Daytona Xfinity Race Needs Record Number of Restarts

(DAYTONA BEACH, FL – 17 FEB, 2018 – RIS) Tyler Reddick outlasted fate, fuel and crashes to win the PowerShares QQQ 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series race after five green-white-checker restarts, inching barely ahead of a last lap effort by teammate Elliott Sadler at the line. The race progressed cleanly until the final stage, when it appeared none of the drivers wanted the race to end. A series of spins and crashes forced the record race length and restart count. The race was originally scheduled for 120 laps but ran a total of 143 with the restarts and twelve caution periods, including the two stage-ending cautions. The margin of victory is posted by NASCAR as 0.000 second – a true photo-finish end.

Austin Cindric brought out the first caution in the race on lap 9. His car had looked loose and he got trapped in the middle with aero forces sending the No. 60 Mustang into a tank-slapper and around in heavy traffic while running in the top ten. Also involved to varying degrees were Daniel Suarez, Christopher Bell, Ryan Reed, Brandon Jones, Tyler Reddick, Josh Williams and Brandon Brown. Only Bell was unable to continue while Reed's car sported a big patch on the left front corner. "I learned that waiting until the end really isn't a thing. It is tough because you just work all year to get prepared and you work all year trying to find seats to sit in. It is just unfortunate it only lasts that long. It is longer than my Truck race lasted last year, that is a plus. I hate it for the guys on the 60 and anybody else involved. We will move on to Atlanta. I look forward to seeing how Chase (Briscoe) and those guys do in the 60. I will be in the 12. Hopefully we have a longer race down there. We were a little loose coming off of four but I need to see a replay to see how close the 18 was to my door. Those guys were getting pretty aggressive for lap 10 or wherever we were. It is unfortunate to be put in that position but we were just racing."

"I didn't see what happened," said Bell. "There was a car parked in front of me and I ran into him."

Kyle Larson took the lead from pole sitter Daniel Hemric on lap 9, holding on for the stage 'win' and then retaking the lead on the restart.

Chase Elliott side drafter around Larson for the lead starting lap 47, dragging Joey Logano with him and holding on for the second stage win. Aric Almirola used a push to move into second, with Larson third, Suarez fourth and Spencer Gallagher fifth under the green checkered flag.

Joey Logano took the lead to start Stage Three in the race, followed by Chase Elliott, with Aric Almirola, Sadler and Reed in the top five to start the final stage. Finishing lap 75, Elliott Sadler used a sweeping move around the top to take the lead after the line, but could not hold on and be scored as the leader at the line on the next lap.

Gray Gaulding's car left a smoke trail on lap 80, bringing out the caution to start lap 81 for a five-lap cleanup. Logano hung onto the lead at the restart, with Sadler on his bumper and Chase Elliott next to Sadler.

After a strong bump draft between Elliott Sadler and partner Chase Elliott violated NASCAR's rule against locking bumpers and earned them a drive-through penalty. Just two laps later, Ryan Truex got pushed onto the apron by Ryan Reed and the ensuing scramble caused a lap 97 multi-car crash that let Elliott and Sadler both regain track positions and back into potentially contending for the win.

Cautions breed cautions, with two more, one coming out on lap 105 for a front straight spin by Ryan Truex, Michael Annett and Vinnie Miller. Then Miller and Josh Williams got together with a backup on the restart and Miller got spun into the Turn One wall.

Kyle Larson and Daniel Suarez headed the field on the restart with five laps left, with Logano getting a push into second, but the race went under caution again when Elliott Sadler lost air on the rear spoiler and spun onto the back straight apron, setting up another 'overtime finish' for the series. Larson led, with Justin Allgaier second, Joey Logano third, Amlirola fourth and Suarez fifth.

Another "big one" on the back straight send almost half the field spinning, with Suarez, Reed, Reddick, Truex and Gallagher shown as the top five. The incident started with Chase Elliott pushing Almirola and then Almirola spinning, taking out Larson and many more to create a second overtime period.

As the field circulated the track, Daniel Suarez coasted to a stop on the front stretch, out of fuel, delaying the restart while the No. 18 Toyota could get pushed clear.

On the restart, Spencer Gallagher and Tyler Reddick got into a small tangle on the back straight, spinning Gallagher out of control and setting up yet another overtime.

