After more than a decade with Team Penske, Brad Keselowski became the new driver and co-owner of Roush Fenway Racing – a team he sought to revitalize as RFK Racing. So far so good, as both of Thursday night’s checkered flags belong to Keselowski and his new team.
RFK Racing cars swept the Bluegreen Vacations Duel qualifying races, as Brad Keselowski made a late-race pass over Ryan Blaney to win Duel 1 while Chris Buescher won Duel 2 after contact in the last tour with Joey Logano. After making his choice over Blaney with a handful of laps to go, Keselowski’s victory was assured when Austin Cindric and Chase Briscoe began chasing Blaney for second place, allowing Keselowski to return to the checkered flag unchallenged.
Buescher’s victory was much more dramatic: on the final lap, Buescher dove inside Joey Logano to take the lead out of Turn 2, only for Logano to attempt to block Buescher’s move. Buescher was already at Logano’s right backboard, which led to Logano spinning in circles and hitting the outside wall.
Buescher was ahead of Michael McDowell as the field was frozen at the time of the caution, allowing Buescher to earn his first Duels victory.
Bluegreen Vacations Duel Race 1 Unofficial Results
1. #6 – Brad Keselowski
2. #2 – Austin Cindric (R)
3. #12 – Ryan Blaney
4. #14 – Chase Briscoe
5. #9 – Chase Elliott
Bluegreen Vacations Duel 2 Unofficial Results
1. #17 – Chris Buescher
2. #34 – Michael McDowell
3. #21 – Harrison Burton (R)
4. #18 – Kyle Busch
5. #20 – Christopher Bell
After Noah Gragson and Jacques Villeneuve secured starting spots in the Daytona 500 based on their qualifying time trial speeds on Wednesday, two other drivers were able to claim the last two available spots in the field by competing in the Duel. Kaz Grala made a last-lap pass over JJ Yeley to earn the transfer spot in his Duel, placing Floyd Mayweather-owned No. 50 Money Team Racing in the Daytona 500 for the first time. Then, in Duel 2 , Greg Biffle was able to easily make his way for NY Racing and car owner Jonathan Cohen.