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William Byron wins second Daytona 500 qualifying race

NASCAR Daytona 500 Auto Racing

William Byron celebrates after winning the second of the two NASCAR Daytona 500 qualifying auto races at Daytona International Speedway, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020, in Daytona Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Terry Renna)


William Byron won the second Daytona 500 qualifying race Thursday night, beating Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Larson.

Byron led the final three laps after he passed Kevin Harvick for the lead with help from a push by Kurt Busch.

Harvick, who led a race-high 34 laps, finished fourth. The top five was completed by rookie Cole Custer.

As the race winner, Byron will start fourth in Sunday’s Daytona 500.

“There wasn’t any Chevy orders or anything like that,” Byron told FS1. “We just did a good job of working together. Kurt was a great pusher and great helper and I really had a lot of trust in him. I was really trying to go with one to go, but I had enough momentum out of the tri-oval, just watching old races that’s kind of where the momentum lines up. I didn’t know if I’d get that same momentum once everyone started pushing with one to go.”

The win is Byron’s first of any kind in the Cup Series. He joins Jeff Gordon and Chase Elliott, his predecessors in the No. 24, in having earned their first trip to victory lane in the Cup Series in a qualifying race.

MORE: Click here for the race results.

MORE: Joey Logano wins first Daytona 500 qualifying race

Timmy Hill was the highest finishing non-chartered - or “open” - driver, placing 16th and locking himself into the Daytona 500.

The other “open” driver in the race, JJ Yeley, was eliminated in a crash with 18 laps to go.