2022 Daytona Duels Report

The 2022 Daytona Duels were our first chance to see the NextGen car race on a points-paying track. What did we learn about the new car? Not to mention the new drivers, old drivers with new teams, and new teams with old drivers?

RFK Racing swept the Duels, with Keselowski winning the first race (starting 9th) and Buescher (starting 14th) winning the second. Winning the duels does suggest some advantage in the Daytona 500 — provided you can avoid accidents. But it’s also possible to win the Daytona 500 from the rear, too


BlueGreen DUEL #1

The very boring lead- and caution-o-grams for the Daytona Duel race #1

BlueGreen DUEL #2

The caution and lead-o-grams for Daytona Duel #2

You can tell pretty quickly that these were two very different races. The first Daytona Duel had a lot of single-file racing, with the Chevys in the lead. Then, during green-flag pit stops, the Fords took two tires, pulled out into the lead, and never looked back.

The second race featured more traditional Daytona racing, with the lead see-sawing back and forth at the start. The second race ended when Joey Logano made a self-admitted bad attempt to block and wrecked.

Fastest Lap Times

BlueGreen DUEL #1

2022 Daytona Duel #1: Median and Fastest Laps

BlueGreen DUEL #2

2022 Daytona Duels #2: Median and fastest laps

I plotted these on the same scale for comparison. The second Daytona Duel group was overall a little faster. Mike Joy did mention that the track and ambient temperatures were about the same at the start of Duel #2.

Laps Led

BlueGreen DUEL #1

2022 Daytona Duel #1: Laps Led

BlueGreen DUEL #2

2022 Daytona Duel #2: Laps Led by different drivers

We had three leaders for the first duel, but five for the second. In both cases, the driver leading the most laps didn’t win. Race #2, especially, showed that leading on the last lap might not be the best thing — unless you’re a really skillful, and lucky, driver.

This means we’ve got a HMS front row and an RFK second row.

For more information to help you guess how drivers who did well in the 2022 Daytona Duels will do in the actual race, take a look at these articles:

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