Tyler Reddick got a good push from Ryan Reed to take the lead on the restart and a Ryan Ellis and Kyle Larson spin off of Turn Four just before Reddick took the white flag brought out yet another overtime with Elliott Sadler now in third place and Chase Elliott fifth, both with the potential to win the race following their penalty earlier, but the No. 88 car of Chase Elliott has lost its right side window and NASCAR required the team to replace it before leaving the pits. A fast run by crewmen got the window in and Elliott out of the pits just before the restart.

And going down the back straight, Dylan Lupton's car suffered a rear suspension breakage and spun on the back straight to bring out yet another caution and fuel mileage worries for all the teams. Due to the amount of oil spewed by Lupton's car, NASCAR halted the race under a red flag as the cleanup would take an extended time.

Elliott Sadler pushed Tyler Reddick out to a leat and the white flag, then dropped back to try a run down the back straight and low in Turn Four with Reed pushing Sadler into a side draft on Reddick under the checkered flag. Reddick held off Sadler's charge by only a couple of inches, with Reed third and last year's Truck Series winner at Daytona in fourth, followed by Garrett Smithley.

The win is JR Motorsports' second in a row at Daytona.

"I don't even know how close it was – it was real close." said Reddick in victory Lane after the race.

RYAN REED, No. 16 Lilly Diabetes Ford Mustang - Finishing Position: 3rd - “Daytona is such an up and down race. You never know what you are going to get when you come here. Got involved in someone else's mess early on and just tried to recover all day. We picked the right lanes late in the race and got up to the top-10, then the leaders wrecked and the next thing you know we are on the front row. I didn’t think we had a good enough car to lead there with all the damage but we could push really well. I focused on that and my Ford Mustang had a lot of power. Thanks to Roush Yates and Jack and Lilly Diabetes and everyone that supports this deal. What a great way to start the season.

KAZ GRALA, No. 24 NETTTS Ford Mustang - Finishing Position: 4th “I gotta tell you man, this feels like victory lane for me. I think that was the most satisfying race I have ever driven in. Getting the win last year was obviously unbelievable but we sat on the pole with that car. This car we qualified 29th with. We really had it set up for the race and that Ford power was really strong in the pack. I am really excited to be able to finish up there. I am so proud of my guys. It is going to be a fun year getting to race with these guys 33 times.”

JOEY LOGANO, No. 22 Fitzgerald Glider Kits Ford Mustang - Finishing Position: 34th (Accident) “We were pushing really hard up top and that’s gonna happen at the end of the race.  You’re gonna see something similar again here.  There’s gonna be a lot of hard pushing.  Hopefully, they don’t crash, but they started coming down across the race track and I was right there.  I thought I had it missed and then I think every car in the field got a piece of me along the way, so I had a great Fitzgerald Mustang, but sometimes your the bug and sometimes you’re the windshield.”

ARIC ALMIROLA, No. 98 Smithfield/DenBeste Water Solutions Ford Mustang - Finishing Position: 35th (Accident) “WHAT HAPPENED IN THE INCIDENT WITH LARSON?  “He had a really good car and led a lot of laps and was really aggressively blocking all day and doing it masterfully.  Right there he kind of pulled up to block my run and really only blocked it halfway, so when I ran into the back of him I clipped him in the right-rear quarterpanel and he started a tank-slapper.  I hate that.  Our Ford Mustang was really fast and I thought we were gonna go get us another Xfinity victory, but unfortunately we didn’t.  I’m really proud of everybody at Stewart-Haas Racing with Biagi-DenBeste.  They brought some really nice race cars and speedway racing.”

DANIEL SUÁREZ, No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing - Finishing Position: 8th - HOW STRONG WAS THE CAR? “It was good – a top-five Interstate Batteries Camry for sure. Just ran out of luck and fuel.”

Are you able to take anything from today’s race into tomorrow’s Daytona 500? “A little bit about the momentum to make the passes and such. I felt like it was helpful and a lot of fun for sure.”

BRANDON JONES, No. 19 Juniper Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing - Finishing Position: 10th - WHAT WAS THE RACE LIKE TODAY?“I’ve never had a race like this before at Daytona – this was a pretty crazy race. Heck of a race with our guys for the first time. I thought we were going to end up in the back there and not have a great day, but we ended up with a top-10 and that says a lot about this organization and a lot about what Toyota does for us. It was pretty incredible to pull off a top-10 off after looking at this car here today. All in all I enjoyed working with the team and Chris Gabehart (crew chief) and the guys. Looking forward to Atlanta because I think that’s where it’s really going to show and we will get some good performance out of this thing.”

