NASCAR Xfinity: Ryan Reed wins crash-filled race at Daytona
Ryan Reed celebrates winning the PowerShares QQQ 300 at Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 25, 2017 (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR).
By AMANDA VINCENT
Ryan Reed survived an attrition-filled PowerShares QQQ 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series races at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway Saturday to win the series season-opener. It was his second-career win and his second trip to victory lane at Daytona. His first came in 2015.
“I’ve had so many people come up and tell me how amazing my first win was,” Reed said. “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. These guys right here, so many of them were with me last year, a lot of new guys. Having Lilly Diabetes stay with us, our fourth year, that’s something that a lot of people can’t say that they have the privilege to do. Thank you to them. What an amazing sponsor. Ford, Jack (Roush, car owner), American Diabetes Association, stood by me when things weren’t the greatest. But the end of last year, I said that we were going to go to Speedweeks, and here we are. We’re locked into the Chase. I hope everyone at home watched it on their Xfinity X1. That, right there, was fun.”
With several cars wrecking behind them, Kasey Kahne finished second, Austin Dillon was third, Brad Keselowski fourth, and Brendan Gaughan rounded out the top-five.
Although it ended in victory lane, Reed’s race wasn’t incident free. He was one of the nearly 20 drivers caught up in the first big wreck of the day on lap 23.
There were multiple big wrecks throughout the 124-lap race, two of them resulting in lengthy red flags for track clean-up. The two red flags, both before lap 30, combined for more than 45 minutes of stoppage. Another, smaller, wreck in the closing laps sent the race into overtime, extending the distance to 124 laps. In all, the yellow flag waved 10 times.
“It’s Daytona,” Cole Custer, who was retired from the race in an early crash, said. “You’re gonna have this all the time.”
Through the carnage, Elliott Sadler led 40 laps and was up front at the end of the first two of the three stages that made up the first race for the Xfinity Series under NASCAR’s new stage format. He lost the lead to Dillon on lap 66, and with 17 laps remaining, he spun, collecting several other cars in a multi-car wreck.
Kahne and Reed battled for the lead inside the final 10 laps of the race. Reed took the lead with an assist from Keselowski with three laps remaining in the race’s scheduled distance.
“Oh, man, Herm, my spotter, he is as good as it gets, particularly at a restrictor-plate race,” Reed said. “He was my eyes and ears. I have studied so much of this, and for every right move I made tonight, I’ve made a wrong move. I tried to apply everything I’ve learned and done wrong and try to do everything right. I thought If I could run two perfect laps and throw as many blocks as it took in those laps that we would be standing right here (in victory lane). I know how many hours they have put in. You want to put the race car that deserves to be in victory lane in victory lane.”
Finishing sixth through 10th were Scott Lagasse Jr., Joey Gase, Garrett Smithley, William Byron and Harrison Rhodes.