Ryan Reed earns first XFINITY win at Daytona
February 21, 2015, Reid Spencer, NASCAR Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- With a spectacular last-lap move to the inside, not to mention a timely shove from Roush Fenway Racing teammate Chris Buescher, Ryan Reed stormed to his first NASCAR XFINITY Series victory in Saturday's Alert Today Florida 300 at Daytona International Speedway.
"Oh, my God, we won Daytona!" exulted Reed, who has overcome a diagnosis of Type I diabetes to drive full-time in the XFINITY Series.
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Buescher finished second, .089 seconds behind, with Ty Dillon, Austin Dillon and Brad Keselowski claiming positions three through five. Keselowski was leading at the white flag, but a last-lap crash in Turn 1 left him alone in front of the field and a prime target for the Roush Fenway tandem.
On Lap 112, during a 10-car wreck that started at the exit from the tri-oval, Kyle Busch crashed nose-first into the concrete wall inside Turn 1. Busch climbed from his car but was unable to stay on his feet.
Emergency medical technicians put an air cast on Busch's right leg before lifting him on a stretcher into a waiting ambulance. The driver of the No. 54 Toyota was transported directly to Halifax Medical Center for further evaluation. Busch was awake and alert and undergoing treatment for his leg injury. Joe Gibbs Racing said Busch will not drive in Sunday's Daytona 500, and the organization is making contingency plans. Sunday's race will be the first Sprint Cup event since the penultimate event of the 2001 season without one of the Busch brothers (Kurt or Kyle) in the field.
In a race where attrition was the watchword, Reed was one of nine drivers to finish on the lead lap.
"For every kid that gets diagnosed with diabetes, or anything that says you can’t do something, just go out there and overcome it and do it," Reed said. "This is unreal. It hasn't even sunk in yet. ...
"When the wreck broke out of the least lap, Keselowski was out there on an island, and we got a huge run and it set up perfectly. ... It's amazing."
After failing to qualify for the Daytona race last year, Buescher was elated with his second-place run, especially since he finished runner-up to a teammate.
"We're just happy to be running this race this year," Buescher said. "After last year going the way it did, we're proud that we were in it. Our Ford Mustang was fast all weekend. Just trying to stay out of trouble, and there was a lot of it.
"We barely got out of it. I think we ended up, me and Ty, at one point getting through one of those last ones. It was a melee, a lot of torn up equipment. Just happy we could get out of it. Happy for Ryan to get his first win, knowing the feeling after last year (when he got his first win at Mid-Ohio) of finally getting one off your back."
Chase Elliott's XFINITY Series title defense got off to a rocky start. Elliott was an innocent victim of a 13-car wreck on Lap 93 but continued after repairs. The coup de grace for the driver of the No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevy came on Lap 112, when he was sidelined in the same wreck that injured Busch.
The DNF (did not finish) was Elliott’s first in 34 XFINITY Series starts.
Darrell Wallace Jr. and Elliott Sadler finished 12th and 19th, respectively, in their first events for Roush Fenway Racing.