DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – William Byron survived three red flag periods to score his second-straight NASCAR XFINITY Series victory on Saturday at Daytona Int’l Speedway during the Coca-Cola Firecracker 250.
The Coca-Cola Firecracker 250 was originally scheduled for Friday evening, but rain less than 10 laps into the race forced officials to postpone the race until Saturday afternoon. The race was stopped again midway through the second stage when another storm hit the track, leading to a two-and-a-half-hour red flag.
Through all that, Byron stayed in contention. He was the race leader when the third and final stage began on lap 66 and stayed at the front for the next 15 laps before giving up the lead to Ty Dillon on lap 84.
One lap later the caution flag waved for a crash at the bag of the field when Jeremy Clements got turned around, also collecting Chris Cockrum in the process.
Dillon was the leader on the restart on the inside, with Logano lined up to his outside ahead of Elliott Sadler, polesitter Brennan Poole, Tyler Reddick and Byron. When the race resumed with 10 laps left Dillon got a push from Sadler to take the lead, but Logano saw an opportunity to get to the front.
Logano got a run on the outside with nine laps left, taking the lead for the first time all day in turns one and two. One lap later the caution waved again when Poole, who was running second, got turned out of the outside line in the tri-oval. The crash also collected Dillon, but thankfully neither car slid back up the track in front of the field.
The race leader was now Logano, with Byron avoiding the crashing cars of Dillon and Poole to move into second. Sadler was now third, followed by Ryan Reed and Michael Annett.
The green flag waved again with four laps left and immediately racing at the front got intense. Logano was doing everything he could to block both lanes to maintain the lead while Byron, Reed and Sadler all looked for a way around him.
As the battle at the front continued Logano’s shot at victory ended when he got a big bump on the bottom lane, which turned him into the grass down the backstretch. He was able to save the car and not spin, but he returned to the track at the rear of the field with grass all over his grill.
Meanwhile, the battle for the lead continued to intensify. Byron, who inherited the lead after Logano’s issue, found himself fighting with Reed for the race lead. Reed got to the top spot on the top side with help from Erik Jones, with Sadler pushing Byron on the bottom. Byron was able to push back into the lead down the backstretch with two laps left, but the race was far from over.
Behind the leaders the big one finally struck. Brandon Jones got turned into the outside wall in the middle of the pack and the resulting crash collected more than a dozen cars. While that was going on, Reed spun at the front of the field after contact with Erik Jones and Sadler, ending his shot at victory.
NASCAR called for the red flag for the third time during the race to clean up all the debris from the crash on the backstretch. After everything was claned up Byron found himself back in the lead with Erik Jones in second, Sadler third, Jeb Burton fourth and Dakoda Armstrong in fifth for an overtime restart.
When the green flag waved for the overtime restart Erik Jones suddenly jumped out of line on the outside when his Toyota Camry ran out of gas. That left Byron on the inside to easily lead the field. The battle was for second behind Byron, as Sadler found himself under attack from Armstrong.
As the field roared out of turn two towards the overtime line Byron remained out front. Just as Byron reached the overtime line on the backstretch a crash in the back half of the field brought out another caution flag, officially ending the race as Byron became the youngest Daytona XFINITY race winner in track history at just 19 years old.
“This is so cool to win at Daytona. I can’t even imagine it,” said Byron, who had to start the race at the tail of the field for unapproved adjustments. “The guys brought a great JRM car. Hopefully this is a good sign and Dale (Earnhardt Jr.) can get it done (tonight).
“This is really cool for our team and just really proud of everybody,” Byron continued. “It’s just really awesome to win at Daytona.”
Sadler, who won the second stage to earn a playoff point, was unofficially scored second. Armstrong scored a career-best third place finish a week after finishing fifth at Iowa Speedway. Burton was scored fourth, with David Starr completing the top-five.
After a review of the finishing order Ross Chastain was credited with sixth, followed by Poole, Logano, Brendan Gaughan and Joey Gase.
Blake Koch won the opening stage of the race to earn his first playoff point of the year, but was eliminated from the race in a crash during the second stage.
For complete results, advance to the next page.