Brad Keselowski wins Daytona Duel 1
RFK Racing’s Brad Keselowski won the first of two Duel qualifying races Thursday night at Daytona International Speedway.
As a result, Keselowski will start third in Sunday’s Daytona 500 behind the front row of pole sitter Kyle Larson and Alex Bowman.
MORE: Daytona Duel 1 results
Keselowski, who became a driver/owner at RFK over the off-season, took the lead with four laps to go. He held off fellow Ford drivers Austin Cindric, Ryan Blaney and Chase Briscoe to the finish.
“I felt pretty good about our car in practice on Tuesday, and I gotta give credit to the Fords,” Keselowski told Fox Sports. “We worked really well together ... We stuck together and we drove away and we got ourselves in position where we could control the finish of this race.
“I’m happy to see all those Fords up front. Good job to all those guys.”
Farther back, Kaz Grala passed J.J. Yeley on the final lap of the Duel to finish 18th. As the top finisher among non-chartered drivers, Grala secured his spot in Sunday’s race.
Grala, who drives for The Money Team Racing (co-owned by boxing legend Floyd Mayweather), tracked down Yeley by running in the draft.
“We got into a little line there with Kurt Busch pushing us and we were running fast lap times and I was hoping the timing was gonna work out,” Grala told Fox Sports. “It wasn’t by much, but it did. We caught him in (Turns) 1 and 2 on the very last lap and was able to get by [Yeley] for it.
“Pulled a couple years off my life, but it doesn’t matter because we’re gonna be out there on Sunday.”
WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Grala’s last-lap heroics came after he was penalized for speeding on pit road under green flag conditions at Lap 35.
WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Yeley appeared to have a transfer into the Daytona 500 in hand after Grala’s penalty - only to have Grala catch and pass him in the nick of time.
NOTABLE: Keselowski earned his first career Daytona Duel win.
NEXT: The 64th Daytona 500, Sunday, 2:30 p.m. ET on FOX