Kyle Larson Shocked by Xfinity Win at Daytona

by Michelle Lippold On Fri, Jul. 06, 2018

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - JULY 06: Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 DC Solar Chevrolet, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Xfinity Series Coca-Cola Firecracker 250 at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2018 in Daytona Beach, Florida. Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images.

Kyle Larson brought home the victory in a wild finish at the Coca-Cola Firecracker 250 at Daytona International Speedway. Driving his No.42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet he crossed the finish line mere inches from Elliott Sadler, who came in second place.

This is Larson’s third Xfinity victory this season and his first Xfinity win at Daytona. He survived not only the “Big One” but also watching driver Justin Haley take the checkers ahead of him making him believe he didn’t win. Haley, however, went below the yellow lines which is against the rules and NASCAR ruled Larson the race winner.

“I didn’t even think I’d won until I got to the lug nut check, and they had a big screen down there,” Larson said. “And I saw a little bit of the replay and saw that he went a clipped the yellow line, so I asked about it, and they said NASCAR was talking about it, and about 10 seconds later we were declared the winner.”

He added, “It’s a little bit of a shock for me, this is awesome, to win both stages and win the race, it means a lot for me and DC Solar.”

Haley commented on NASCAR’s decision, saying, “I just wish NASCAR would tell us how much of the car we could have below the yellow line. It’s not how we wanted it to end, but I’m extremely blessed to get the opportunity. It’s amazing to be here at Daytona even though I didn’t win.”

Stage 1 of the race went caution free making for a very fast stage. The frontrunners broke away from the pack leaving the rest of the field to fight for 10th on back. The only hiccup would be from Christopher Bell who slid sideways into his pitbox when making his pit stop at the end of the stage. Larson won this stage easily.

“We got a third-place finish,” Bell said, “so I’m really proud of my team and hope we can build on this and create some momentum.”

Stage 2 would see pole sitter Ryan Preece’s day come to an early end with a mechanical failure.

“We must have got a piece of debris go through the radiator, and we lost all of the water,” Preece explained. “It cooked the motor down. Unfortunate. I felt like we were starting to make our way forward and start to work the draft.”

During the remainder of the stage, the cars pretty much stayed in two lines with the inside line being the fastest of the two. This stage, like the first, Larson would also win without really being challenged. There was one spin but the caution was already out for the end of the stage.

The final stage of 40 laps is where you held your breath and waited for what everyone knew would happen…”The Big One.”

The drivers began to lose patience in their bid to the front and started going three and four wide. On Lap 81, it happened, when Matt Tifft and Austin Cindric triggered a 17-car pileup that would bring out the red flag. Cindric would get the worst of it when his No. 60 started to barrel-roll. Luckily Cindric was treated and released from the infield care center. With three laps to go, there was another multi-car wreck and the race would go into NASCAR overtime.

A very frustrated Elliott Sadler finished in second place.

He remarked, “I just didn’t know the 24 was coming, miscommunication between my spotter and myself. I was just trying to key in on the 42. I feel like it was Daytona February all over again. I just hate it for my guys, they work way too hard for me to keep finishing second here at Daytona. It just wasn’t meant to be.”

Bell overcame his hiccup at the end of the first stage and finished third in his No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.

“We got a third-place finish,” Bell said, “so I’m really proud of my team and hope we can build on this and create some momentum.”

Ryan Blaney and Kaz Grala would round out the top five finishers. Shane Lee, Timmy Hill, Daniel Hemric, Justin Allgaier, and Ross Chastain finished sixth through 10th respectively.

Sadler leads the Xfinity Series standings with 582 points. Hemric is in second and Cole Custer in third followed by Bell in fourth and Justin Allgaier is in fifth.

The Xfinity Series heads next to Kentucky Speedway on Friday, July 13.

** The opinions expressed on this site are not necessarily those of the publisher. All comments other than website related problems need to be directed to the author. (c)SpeedwayMedia.com. **

Leave a comment





Free Shipping on Orders Over $25 at Store.NASCAR.com



Copyright © SpeedwayMedia.com. All rights reserved. - Partner of USA TODAY Sports Digital Properties.