Reed survives multiple wrecks to win NASCAR Xfinity opener at Daytona
Ryan Reed is now a two-time winner at Daytona, the only wins of his NASCAR career.
Reed, blocking from the bottom of the track to the top, held off Kasey Kahne in overtime to win the NASCAR Xfinity Series series opener at Daytona International Speedway.
Kahne repeatedly tried to get around Reed during the two-lap overtime but could never complete the pass.
Reed, whose only previous NASCAR win came Xfinity series opener in 2015, earned the second win of his career in 106th series start.
He survived to battle at the finish for the win despite being collected in several of the multi-car wrecks that plagued Saturday’s Powershares QQQ 300.
Austin Dillon finished third, Brad Keselowski was fourth and Brendan Gaughan was fifth.
“I couldn’t tell if I was clear, but I studied so much tape. I ran a Cup race last year at Talladega and I learned so much from that and I tried to apply everything I learned and take a chance,” Reed said from Victory Lane. “It was a gamble, but if you’re going to gamble, you might as gamble on a win.”
Reed said drew on inspiration from fans during his nearly two-year winless streak.
“I’ve had so many people come up and tell me how amazing my first win (at Daytona) was. A lot of people know that I have Type 1 Diabetes and to see what (that) win meant to so many people drove me to get back to Victory Lane,” he said.
“We’re locked into the Chase. That right there was fun.”
Kahne said he was lucky to have a fast car, which helped him avoid most of the wrecks.
“I just gave up the lead there with about six (laps) to go, and then the (last) restart got a little bit bottled up there. I think (Ty Dillon) was out of gas. So we all got split up, and there just really wasn't a lot of momentum anywhere, so we ended up second.
“But still a good performance for our team, and guys did a nice job. Reed did a good job of holding everybody off.”
Elliott Sadler, who led 40 laps and won the first two segments, got hit by Austin Dillon on Lap 104 and was knocked out of contention for the win.
“I know it wasn't intentional, but we had a freakin’ rocket,” Sadler said over his team radio.
Sadler completed a sweep of the stage wins, taking the victory in the second 30-lap segment under caution when a wreck erupted on Lap 59.
Keselowski tapped Brennan Poole from behind, and Poole then slammed into Blake Koch to start that accident.
Austin Dillon finished second in the stage, Ty Dillon was third, Reed was fourth and Keselowski fifth.
By the end of the first two stages, Sadler had collected 20 points toward the race total and two playoff points toward the series championship.
William Byron was forced to make a green-flag pit stop during the stage and changed batteries. He returned to the track and was running two laps down after 60 laps.
Sadler earned the win of the first segment under caution following a 13-car wreck that erupted on Lap 29 in Turn 4.
The incident began when Daniel Hemric made contact with Justin Allgaier near the front of the field. Among the other contenders who were collected in that incident were Daniel Suarez, Erik Jones and pole-winner Brandon Jones.
“I feel like we were racing too hard. It’s too early. I don’t really know what happened exactly,” Suarez said. “I feel like we have to be a little bit smarter than that. I just feel like it’s a long race and we should be a little bit more smart.”
When the caution was displayed and Sadler was credited with the stage win, Kahne finished second, Poole third, Ty Dillon fourth and Koch rounded out the top five.
The top 10 drivers of each stage receive points toward their race total on a 10-to-1 scale.
The race was halted nearly 28 minutes to clear the track of debris and to make repairs to the energy-absorbing SAFER barriers.
The Lap 29 wreck came on the heels of another incident on Lap 23 which began when Scott Lagasse made contact in Turn 3 with Tyler Reddick, which ignited a 20-car wreck.
Among those suffering serious damage were rookies Byron and Cole Custer, Keselowski, Reed and Gaughan.
The race was stopped for more than 18 minutes this time to clean the track of debris.
“I saw (Reddick) get turned and I think we just tried to make our way through, but there was nowhere to go,” Custer said.
“It’s a shame because we had a really good (car). I thought our guys did a great job. It drafted really well and we’ll look forward to Atlanta.”
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