Quartet of crashes decimate XFINITY Series field in opening Stage at Daytona

Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images

By Aaron Bearden, Motorsports Editor

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The carnage from Friday’s Camping World Truck Series opener spilled into Saturday’s PowerShares QQQ 300 as multiple pileups brought the season-opening NASCAR XFINITY Series race to a screeching halt twice in the 30-lap opening Stage of the event.

Tyler Reddick and Scott Laggasse, Jr., were jostling for position on the backstretch during lap 23 when contact between the two cars sent Reddick’s No. 42 careening up into the outside wall.

From there the Big One proceeded to ensue as a list of contenders including Brad Keselowski, William Byron, Michael Annett and Cole Custer saw a share of the crash.

 

Others involved include: Jeff Green, Spencer Gallagher, Clint King, Jeremy Clements, Garrett Smithley, Ryan Reed, Ray Black, Jr., Austin Dillon, Anthony Kumpen, Aric Almirola, Ryan Sieg, JJ Yeley and Benny Gordon.

“It looks like we got collected there.  I saw the 42 get turned and I think we just tried to make our way through, but there was nowhere to go,” Custer said. “It’s a shame because we had a really good Haas Automation Ford Mustang.  I thought our guys did a great job.  It drafted really well and we’ll look forward to Atlanta.  I know we’ve got a lot of great people at Stewart-Haas and Ford, and I think we’ll have a lot of great runs this year.”

The resulting cleanup led to a red flag totaling more than 18 minutes as track workers hustled to clear a minefield of debris and dry the many fluids leaked by destroyed race cars.

Incredibly, the field wasn’t done crashing.

Just six laps after the first incident, a second pileup began when contact from Daniel Hemric sent the No. 7 of Justin Allgaier down into pole sitter Brandon Jones.

The two then crashed in front of the rest of the field, taking out a litany of drivers including Erik Jones, Daniel Suarez and Darrell Wallace, Jr.

The second bedlam collected 12 drivers in all, forcing another red flag for cleanup.

Others involved include: Ryan Reed, Keselowski, Harrison Rhodes, Lagasse and Blake Koch.

“I think the 7 got turned by somebody and I saw Erik didn’t lift, so I didn’t lift and we were trying to go through the middle, and I think me and Daniel collided there,” Wallace said. “It was just unfortunate circumstances that put us there.”

“Somehow the No. 7 (Justin Allgaier) got up the track and I tried to go for the middle and unfortunately I got tagged in the side and got sent into the wall,” Erik Jones said. “We worked our way up to the front and thought we had a decent car, it was not quite as good as we needed to be. I think the Hisense Camry could have run up to a top five and had a shot at it. Would have loved to made it to the end and seen what we had, but you know it was just a rough day and didn’t end the way we wanted.”

Defending series champion Suarez critiqued driving displayed on-track after his incident.

“I feel like we were racing too hard,” Suarez said. “It’s too early. I don’t really know what happened exactly. I haven’t seen the replay slowly. I feel like we have to be a little bit smarter than that. I just feel like it’s a long race and we should be a little bit more smart.”

The waning moments of the race saw more carnage, as two crashes in the final 20 laps damaged another gaggle of cars.

The first came on lap 107, as Elliott Sadler was sent spinning in front of the entire field, save for race leader Kasey Kahne, who managed to avoid damage on the day.

Then, just when the race appeared to be settled, a final collection of cars crashed behind race winner Reed coming across the start-finish line.

A fitting end to one of the wildest – and longest –  races in the second-tier series’ history.

After two wreck-filled debuts for NASCAR’s minor leagues, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will get their share of the spotlight in tomorrow’s Daytona 500.

For the sake of the drivers and owners involved, one can only hope that event will end in cleaner fashion.

One Comment

  1. Rajna Savnde

    February 26, 2017 at 11:37 am

    Yeah, not good. So far two races multiple wrecks lots of yellows and reds. That is not good racing at all. If this is what the stage format produces it is going to be a long, boring year. Wrecking is not racing. Maybe it’s just the super speedway but these two races were far worse than normal for carnage.

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