Daytona 500 2021: NASCAR Faces Backlash Over Duel Rule, Following ‘Heartbreak’ Post

by Kayla Zadel

NASCAR has introduced several new rules over the past couple of years and the repercussion of the Duel Rule has eliminated a favorite racer. As a result, there has been fallout from fans.

Tyrone “Ty” Dillion has been knocked out of the Daytona 500 after Thursday night’s Bluegreen Vacations Duel Race No. 1 at Daytona International Speedway. He finished sixth place in the first two 150-mile qualifying races.

The official NASCAR Twitter account shared this photo with the caption, “Heartbreak,” after the Dillion’s crushing conquering, and completely missing the Daytona 500. Dillon can be seen slumped over his No. 96 Toyota Camry.

Fans aren’t too happy with the outcome and they’re definitely not happy with the post that NASCAR shared on social media.

One person writes, “Heartbreak? How about fix the duel rule. This was dumb. Highest finishing car from each duel makes it. Locked in open cars don’t count towards the cars that need to race in. Idiotic.”

“If only he had beat the other cars he was battling for the open spot, oh wait he did…” shares another poster.

“Andddddd change the dang rule already,” “Dumb Rule and Ratio, ” and “Your stupid rules,” pepper the comments underneath the Twitter post.

NASCAR Explains Qualification

Long-time and new fans of the stock car sport are confused and more importantly mad about how the way things shook out Thursday night. So much so, that has published a story sharing how Austin Cindric qualified for the 2021 Daytona 500.

According to the post that shares more details on the Duel Rule, there are wight Open teams competing for four available sports in Daytona 500. Two of the spots are determined by results in the Duel qualifying races. Additionally, the two final spots are decided by top speeds in single-car qualifying.

Here’s how Dillon was eliminated, leaving Cindric punching his ticket to the big race.

Ryan Preece had already qualified for the Daytona 500 with the best speed among Open cars. David Rogan was the second-fastest speed in single-car qualifying. As a result, he is also locked into the lineup.

Furthermore, Preece was the highest-finishing Open car in Duel race No. 1 with a fifth-place finish. As a result, Preece’s qualifying position is the determining factor here for his spot in the Daytona 500. Taking the speed factor out of the equation here.

Preece used his Duel result to qualify, meaning Cindric was able to use his qualifying speed to transfer into the NASCAR Daytona 500. Even though he finished 16th-place in Duel race No. 1, Cindric gets in the Daytona 500 on speed thanks to Preece’s result.

Dillon finished one spot behind Preece in sixth place. However, only the top-finishing Open driver in each Duel race advances. Because Dillon did not have a better qualifying time than Cindric, he needed to finish ahead of both drivers to make the NASCAR Daytona 500. Dillon was unable to do just that. As a result, the No 96 Gaunt Brothers Racing team is going home.

NASCAR Duel Rule

NASCAR breaks down the duel rule and explains how Daytona 500 qualifying works.

The entity explains how the duels help set the Daytona 500 lineup.

“Single-car qualifying on Wednesday will set the front row for the Daytona 500. The duels will determine the majority of the rest of the lineup. For the start of the Daytona 500, the finishers from Duel 1 will line up on the inside row in order of their Duel finish. Meanwhile, the finishers from Duel 2 will line up on the outside row in order of their Duel finish.”

NASCAR explains the duel format.

“There are two separate duels races on Thursday night, every 60 laps or 150 miles in length. The lineup for the duels is set by Wednesday’s single-car qualifying. The odd-numbered finishers in single-car qualifying will line up in Duel 1, while the even-numbered finishers will line up in Duel 2 — although NASCAR will ensure there are an equal number of Open, or non-Charter teams, in each Duel race.”