DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.— Joey Logano and William Byron won the qualifying races that set the field for the Daytona 500.

The victory in the first 125-mile race Thursday night earned Logano a spot in the second row for the season-opening Daytona 500. Byron had already earned the second starting position, alongside pole-sitter Ricky Stenhouse Jr., in time trials at Daytona International Speedway.

The 40-car field for Sunday’s race is determined first by time trials that set the front row, then the remaining starting order is based on results from the pair of 60-lap qualifying races. There were five drivers racing Thursday night for two slots in the Daytona 500 and they went to Reed Sorenson and Timmy Hill.

Sorenson was aided in the first race when Daniel Suarez was crashed by Ryan Blaney. Hill got some breathing room in the second race after J.J. Yeley crashed.

“A lot of emotions ran through my veins the entire race,” said Hill, who will make his Daytona 500 debut. “We were in, we were out, it was nerve-racking the entire time.”

Logano won his qualifying race for the second consecutive year.

“It’s the (qualifying) Duels, not the Daytona 500,” said Logano, “but momentum is momentum.”

Logano led 19 laps in the No. 22 Ford for Team Penske, which made a three-team swap during the offseason that paired the 2018 NASCAR champion with Paul Wolfe, former crew chief for teammate Brad Keselowski. The duo got their first experience working together last weekend in an exhibition event in which a block Logano threw on Kyle Busch triggered a crash and harsh criticism from Keselowski.

Logano did not seem bothered by the start of Speedweeks and both qualifying races were much calmer than last week’s Busch Clash. That event was marred by multiple accidents and only six cars were running at the finish.

“We worked out some of the kinks last week,” he said. “We’re just ready to go to the Daytona 500.”

Sorenson raced his way into the 500 for the first time since 2015.

“Proud we made the race and this gets the ball rolling for a small team,” Sorenson said. “Everything that happens from this point is icing on the cake.”

Sorenson said he will have the green light to race hard Sunday, and repeatedly praised the Earnhardt Childress Racing engine in his car as the best he’s had at Daytona in nearly a decade.

His success came at the expense of Suarez, who has had a rocky ride in NASCAR the last three years. Suarez took another hit midway through his qualifying race when he was sandwiched between a pair of Ford drivers headed to pit road.

Suarez was caught in the middle and hit by Blaney, sending Suarez’s Toyota sliding through Daytona’s infield grass. The only Mexican full-time driver in any NASCAR national series, Suarez has lost his job with top Cup teams the last two years and the former Xfinity Series champion only signed a deal late last month to drive this season with fledgling Gaunt Brothers Racing.

The team had to race its way into the Daytona 500, but Suarez’s shot ended with the crash.

“All I want to do is go home. I don’t know, man, getting tired of this,” Suarez said.”

SURVIVAL IS is the most important skill in the Daytona 500.

NASCAR’s season opener is a three-hour, white-knuckle thrill ride in cramped quarters at 200 mph that’s as much about finding holes and help than having speed and handling.

The fastest car rarely wins and has as good a shot at ending up in the junkyard as victory lane.

It’s why little-known Michael McDowell has nearly as many top-10 finishes at Daytona International Speedway as stars Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick and Jimmie Johnson since the famed track was repaved in 2010.

McDowell is far from the only fluke. A look into recent top-10s at Daytona highlights the unpredictable nature of superspeedway racing and gives hope to every driver in the 40-car field.

“To finish first, you must finish, right?” veteran driver Clint Bowyer said. “You’ve got to get there. Literally the hardest thing to do is get to the end of that race with all four of your fenders on.”

Thirty years after Derrike Cope notched arguably the most improbable win in Daytona 500 history, the track has reached new heights – more of a “who’s that” scenario than a who’s who of auto racing running up front at the end.

“Think about the way it was when I first started, what you had to overcome handling, slipping and sliding around and a gutsy move,” said the 40-year-old Bowyer, who is 0 for 14 in “The Great American Race” and winless in 28 Cup Series starts at Daytona. “Now it’s survival. You’ve got to survive. You’ve got to figure out how to find that hole that’s a safe hole that you can survive and make it to the end.”

McDowell, Chris Buescher, Matt DiBenedetto, AJ Allmendinger, Ty Dillon and Erik Jones are among those with more top-10s at Daytona than Kyle Larson, who is considered one of NASCAR’s most complete and capable drivers.

THE TROPHY awarded to NASCAR’s champion will be called the Bill France Cup beginning this season.

The renaming is a tribute to Bill France Sr., who founded NASCAR in 1947, as well as his son, Bill France Jr., who elevated the sport to national prominence as chairman from 1972 to 2003.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP will attend Sunday’s Daytona 500, White House spokesman Judd Deere said.

Trump is scheduled to spend part of the Presidents Day weekend at his private club in Palm Beach, Florida.

The Federal Aviation Administration issued a flight restriction for Sunday and the U.S. Secret Service, which is responsible for presidential security, also tweeted to fans that drones are prohibited within 30 miles of the race in Daytona Beach – a restriction put in place for presidential visits.

NASCAR ANNOUNCED a deal with Verizon intended to give fans at its 12 racetracks better access for their phones and solve a long-simmering headache over dead zones at the sprawling venues.

The deal will improve connectivity at the 12 tracks owned by NASCAR – a problem fans have complained about for years. Even when the top Cup Series was sponsored first by Nextel and then Sprint, cellular service was spotty and often only available to customers of those specific carriers.

Verizon will work with NASCAR to upgrade in-venue wireless communication service over the next three years.

THE RACE is a sellout for the fifth consecutive year.

Some specialty tickets remain, including access to premium hospitality areas, the infield and the prerace concert featuring country/pop star Darius Rucker.

Comments are not available on this story.