Mears, Reddick Locked into 61st Daytona 500

(Photo: Zach Catanzareti/KTT)

By: Zach Catanzareti, Staff Writer

Two drivers had pressure lifted off their shoulders Sunday afternoon, locking themselves into next Sunday’s Daytona 500 from Daytona International Speedway.

That was Casey Mears and Tyler Reddick, two drivers who confirmed their destiny in the Great American Race by locking themselves in through pure single-car speed during Sunday’s qualifying session.

Mears ran 47.406 seconds (189.849 mph) around the 2.5-mile speedway, good enough for 26th quickest of 42 entries. That placed Mears in the green to make what will be his 13th Daytona 500 start, returning to Germain Racing for his first Monster Energy Cup event since 2016.

Reddick, however, will see his first-ever green flag in a Cup event on Sunday, making his debut for Richard Childress Racing and their No. 31 Chevrolet. The reigning Xfinity Series champion turned a 47.161 (190.836 mph) to qualify 16th, more than enough to onfirm his spot in the race.

Reddick will have two teammates to work with, rookie Daniel Hemric and 2018 Daytona 500 winner Austin Dillon. Mears will have Ty Dillon to work with, a both will race in the same Gander RV Duel on Thursday night.

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