Tyler Reddick wins Xfinity Series opener at Daytona in overtime finish
Tyler Reddick won the Xfinity Series opener at Daytona after a track record 12 cautions, a record five restarts in overtime and one red flag period.
Driving the No. 9 Chevrolet, Reddick beat his JR Motorsports teammate Elliott Sadler in the closest finish in national NASCAR series history, earning his second Xfinity win.
The margin of victory was 0.0004.
“That was insane. I just saw a picture of it like 10 minutes ago. It’s not much,” Reddick said in the winner’s press conference. “I guess it was just enough, just soon enough.”
The previous closest finish was .001 in the 1995 Truck Series race at Colorado National Speedway, won by Butch Miller over Mike Skinner.
The top five was completed by Ryan Reed, rookie Kaz Grala and Garrett Smithley.
“Feels amazing,” Reddick told Fox Sports 1. “This was a hell of a way to start off the year with JR Motorsports. ... This is a hell of way to get my second win, my first win with JR Motorsports.”
Reddick is now qualified for the Xfinity playoffs.
“I think it’s an amazing opportunity,” Reddick said. “It’s just going to take a little bit of time to het honed in. I guess we’re getting along good right off the bat. We were having some problems all day long. We were having some issues with the motor. I don’t know exactly what it was, but it held on all race long. It was getting worse at the end.”
Reddick, 22, led 11 laps in the race. None of them were in regulation.
Overtime was setup by a spin by Sadler with three laps to go in the scheduled distance on the backstretch. Sadler had previously been black flagged along with Chase Elliott for locking their bumpers together for too long with 26 to go.
Sadler was able to mount a comeback thanks to a crash with 22 to go.
It resulted in his third runner-up finish in the last three restrictor-plate races.
“I was trying to figure out how close to get to (Reddick),” Sadler told Fox Sports 1. “My spotter was telling me the 16 (Reed) was coming too, so I didn’t want to leave him the outside. Man, I really want to win this race. Most eventful race I’ve ever been a part of. Spun there twice. Got black flagged for absolutely no reason in my opinion but that’s the way it goes. ... I’m proud that a JR Motorsports car went to victory lane, but I wish it was us today.”
Originally scheduled for 120 laps, the race ended after 143 laps. That’s a series record at Daytona.
The first overtime attempt was marred by a massive wreck on the backstretch that involved 18 cars.
The race marked the 100th for Xfinity as the series sponsor.
STAGE 1 WINNER: Kyle Larson
STAGE 2 WINNER: Chase Elliott
WHO HAD A GOOD DAY: Garrett Smithley bounced back from a late-race accident to earn his first top five in his 67th start. His previous best result was eighth in this race last year ... Ryan Reed earned his sixth top five. Four have come at Daytona ... Spencer Gallagher finished a career-best sixth in his 41st start. Gallagher had been involved in a one-car accident on the second overtime restart ... Jeff Green finished 11th for his best finish since placing 10th at Talladega last year.
WHO HAD A BAD DAY: In his first start on an oval in Xfinity, Austin Cindric started a eight-car wreck in the tri-oval as the field began Lap 11. The wreck eliminated Cindric and Christopher Bell … With 14 to go in the original distance, the caution waived for separate spins by Garrett Smithley and Michael Annett in the tri-oval. Smithley was turned by Ryan Truex and Annett was turned by Brandon Jones … Drivers included in the massive crash on first overtime restart: Kyle Larson, Joey Logano, Chase Elliot, Joey Gase, Aric Almirola, Justin Allgaier, Austin Dillon, Matt Tifft, Jeremy Clements, Joe Nemechek, Brandon Brown, Cole Custer, Daniel Suarez, Brandon Jones, David Starr, Jeff Green, Dylan Lupton and Caesar Bacarella.
NOTABLE: Reddick’s win is his second at Daytona. He won the 2015 Truck Series opener at the track. The average age of the field was 28 years, 10 months and 11 days, the youngest ever at Daytona ... The 357.5 miles in the race is the second longest race in series history in terms of miles.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “When I have enough fuel, yes.” - David Elenz, crew chief for Tyler Reddick when asked if he likes unlimited restarts in overtime.
QUOTE OF THE DAY 2: “Either way, fine with me.” - JR Motorsports owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. after being told the margin of victory was the closest in history.
WHAT’S NEXT: Rinnai 250 at Atlanta Motor Speedway at 2 p.m. ET on Feb. 24 on Fox Sports 1.