Bubba Wallace nearly grabbed a victory in his first race with Michael Jordan’s 23XI Racing team in Thursday night’s Bluegreen Vacations Duel No. 2 at Daytona International Speedway, but in a frantic last-lap battle over an overtime finish he was edged out by the driver of the No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet, Austin Dillon.
Here is video of the finish of Duel 2:
— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) February 12, 2021
“Heck of a push through three and four,” Dillon said. “I knew Bubba was going to try to block it, but I just whipped the wheel and it worked out well.”
Kevin Harvick, who gave the race-winning shove to Dillon, finished third in the Duel, Kyle Busch was third and Chase Elliott finished fifth.
Following a missed shot at a win, Wallace lamented about his own shortcomings during the race.
“A lot of mistakes,” Wallace admitted. “A good debut, but nothing to be really happy about with myself. It’s okay for drivers to be hard on themselves, that’s how we motivate ourselves to get out and do better. Just hats off to my guys at 23XI.”
David Ragan, who had already secured a spot in the Daytona 500 field with his qualifying speed, drove his way into a starting spot for the Daytona 500 by finishing eighth. With Ragan not needing to fall back on his qualifying time, that locks Kaulig Racing’s Kaz Grala into the Daytona 500 on speed.
It appeared that the battle to transfer to the Daytona 500 would be between Noah Gragson and Garrett Smithley, who had been inside or around the top-10 for the majority of the event, but a multi-car pileup with four laps to go, dashed their hopes of making the Daytona 500.
Although Gragson and Smithley were eliminated due to the crash, there is more drama in the crash as William Byron wadded up his primary car in the incident. Byron was scheduled to start second in Sunday’s Daytona 500, but will have to go to a backup car and will start at the rear of the field.