ThatsRacin

Ryan Reed makes it 2 for 2 with new Daytona winners

NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Ryan Reed and his team celebrate their victory in the 34th Annual Alert Today Florida 300 at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday.
NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Ryan Reed and his team celebrate their victory in the 34th Annual Alert Today Florida 300 at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday. jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

Ryan Reed powered past Brad Keselowski on the final of 120 laps and held off Roush Fenway Racing teammate Chris Buescher to win Saturday’s Alert Today Florida 300 at Daytona International Speedway.

The win is the first for Reed in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and first of any kind in NASCAR competition. His previous best finish was fourth last July at Daytona.

Ty Dillon finished third, Austin Dillon was fourth and Keselowski ended up fifth.

Turning point

An 11-car pileup on Lap 93, started when Kyle Larson hit Daniel Suarez, collected several contenders for the win, including JR Motorsports teammates Chase Elliott and Regan Smith.

Three who mattered

Ryan Reed: Reed struggled with consistency in his first full-time season last year but patiently worked his way to the front with the help of his teammate before making a move for the lead.

Kyle Busch: Busch was transported to Halifax Medical Center following a wreck with what appeared to be a leg injury. His status for Sunday’s Daytona 500 remains unclear.

Daniel Suarez: It was a tough start to the season for the rookie, who wrecked in group qualifying Saturday afternoon and then was caught up in an 11-car wreck in the race.

Observations

▪ Once again a bad wreck sent a driver – this time Kyle Busch – hitting a wall at the track not covered by the energy-absorbing SAFER barriers. It is well beyond time they should be everywhere. They offer the best return on investment there is – driver safety.

▪ Two races down, two first-time winners. Will another first-time winner emerge in Sunday’s Daytona 500?

▪ Buescher started last season by missing the Daytona season-opener, failing to qualify for the race. A second-place isn’t a win but it must sure feel like it after what transpired last season.

They said it

“Four years ago I was diagnosed with Type I diabetes and told I would never race again. Now, we’re standing in Victory Lane at Daytona.” – Ryan Reed, race winner.

Next race

Hisense 250

Where: Atlanta Motor Speedway, Hampton, Ga.

When: 2 p.m. Saturday, Fox Sports 1.

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