Elliott wins Can-Am Duel


After months of offseason work, and days of practicing and qualifying laps and races at Daytona International Speedway, NASCAR's Super Bowl is fast approaching and the starting line-up is set following Thursday's Can-Am Duels. 

We already know that Chase Elliott and Dale Earnhardt Jr. will start in the front row for the Great American Race, but the rest of the starting grid was up for grabs. 

Elliott, who won pole last Sunday with the fastest single-car lap, proved he has the car to beat by also winning the first Can-Am Duel by 0.156 seconds.

"I definitely think we have a shot at it [winning Sunday]. I mean, if I didn't feel that way, like I always say, I'd stay home," said Elliott. "I feel like we have a shot on Sunday. I feel like we had a shot before we got down here."

Although the race did not mean anything for Elliott's starting spot on Sunday, the win did earn him 10 points.

For the first time since 1971, the Duels are worth points for the top 10 drivers on a 10-to-1 scale, but the winners do not get bonus points to be applied to the Cup Series playoffs.

Reigning Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin won the second Can-Am Duel, passing Earnhardt on the final lap.

Hamlin, who signed an extension with Joe Gibbs Racing before the race, will start fourth on Sunday. 

Corey LaJoie and D.J. Kennington joined Elliott Sadler and Brendan Gaughan as the four open teams to fill the Daytona 500 field. Kennington is the first Canadian to qualify for the Daytona 500 since Trevor Boys in 1988.