WHAT WAS IT LIKE TO GET THROUGH YOUR FIRST RACE WITH JGR WITH A TOP-10 FINISH? “That was the craziest Daytona I’ve ever had, unreal. Just goes to show how much effort these guys put in – never gave up on our car all week. It was great to be a part of JGR this year and also to have Toyota on the car. Lots of development and lots of help from those guys and really, really proud to be a part of it. We have some momentum built up for Atlanta next weekend and I’m looking forward to see what it holds for us and hopefully 10th will be an even better finish next week.”

CHRISTOPHER BELL, No. 20 Rheem Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing - Finishing Position: 39th - NOT THE START YOU WERE HOPING FOR TO START YOUR SEASON, DO YOU PUT THIS ONE BEHIND YOU AND GET READY FOR NEXT WEEK? - “Yeah, we get ready for the rest of the season. We knew coming into Daytona there could be a mishap. We tested at Atlanta and it’s one of my favorite racetracks so I am excited to get there.”

Unofficial Race Results for the 37th Annual Powershares Qqq 300 - Saturday, February 17, 2018

Fin, Str, Driver, Car, Laps, St1, St2, Pts, Status, Tms Led, Laps, Playoff Pts
1) 9, Tyler Reddick #, No. 9 BurgerFi Chevrolet, 143, 4, 8, 50, Running, 1, 11, 5
2) 11, Elliott Sadler, No. 1 OneMain Financial Chevrolet, 143, 5, , 41, Running, 1, 2,
3) 15, Ryan Reed, No. 16 Drive Down A1C Lilly Diabetes Ford, 143, , , 34, Running, 1, 3,
4) 27, Kaz Grala #, No. 24 NETTTS Ford, 143, , , 33, Running, , ,
5) 25, Garrett Smithley, No. 0 Flex Tape Chevrolet, 143, , , 32, Running, 2, 2,
6) 4, Spencer Gallagher, No. 23 Allegiant Chevrolet, 143, 9, 5, 39, Running, , ,
7) 6, Ryan Truex, No. 11 Bar Harbor/Sea Watch International Chevrolet, 143, , 6, 35, Running, 1, 3,
8) 17, Daniel Suarez(i), No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, 143, 8, 4, 0, Running, 1, 5,
9) 23, Ross Chastain, No. 4 Flex Seal Chevrolet, 143, , , 28, Running, , ,
10) 18, Brandon Jones, No. 19 Juniper Toyota, 143, , , 27, Running, , ,
11) 31, Jeff Green, No. 38 RSS Racing Chevrolet, 143, , , 26, Running, , ,
12) 8, Chase Elliott(i), No. 88 Hellmann's Chevrolet, 143, , 1, 0, Running, 1, 17,
13) 30, Caesar Bacarella, No. 8 Alpha Prime Toyota, 143, , , 24, Running, , ,
14) 14, Cole Custer, No. 00 Haas Automation Ford, 143, 10, , 24, Running, , ,
15) 35, Stephen Leicht, No. 55 Janiking Toyota, 143, , , 22, Running, , ,
16) 24, Jeremy Clements, No. 51 Chevrolet, 143, , , 21, Running, , ,
17) 32, David Starr, No. 52 Whataburger Chevrolet, 143, , , 20, Running, , ,
18) 37, JJ Yeley, No. 39 Superior Essex Chevrolet, 143, , , 19, Running, , ,
19) 39, Matt Tifft, No. 2 Nexteer Chevrolet, 143, , , 18, Running, , ,
20) 26, Vinnie Miller #, No. 01 Flex Glue Chevrolet, 143, , , 17, Running, , ,
21) 21, Ryan Sieg, No. 93 Code Rum Chevrolet, 143, , , 16, Running, , ,
22) 40, Josh Williams, No. 90 Star Tron Star Brite/Stay Sky Hotel & Resorts Chevrolet, 143, , , 15, Running, , ,
23) 16, Joe Nemechek(i), No. 15 Fleetwing Corporation Chevrolet, 143, , , 0, Running, , ,
24) 22, Alex Labbe #, No. 36 Can-Am/Wholey/Cyclops Gear Chevrolet, 142, , , 13, Running, , ,
25) 34, Spencer Boyd #, No. 76 Grunt Style Chevrolet, 142, , , 12, Running, , ,
26) 1, Daniel Hemric, No. 21 South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet, 140, 6, 9, 18, Running, 2, 7,
27) 20, Dylan Lupton, No. 28 thinQ Technology Partners Ford, 137, , , 10, Accident, , ,
28) 36, Chad Finchum #, No. 40 Smithbilt Homes/Buddy Gregg RV's Toyota, 136, , , 9, Running, , ,
29) 2, Kyle Larson(i), No. 42 DC Solar Chevrolet, 134, 1, 3, 0, Accident, 6, 61,
30) 29, Ryan Ellis, No. 78 Densify Toyota, 133, , , 7, Accident, , ,
31) 5, Justin Allgaier, No. 7 BRANDT Professional Agriculture Chevrolet, 124, 3, 10, 15, Accident, , ,
32) 38, Austin Dillon(i), No. 3 Bass Pro Shops/Cabela's Chevrolet, 122, , 7, 0, Accident, , ,
33) 19, Joey Gase, No. 35 Sparks Chevrolet, 122, , , 4, Accident, , ,
34) 3, Joey Logano(i), No. 22 Fitzgerald Glider Kits Ford, 121, 2, , 0, Accident, 3, 28,
35) 12, Aric Almirola(i), No. 98 Smithfield/DenBeste Water Solutions Ford, 121, , 2, 0, Accident, 1, 4,
36) 28, Brandon Brown, No. 86 Chevrolet, 121, , , 1, Accident, , ,
37) 7, Michael Annett, No. 5 Pilot Flying J Chevrolet, 106, 7, , 5, Accident, , ,
38) 33, Gray Gaulding, No. 54 VSI Racing Toyota, 82, , , 0, Rear Gear, , ,
39) 13, Christopher Bell #, No. 20 Rheem Toyota, 11, , , 1, Accident, , ,
40) 10, Austin Cindric #, No. 60 Pirtek Ford, 10, , , 1, Accident, , ,
(i) Ineligible for driver points in this series,, (#) Rookie

