XFINITY: Reed Holds Off Cup Stars For Second-Career Daytona Win

Kyle Souza Featured, XFINITY 0 Comments

Ryan Reed celebrates his NASCAR XFINITY Series win on Saturday at Daytona Int’l Speedway. (Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR photo)

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Six years ago, Ryan Reed was told he would never race again, and now he has defied the odds and become a two-time winner at the World Center of Racing.

After restarting outside the top-10 with under 15 laps to go, Reed recaptured his magic at Daytona Int’l Speedway and danced his way to the front Saturday evening, taking the win in the season-opening PowerShares QQQ 300.

Reed got a huge push from Austin Dillon on an overtime restart, holding off every charge that Dillon and Kasey Kahne threw at him over the final two laps to score his second-career XFINITY victory and back up his win in the 2015 edition of the event.

“I’ve thought about this a lot,” Reed said in victory lane. “I’ve had so amny of people come up to me and tell me how amazing my first win was for so many people. A lot of people know that I have Type 1 diabetes and to see what that win did, it drove me to get back here to victory lane again.”

“So many people have stuck by me when things weren’t the greatest. The end of last year, I told everyone we had a lot of momentum and we were going to unload fast here at Speedweeks. So many good things are happening right now … and that was a lot of fun. I don’t know what it looked like from the stands or on TV, but from my point of view it was pretty fun!”

The move of the race came as the field was steaming off the turn two banking, when Kahne had a look to the bottom of the race track and Reed slammed the door shut, getting enough of a shove to carry him back to the flag.

“I couldn’t tell if I was quite clear, but I’ve studied so much tape … I ran a Cup race at Talladega last fall and learned so much from that; I just tried to apply everything I’ve learned and take a chance. It was a gamble, but if you’re going to gamble, you might as well gamble on a win, right?

“I’m just so excited to celebrate with all of these guys. Let’s go get some more of this. Let’s go get a championship.”

A frantic run to the line saw Kahne hang on for second, but the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series veteran said there wasn’t much he could do on the final lap after losing a lot of the drafting help he had behind him.

“I had a great car. I could have held the lead (before the final caution) instead of letting the Dillon brothers get to the outside of me and shuffle me back, but there was just enough space that I was covering the inside and they got to my right-rear (fender),” Kahne lamented. “We made another attempt on that last run, but Brad (Keselowski) was trying to get runs from behind him and we just never got enough momentum to get by the 16 (Reed).”

Austin Dillon diced his way through both the inside and outside lanes before coming back up through the chaos to record a third-place result, all after his brother Ty ran out of fuel on the final restart and bottled up the inside lane.

“I heard that the 3 (Ty) had run out of gas and I didn’t know who would get to the 22 (Keselowski), so I tried to get Reed as far out there as I could and I got too far. They were gonna have a heck of a run (Kahne and Keselowski). I was really wanting to work with the 88 (Kahne) and when Ty didn’t have the fuel, it killed us.”

Keselowski and Brendan Gaughan completed the top five, followed by Scott Lagasse Jr., Joey Gase, Garrett Smithley, William Byron and Harrison Rhodes.

Several cars crashed in the back of the field just past the finish line, with 11th-place Matt Tifft taking a severe hit to his Toyota along with Brandon Hightower, Michael Annett and Koch. All drivers involved in the last-lap crash were evaluated and released from the medical center.

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