. - DAYTONA BEACH, FL (WMBF) - Dale Earnhardt Jr. wrapped up a special day at Daytona International Speedway with a Can-Am Duel win. Thursday marks the 15 year anniversary of the death of his father, Dale Earnhardt, at the same track.
"It's really special," Earnhardt Jr. said after the win. "I'm guilty of daydreaming a little bit about winning this race tonight because of the day. That was special to me. Glad nothing bad happened, that we didn't tear our car up, because that would have been embarrassing on a day like this."
Junior had plenty of praise for his No. 88 Chevrolet. He never fell lower than third, starting second and finish on top.
"The car is awesome," Dale said. "When you have a car that you know can do the things that this car can do, you're willing to take those gambles and risks to pull out and pass and not worry about getting shuffled to the back."
Earnhardt Jr. will start Sunday's race on the inside lane behind pole-sitter Chase Elliott. Ryan Blaney and Michael McDowell raced their way into the Daytona 500 in the night's first Duel.
Kyle Busch not only won Duel number two, he also moved into the front row of Sunday's race. Matt Kenseth was locked into that spot at the start of Thursday's race, but was involved in a crash on the final lap. Kenseth and his backup car will move to the back of the Daytona 500 field. Jimmie Johnson, Martin Truex, Jr. and Danica Patrick were among the other drivers involved in that crash.
"We'll get our chance to start on the front row," Busch said, "so that's pretty cool. For us, it's all good. Ready for Sunday."
Robert Richardson and Matt DiBenedetto raced their way into Sunday's race thanks to strong finishes in the second Can-Am Duel of the night.
Copyright 2016 WMBF News. All rights reserved.