Ryan Reed won the wrecked-fill Powershares QQQ 300 at Daytona International Speedway in NASCAR Overtime, having to come back from an earlier spin to rally his Lilly Diabetes Roush/Fenway Ford team and returning to victory lane after winning this NASCAR Xfinity series race in 2015.
The race’s demeanor from the start showed that aggressive driving was going to be theme of the day; after 10 caution flags for 42 laps, there were hardly any cars left that weren’t involved in some sort of accident, giving fans 23 different lead changes.
With the race going four laps past its scheduled distance of 120 laps, and with the series running NASCAR’s new three-stage event format for the first time, Reed blocked Kahne in Turn 2 on the first of two overtime laps and stalled his momentum to claim only his second Xfinity victory.
“I’m just so excited,” Reed said in Victory Lane. “I knew if I could run two perfect laps (in overtime) with however many blocks I had to do in those two laps, I’d be standing here. The next thing I know, we were up inside the top three and took the lead like we were shot out of a cannon.
“After that I knew how strong our race car was, and so it was up to me to get it out front, and if I get it out front, do whatever I have to do to keep it there. You don’t get race cars like that very often, and when you do, you really have to try to capitalize. Persevered through a lot of adversity today, but I felt like this race team has done that a lot over the last couple of years. We just really never gave up, and I try to emulate that in many areas of my life, whether it’s diabetes or driving race cars or anything else. It really seems to pay off; so glad to be back here.”
The one Xfinity driver who seemed to be in control at the head of the pack was Elliott Sadler, leading for 40 laps and winning the first two segments. It was the ninth caution period on lap 104 that stole his lead in a bump draft move by Austin Dillon, sending Sadler into the outside wall along with 16 additional cars in the second big one at Daytona.
“We did get the two playoff points for the stage races that go to our championship,” said Elliott, who ended up 24th in the rundown. “It was so much fun to run up front like we did. I know it was nothing intentional and we were just bump drafting, trying to get all you can get out of it. I got caught a little wrong and wrecked and couldn’t hold on to it.”
Before the race reached the end of the 30-lap first stage, the event had been red-flagged twice for a pair of massive wrecks that eliminated more than a handful of drivers expected to contend for the series championship.
Ryan Reed was tossed around three times in accidents but managed to survive to be up front at the right time, holding off Kasey Kahne, Austin Dillon, Brad Keselowski and Brendan Gaughan in fifth.
Reed leaves Daytona with a nine-point lead over second-place Gaughan, with Sadler 14 back in the NASCAR Xfinity series points standings.
The Xfinity tour heads north to Atlanta Motor Speedway for the running of the Rinnai 250 on Saturday, March 4 at 1:30 p.m. at FS1.