Dillon pulls off the Daytona win

Austin Dillon continues his winning ways with first career victory at Daytona International Speedway.

Austin Dillon won a crash-filled Subway Firecracker 250 at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday night. 

Dillon held off the remaining nine cars on lead lap to earn his first race at Daytona and his fifth NXS victory overall. 

“It’s the best feeling in the world,” Dillon said. “Everyone wants to win the race here not matter what they’re running in.”

Elliott Sadler, Chase Elliott, Kasey Kahne and Benny Gordon rounded out the top-five finishers. 

Cautions breed cautions

After rain delayed the start by nearly an hour, the XFINITY Series was ready to roll but the first caution slowed the action two laps into the race after Bobby Gerhart spun in Turn 4. Three laps later, Cale Conley spun on the back stretch to bring out the second caution. 

The race went green again for three more laps before Derrike Cope and Austin Dillon made contact on the frontstretch, but Dillon was able to recover and was 18th by the halfway point as the race enjoyed a long green stretch. 

As teams began to pit on Lap 56, Dillon moved up to second behind Joey Logano. He took the lead on Lap 60 -- for one circuit then bided his time until the wrecking returned on Lap 81 when Conley spun the No. 14 again, this time in Turn 4. 

Brian Scott led 23 cars on the Lap 85 restart and survived at the point for six laps before Ryan Reed got loose and made contact with Ty Dillon on Lap 90. The wreck collected 12 cars including points leader Chris Buescher and forced officials to red flag the race at the 1:32:43 mark. 

“Not all the night we were looking for from our Bit-O-Honey Mustang,” said Buescher, who finished 12th. “The speed was there, it was just a matter of getting in the right spot and I didn’t do a good job of that today.”

After a 10 minute and seven second delay, Scott restarted the race with Elliott Sadler alongside and five laps to determine the race.

Dillon was running third followed by Erik Jones, David Ragan, Joey Logano, Chase Elliott, David Starr, Harrison Rhodes, Ryan Sieg and Benny Gordon. 

As Scott attempted to hold his position, he was hit from behind and plowed the left front into the wall. Scott acknowledged he was trying to be aggressive and win the race, but attempting to block cost him.  

“I’m not disappointed, I feel sick,” said Scott, who led a race-high 84 laps but finished 23rd. “I tried to time the run, thought I was sliding up and the right time.”

That’s not what Sadler saw from his window.  

“We were definitely in the catbird seat there going into the back straightaway there with Joey Logano pushing us,” Sadler said. “We had a lot of momentum coming off of turn and were making our way to the front. 

“I think Brian or either his spotter made the block too late. I was already up to his right rear tire and he made the block too late and wrecked us. It wasn’t intentional, it was just racing, It just stinks that it happened to us…second-place is a good finish — it’s a good finish for us. But it’s not what we came to Daytona to do.”

Scott's wreck set up a nine-car dash under a green-white-checkered finish with Dillon rising victorious.

Buescher retained a 34-point lead over Chase Elliott, who finished third and jumped to second in the point standings. 

Daniel Suarez, who won the pole for the event, was involved in the fifth caution and also spun on the last lap before finishing 15th. 

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About this article
Event Daytona II
Track Daytona International Speedway
Drivers Elliott Sadler , Brian Scott , Austin Dillon , Chris Buescher , Chase Elliott , Daniel Suarez
Teams Richard Childress Racing , Roush Fenway Racing , JR Motorsports
Article type Race report