Story courtesy of Kyle Pokrefky and TheFourthTurn.com
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – For the second time in the last three Februarys, Ryan Reed emerged victorious at Daytona International Speedway, claiming the victory in Saturday night's PowerShares QQQ 300.
Reed, a fourth-year regular for Roush Fenway Racing in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, notched his second career series victory in a valiant effort on Saturday. Claiming the checkered flag after going around in two separate cautions, Reed prevailed in what proved to be a survival of the fittest.
The race's carnage included a total of 10 cautions that also featured two separate red flag periods that totaled more than 45 minutes.
The various crashes took out a slew of race contenders with names such as Justin Allgaier, Brandon Jones, Erik Jones, Elliott Sadler, Daniel Suarez and Darrell Wallace Jr. retiring early from crash damage.
"I knew I had to position myself towards the front to have a shot, but also, too, you had to keep yourself out of trouble," Reed said. "And then we got in that last wreck and went to the grass for the second time. Really am over sliding through that little area of grass down there in Turn 3.
"But we came out of there again, survived it, and we went back out there and kind of felt it out. And next thing I know, we were up inside the top 3 and took the lead like we shot out of a cannon…
"We've just really never gave up, and I try and emulate that in a lot of 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."
Crossing the finish line behind the driver of the No. 16 Lilly Diabetes Ford in the top-10 were Kasey Kahne, Austin Dillon, Brad Keselowski, Brendan Gaughan, Scott Lagasse Jr., Joey Gase, Garrett Smithley, William Byron and Harrison Rhodes.
Kahne and Dillon, full-time regulars at the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series level, will both run in Sunday's Daytona 500.
Having one full race of experience under their belt for the weekend, both drivers expect the intensity witnessed on Saturday to carry over into Sunday.
"I think it's going to be pretty aggressive, and it's just going to be where you're at at the right time," Kahne said. "There's probably going to be a lot of damaged cars that finish up there at some point, but hopefully it's not like today. Hopefully we get through a little bit."
Dillon said, "I just feel like since I've been here every race that I've watched and been in has been pretty aggressive, and people are trying to lead every lap and be up front the entire race, so I wouldn't think tomorrow would be a whole lot different even being 500 miles. I think it would be pretty similar."
Saturday's race was the first for the XFINITY Series under NASCAR's new stage format.
Sadler, who finished 24th, was the leader at the conclusion of both, the first and second 30-lap stages of the race and received two playoff points and 20 regular season points for his early-race efforts. Despite the woeful finish, Sadler heads into next Saturday's race at Atlanta Motor Speedway third in points behind Reed.