NASCAR

NXS: Reddick Wins NASCAR’s Closest Finish in History

on

Daytona Beach, Fla — Winning by 0.000 seconds, Tyler Reddick won his second career NASCAR Xfinity Series race in quintuple overtime. NASCAR officially called it a “photo finish.”

Inside the media center winning team owner, Dale Earnhardt Jr. said, “that’s a tie right?”

The 100th race under the Xfinity banner was the closest in NASCAR national series history.

“That was insane,” said Reddick, reacting to his margin of victory. “I just saw a picture of it like 10 minutes ago, and it’s not much.”

Tyler Reddick won the PowerShare QQQ 300 by an official delta of 0.000 seconds over his teammate Elliott Sadler. Photo by Jonathan McCoy.

 

Elliott Sadler finished second after over coming a locked-bumper penalty for which he and Chase Elliott were charged. It wasn’t that Sadler raced his way back to the front though, as the end of the race was marred by half a dozen yellow flags. Wreck after wreck after wreck after wreck – such was the end of the PowerShare QQQ 300 at Daytona International speedway, suddenly Elliott was back in the top-ten despite being the culprit of one of the original overtime cautions.

Running as the leader, Daniel Suarez ran out of gas under caution on lap 127, by this time fuel was a concern for everyone. “Save save save” became a rite of passage for the crew chiefs lucky enough to still be in contention. Caution laps helped with this issue, but when two more yellow flags waved NASCAR opted to red flag the race to avert a plethora of cars running out of fuel.

The red flag lasted five minutes 27 seconds, when the race went back green it was raced clean to the finish. Sadler restarted behind his teammate, Reddick. With a strong push the Jr. Motorsports drivers surged to a single-file two car lead, the race was on from there. Sadler’s game was to back away from his teammate and then use the draft to build up momentum for a would-be race winning pass, Reddick’s chess match was to not afford Sadler the necessary separation while also not slowing so much the pack would overtake them.

Going down the backstretch Reddick was forced to throw blocks to his left and right, he staved off one attempt from another driver but was unable to keep Salder from getting to his inside. Immediately Reddick side-drafted his teammate, keeping both cars contained within each other’s momentum. The pair of teammates stayed side-by-side through turns three and four, one driver would drop air on the other’s spoiler and wheel well but then the other would do the same before they could separate from the air’s wake.  At the finish line it was a dead heat.

“When we come off four I knew I was really close to him,” said Sadler.  He was “trying to look in the mirror to see what those guys were doing as well as looking beside me. .. (Reddick) did a really good job of coming down on me at the last minute. … When my spotter came on the radio and said it was the nine car my balloon got deflated real quick.”

Comparing this defeat to the many near misses that have earmarked his career, Sadler said “this one hurts the most now because it just happened … It’s a tough finish.”

Ryan Reed was going for his third win at DIS, but he finished the season opener in third place instead. On the backstretch of the last lap, Reed surged to the outside but Reddick blocked that run before dealing with his teammate. “Congrats to Tyler,” said Reed, “he’s a great little plate racer.”

Reddick’s crew chief, David Elenz didn’t know what to think about his day at the track, saying “to beat your teammate and have it be that close, that’s incredible. I couldn’t tell who won. It’s neat to win here. It’s neat to have the closest finish ever. It’s just a lot of fun.”

One of the final yellows flew a few hundred yards before the leaders would have taken the would-be white flag. He said his feelings “went from excitement to just being concerned about the fuel.” He likes the unlimited attempts at a green flag finish but only when he has enough fuel. “I mean, I thought it was great. They had a bunch of restarts … it made for an exciting finish. I think it would have been disappointing if we finished under caution. The way the racing had been all day and the show that all the leaders put on all day … I think unlimited is a good thing.”

Last year’s winner of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season opener at DIS, Kaz Grala said his fourth place finish left him feeling as if he were in victory lane. “I think that was the most satisfying race I’ve ever driven in. Getting the win last year was obviously unbelievable but we sat on the pole with that car. This car we qualified 29th with. We really had it set up for the race and that Ford power was really strong in the pack. I am really excited to be able to finish up there. I am so proud of my guys. It is going to be a fun year getting to race with these guys 33 times.”

The race that would run 57.5 miles beyond it’s advertised distance begin with a quick tempo small dose of calamity. Coming off turn four on the tenth lap of the race Austin Cindric got loose in the middle of a three-wide pack of cars. He went to correct his fish-tailing car but over corrected, bringing about an eight car wreck. The mistake would take him, as well as Christopher Bell out of the race.

Austin Cindric’s car skids to a rest along the front stretch. Photo by Jonathan McCoy.

The leaders, drove an aggressive race from the onset. Hard blocks and tight side-drafts were the bread and butter of Saturday’s classic. Though the on track driving was relentless, no accident slowed the race again until lap 100.

Entering turn-three Reed throw what NASCAR deemed to be an overtly aggressive block on Ryan Truex, brother of reigning Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Martin Truex Jr., was forced below the yellow line and left no room to blend back onto the racing surface before reaching the 31-degree banked turn. Staying up on the wheel, Truex was able keep his car straight but the conjoined shuffling of other cars created another eight car pile up.

No more than three full laps of racing would be completed henceforth. On lap 107 two cars spun through the tri-oval grass, a similar incident occurred five laps later. With two laps to go, lap 119 Elliott Sadler spun off turn-two but saved his car from any damage – despite there being no impact, debris, or general reason to fear for on-track safety NASCAR opted to throw the yellow flag.

In was pack racing from start to finish in the NASCAR Xfinity Series season opener. Photo by Jonathan McCoy.

Overtime #1: Cup drivers, Kyle Larson, Joey Logano, and Aric Almirola pin-balled between each other’s front and rear bumpers until the veteran MENCS drivers lost control. Their mistakes created NASCAR’S quintessential wreck, the big one. In total 18 cars would be involved in the track-blocking wreck.

Overtime #2: Spencer Gallagher spun into the inside wall along the backstretch.

Overtime #3: Ryan Ellis and Kyle Larson tangled immediately after taking the green flag.

Overtime #4: Dylan Lupton had a parts failure. He careened head on into the backstretch wall.

Overtime #5: They actually raced clean to the checkered flag.

N1801_UNOFFRES
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About Camden Lazenby

Recommended for you

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *