Heartbreak for Dillon, GBR in Daytona Duel
Bass Pro Shops/Black Rifle Coffee Toyota Narrowly Misses Qualifying for Daytona 500
Date: Feb. 11, 2021
Event: Bluegreen Vacations Duel No. 1
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway (2.5-mile oval)
Format: Twin 150-mile qualifying races that set the field for the Daytona 500
Start/Finish: 17th/6th (Running, completed 60 of 60 laps)
Duel No. 1 Winner: Aric Almirola of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Duel No. 2 Winner: Austin Dillon of Richard Childress Racing (Chevrolet)
● Ty Dillon started 17th and finished sixth in his Gaunt Brothers Racing-prepared Toyota Camry.
● The No. 96 Bass Pro Shops/Black Rifle Coffee Company Toyota made steady forward progress from the drop of the green flag.
● Dillon worked his way into the top-10 and stayed there for most of his opening fuel run, momentarily dropping back to 19th while stuck in the slower, inside line on lap 23.
● He pitted for fuel only on lap 35 and, within two laps, was running sixth with 23 laps to go, and he primarily stayed in that position the rest of the way.
● When the white flag flew, Dillon was sixth and was the top-running non-chartered driver, which was how he needed to finish in order to clinch a spot in the Daytona 500.
● But fellow non-chartered driver Ryan Preece slipped past Dillon as the leaders approached the finish line. Preece edged Dillon by a scant .04 of a second at the finish line to race his way into the Daytona 500 and prevent Dillon from making The Great American Race.
● Since Preece had already locked himself into the Daytona 500 as the fastest non-chartered driver in single-lap qualifying Wednesday night, the next available Daytona 500 starting spot, per the NASCAR rule book, was awarded to Austin Cindric, the next-fastest-qualifying non-chartered driver in Duel No. 1.
● Drivers earning odd-numbered positions from Wednesday’s pole qualifying session were assigned to the first Duel race. Drivers earning even-numbered positions from pole qualifying competed in the second Duel race. The starting positions for each Duel race were based on qualifying times.
Ty Dillon, driver of the No. 96 Bass Pro Shops/Black Rifle Coffee Company Toyota Camry:
“This hurts, for sure. It’s been just unique this offseason for me with the ups and downs. It’s a blessing to get to drive a racecar in NASCAR, first of all, and you get so close to being in the Daytona 500 again. It’s tough. I have to thank Johnny Morris (Bass Pro Shops founder) and Marty Gaunt, Toyota. This is the opportunity of a lifetime to continue to drive racecars. I believe in myself that I can get it done in these races, and to finish sixth and not get any reward for it is hard. I’ll get the great reward of spending time with my kids on Sunday and we’ll probably watch the race, but this definitely hurts.”
Next up for Gaunt Brothers Racing and Dillon is the O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 on Sunday, Feb. 21 on the Daytona road course. The race begins at 3 p.m. ET with live coverage provided by FOX and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.