It was a wild one at Daytona that went 23 laps longer than scheduled due to a record number of cautions that for the majority came after stage 2. Here’s how it all went down at Daytona on Saturday.
After winning the Pole earlier in the morning, Daniel Hemric in the No. 21 South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet would bring the field to the drop of the green flag as the 2018 Xfinity Series season got underway!
Kyle Larson in the No. 42 DC Solar Chevrolet took the lead from Hemric on lap 3 for our first lead change of the race. However, Hemric would regain the top spot just one lap later.
Meanwhile, after being forced to start from the back of the field for unapproved adjustment, Joey Logano in the No. 22 Fitzgerald Glider Kits Ford had already moved into 5th place by lap 6.
After Larson retook the lead on lap nine our first caution of the day came out.
Austin Cindric in the No. 60 Pirtek Ford got loose coming into the tri-oval and lost control of his car, slamming into the No. 9 of Reddick on the inside, then bounced back into the wall. Cindric then went spinning, slams into the No. 20 of Christopher Bell who took on a ton of damage, ending his day early. Meanwhile, the rest of the field spread out in the tri-oval trying to avoid the incident, but many take on damage including the No. 19 of Brandon Jones, and the No. 18 of Daniel Suarez.
After the cleanup, the field went back under green on lap 15 with Larson in the lead. He would lead the field throughout the rest of stage 1. In fact, Larson led 29 of the 30 Stage 1 laps.
As the green flag dropped to get stage two underway on laps 35, it was Elliott Sadler in the No. 1 OneMain Financial Chevrolet out in front. However, it would only take one lap for Kyle Larson to regain the lead in the No. 42.
Larson would lead until lap 48 when Chase Elliott in the No. 88 Hellmans Chevrolet danced his way around Larson who got a bit loose coming out of turn 4.
The final ten laps of stage two saw a show put on by Elliott in the No. 88, Logano in the No. 22 and Larson in the No. 42. Elliott tried his hardest to block passing attempts from Larson and Logano as the three weaved and bobbed for the fans in awe at Daytona. Elliott would hold on to the lead through to the end of stage 2.
Stage 3 got underway on lap 67 with Aric Almirola in the No. 98 Smithfield DenBeste Water Solutions in the lead. Then the trio of show men from stage two showed up once again on lap 69 with Joey Logano in the No. 22 in the lead with Elliott in the No. 88 in 2nd with Larson in the No. 42 in 3rd and Sadler hot on their tail in 4th.
On Lap 74, Larson in the No. 42 would retake the lead, with Sadler in the No. 1 and Logano in the No. 22 riding along side him 3 wide at the line. Sadler would take the lead briefly before Logano took over the lead again before they made it to the start-finish line on lap 75.
On lap 81 the caution would fly as fluid from the No. 54 VSI Racing Toyota of Gray Gaulding leaked onto the track. They would get back to green flag racing with just 35 laps to go and Joey Logano in the No. 22 out in front.
On Lap 94, Chase Elliott and Elliott Sadler locked bumpers, which is in violation of Xfinity Series rules. They would both have to serve a pass-through penalty. Both served their penalties with just 23 laps to go. The two cars did all they could to stay on the lead lap after the pass-through cost both 36+ seconds on the leader.
Then just two laps later, the caution flew again as Ryan Reed in the No. 16 Lilly Diabetes Ford blocked the No. 11 of Ryan Truex, sending him in the grass. As Truex came back onto the track in turn 3, the field pushed up the track in turn 3. Then Cole Custer on the No. 00 got into the No. 5 of Michael Annett, which then caused a pile-up going into turn 4 with the No. 21 of Hemric, No. 38 of Jeff Green, No. 76 of Spencer Boyd, and No. 35 of Joey Gase.
With just 16 laps to go, the field went back under green with the No. 42 of Larson out in front. They would get two laps in under green before the caution flew again as the No. 5 of Annett and the No. 0 of Garrett Smithly went sideways through the infield grass coming out of turn 4.
Larson was still out in front with just 10 laps to go as the green flag dropped for the restart, before they could get around turn 1, before the No. 90 Star Tron Star Brite Stay SkyChevrolet of Josh Williams got into the No. 01 Flex Glue Chevrolet of Vinnie Miller who hit the outside wall nose-first twice. This brought out the yellow flag yet again.
It would be a five-lap shootout to the finish when the field went back to green with Larson in the No. 42 still in the lead. Larson would continue to lead the way blocking the No. 7 or Allgair and No. 22 of Logano who kept challenging for the lead with the rest of the field running three-wide, five rows deep.
With just two laps to go and the leaders freight-training down the back stretch, Chase Elliott in the No. 88 was running inside the top 5, got just slightly into the back of the No. 1 of Elliott Sadler. This sent the No. 1 sideways to the apron, and bringing out the caution. Due to the accident happening prior to the leader crossing the start-finish line, it setup a green, white, checkered restart for NASCAR overtime.
However, after getting the green flag, the field would not get back to the white flag before chaos ensued on the backstretch. Elliott in the No. 88 pushed the No. 98 of Almirola who then got into the right rear quarter panel of Larson in the No. 42, who was leading, sending him sideways. Larson’s No. 42 then clipped the No. 22 of Logano. This caused a slew of cars to pile up on the backstretch, 18 cars in total were involved in one way or another.
They then tried to do the restart in double overtime with Daniel Suarez in the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota in the lead. However, before they could get to the restart, Saurez ran out of gas in the tr-oval, eventually getting stranded just ahead of pit road. NASCAR waved off the restart and put defending Daytona Spring race winner Reed in the No. 16 in the lead.
After the restart, as the field made their way onto the backstretch and chaos ensued once again. Ross Chastain in the No. 4 Flex Seal Chevrolet spun out Spencer Gallagher in the No. 23. This would bring out yet another caution and setup triple-overtime!
As they took the green flag, the No. 11 of Ryan Truex was in the lead. This time the leader Tyler Reddick in the No. 9 Burger-Fi Chevrolet would get about 100 feet away from the start-finish line before yet another caution came out. This time it came when the No. 78 of Ryan Ellis slammed into Larson in the No. 42.
As the 4th overtime got underway, it was Reddick in the No. 9 still in the lead. Then once again, trouble ensued on the backstretch. The No. 28 thinQ Technology Partners Ford of Dylan Lupton seemed to break something in the rear suspension because he went to the apron on the backstretch before his car jerked to the right as he went nose first into the outside wall.
This brought out a race record 12th caution flag, with the red flag following suit shortly after, as they stopped the field to clean up fluid from Lupton’s car on the backstretch.
The 5th overtime would be the golden goose of the race.
The field would race clean around the track for the green, and white flag, now what ever happened, caution or checkered flag, it would be official. Making the final lap, s the field came to the checkered flag, it was Sadler in the No. 1 and Reddick in the No. 9, fighting neck and neck.
At the checkered flag, the timer read 0 for each Sadler and Reddick. It would be a photo finish, that would show Tyler Reddick ever so slightly edging out Sadler at the start-finish line to capture the win. When it was all said and done, there was just 27 cars left on the track and just 23 cars left on the lead lap in the 40 car field.
The win for Reddick marks his 2nd career win at Daytona. It was the closest ever finish in the history of NASCAR with Reddick’s margin of victory being 0.000 over Elliott Sadler.
The Xfinity Series drivers will now turn their focus to Atlanta Motor Speedway where they will race in the Rinnai 250 Saturday, Feb 24 with a start time of 2:00 p.m. ET.