Kaz Grala and David Ragan raced their way into Sunday's Daytona 500 at the end of the second Duel race, as NASCAR set the field for the 63rd running of The Great American Race.
A 40-car field will take the green flag on Valentine's Day as a few rising stars will be home, nursing their broken hearts after failing to make the cut.
While the first Daytona qualifying race nixed the hopes of Ty Dillon and paved the way for Austin Cindric and Ryan Preece to make the field, the second was particularly cruel to a few. A multi-car wreck in the closing laps of the second Duel race took out Garrett Smithly and Noah Gragson from the field and got their 2021 season off to a bad start, while Kaz Grala and David Ragan benefited.
The incident occurred when Brad Keselowski stepped out of line and made contact with Smithley. This resulted in Smithley coming back up the track and collecting William Byron, Noah Gragson and Ross Chastain in what was the biggest pile-up of the evening.
Kaz Grala and David Ragan make the cut
Gragson and Smithley were unable to continue, giving Kaz Grala the final qualifying spot in Sunday's Daytona 500. David Ragan also made the field based off of his qualifying time on Wednesday night, netting him a starting spot in the top 25.
"I definitely learned a lot already, and I'll learn a lot on Saturday," Kaz Grala said after qualifying for the Daytona 500. "I knew we had to get past a hurdle just to get to Saturday practice...now that we're over the hump for the Duel, we can shift our focus."
The Duel races at Daytona once again proved to be a high stakes contest, highlighted by several promising outfits missing out on the Great American Race and having to go home.