DAYTONA BEACH, Fla — We saw two separate two-car incidents on Thursday night at the Daytona International Speedway during the two 150-mile qualifying races — one in each 60 Lap race.
Half of the four cars, didn’t make Sunday’s Daytona 500 as a result of those crashes as Daniel Suarez and JJ Yeley had to race their ways in on Thursday. The other two, Ryan Blaney and Corey Lajoie, already knew that they were going to be a part of the big race on Sunday (2:30 p.m. ET/FOX/MRN) but the crash damage was too much to fix.
As a result, both were go to backup cars and drop to the rear prior to the start of Sunday’s sold out Great American Race.
Blaney, finished 14th in the 1st Duel and was slated to start 27th in Sunday’s 62nd edition of the ‘500. The Team Penske driver had a miscommunication with his team on their first pit stop and when he saw all the Fords in front of him pitting, he immediately panicked and came down pit road. Suarez, wasn’t aware he was pitting and ran into him.
For LaJoie, he was trying to draft with Yeley in the second Duel but turned him instead on Lap 43. LaJoie, would finish 19th, one lap down, and was slated to start 36th in Sunday’s race.
For Blaney, the backup car was the safe route to go. For LaJoie, it was a tougher decision as his primary car was a car from Stewart-Haas Racing. Go Fas Racing formed an alliance with SHR this past offseason and is getting cars and technical support from them. The backup car though, is last year’s superspeedway car now.
Luckily, LaJoie finished sixth in July’s Coke Zero Sugar 400 with this car.