle Larson, spoken into his esports headset on April 12, were directed at his sim racing spotter – but instead they quickly became amplified around the world via social media, including his own Twitch stream.

NASCAR Cup
Oct 29, 2020