Total Race Length - 143 Laps - 357.5 Miles
Time of Race: 03 Hrs, 00 Mins, 06 Secs.
Average Speed: 119.100 MPH
Margin of Victory: 0.000 Seconds
Race Comments: Tyler Reddick won the PowerShares QQQ 300 at Daytona International Speedway, his second NASCAR Xfinity Series win.
Prior to the start of the race, the following trucks dropped to the rear of the field under penalty: Nos. 22, 40 (unapproved adjustments); No. 01 (engines change).
Failed to Qualify: (6) 99 Ray Black II, 25 Chris Cockrum, 66 Timmy Hill, 89 Morgan Shepherd, 45 Josh Bilicki #, 74 Mike Harmon.
Caution Flags: 12 for 49 laps: Laps: 11-14 (No. 60, 16, 19, 18, 9, 20, 90, 86 Incident Frontstretch [No Beneficiary])
32-35 (Stage 1 Conclusion [None])
62-66 (Stage 2 Conclusion [2])
83-86 (Possible Fluid On Track From No. 54 [86])
100-104 (No. 21, 38, 76, 35, 11, 00, 16, 5 Incident Turns 3 and 4 [40])
107-110 (No. 11, 5, 01 Incident Frontstretch [38])
112-115 (No. 90, 01 Incident Frontstretch [0])
119-121 (No. 1 Spin Backstretch [01])
123-129 (No. 42,2,22,51,98,00,28,86,18,7,19,3,88,15,52,38,9,8 Incident Backstretch [01])
131-132 (No. 23 Spin Backstretch [15])
134-137 (No. 78, 42, Incident Frontstretch [15])
139-141 (No. 28 Incident Backstretch [Red Flag 5:27} [76]).
Lead Changes: 19 among 11 drivers:
D. Hemric 1-2
K. Larson(i) 3
D. Hemric 4-8
K. Larson(i) 9-32
G. Smithley 33
E. Sadler 34-35
K. Larson(i) 36-46
C. Elliott(i) 47-63
G. Smithley 64
A. Almirola(i) 65-68
J. Logano(i) 69-74
K. Larson(i) 75
J. Logano(i) 76-96
K. Larson(i) 97-103
J. Logano(i) 104
K. Larson(i) 105-121
D. Suarez(i) 122-126
R. Reed 127-129
R. Truex 130-132
T. Reddick No.  133-143.
Mahle Clevite Engine Builder of the Race:  Hendrick Engines, No. 9
Mobil 1 Driver of the Race:  Tyler Reddick, No. 9
Sunoco Rookie of the Race:  Tyler Reddick, No. 9

John Davison

Long-time RIS staffer, beginning in the mid-80s. Charlotte, NC area local contact.

Read More on Cup / XFINITY / Truck news
Volume 2018, Issue 2, Posted 7:28 PM, 02.17.2018