Austin Cindric officially locked into Sunday’s Daytona 500 (2:30 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM Radio) following Thursday night’s Bluegreen Vacations Duel Race No. 1 at Daytona International Speedway.
As a result, Ty Dillon was knocked out of Daytona 500 contention following a sixth-place finish in the first of two 150-mile qualifying races. Timmy Hill, another driver for one of the eight Open (non-Charter) teams attempting to qualify for the race, also did not qualify for the Great American Race.
Here’s the breakdown of how Cindric qualified and Dillon did not.
• There are eight Open teams competing for four available Daytona 500 spots. Two spots are determined by results in the Duel qualifying races. The final two spots are determined by top speeds in single-car qualifying.
• Ryan Preece, driver of the No. 37 JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet, was already locked into the Daytona 500 on qualifying speed with the best time among Open cars. David Ragan logged the second-fastest speed in single-car qualifying, so he also is locked into the field.
• Preece was the highest-finishing Open car in Duel race No. 1 with a fifth-place finish. That means Preece improved his qualifying position, so his spot in the Daytona 500 was determined by his Duel result — not qualifying speed.
• Because Preece used his Duel result to qualify, Cindric was able to use his qualifying speed to transfer into the Daytona 500. Cindric finished third overall in single-car qualifying. Despite a 16th-place result in Duel race No. 1, he gets in on speed thanks to Preece’s result.
• Dillon finished one spot behind Preece in sixth place, but only the top-finishing Open driver in each Duel race advances. Because Dillon did not have a qualifying time better than Cindric, he needed to finish ahead of both drivers to make the Daytona 500. Dillon was unable to do so, sending the No. 96 Gaunt Brothers Racing team home.