Four years ago, Ryan Reed was told that he would not be able to drive a racecar due to being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Tonight, though, he stands in victory lane as a winner at Daytona International Speedway.
“Like I said, I can’t thank everyone who stood behind me through my Type 1 diabetes diagnosis four years ago. I was told I wouldn’t race and now we are standing in victory lane at Daytona,” he said in victory lane. “Thank you Lilly Diabetes, American Diabetes Association, Roush Fenway, Ford and everyone that stood behind us through everything we have been through. It is time to celebrate.”
Coming to the white flag, it looked as though it’d be Brad Keselwoski and Kyle Larson dueling for the victory. However, Larson would get a shot from behind, going off of the track and into the turn one infield grass with Ross Chastain. Keselowski got the advantage through the corners and held it down the backstraightaway. However, it wouldn’t last for long as Reed would get a push from teammate Chris Buescher and the pair of Roush Fenway Racing teammates would track down Keselowski with Reed able to get by as they headed into turn three.
“We got shuffled back with about three to go and were on the top with nowhere to go and luckily I ducked in line on the bottom and I was just trying to salvage hopefully a top seven or eight and get a good points day,” Reed commented. “When they started wrecking on the last lap it put me in position where I was pushing. I ended up getting a huge run on Brad and he was left on an island so I got a huge run on him and really I was hoping I could guess the block. I knew he would take me high and it was just about how quick I could get underneath him. We timed it perfect and here we are.”
Reed would then hold off the field as they came back to the checkered flag to score his first career NASCAR XFINITY Series victory.
“I was about to throw up on the last lap there coming to the line,” Reed said. “I saw Chris coming and I knew he would have a big run. I didn’t know whether to block the bottom or top. I can’t thank my spotter Joel enough. He does a great job every week.”
Chris Buescher would cross the line second as he enters his sophomore season with Roush Fenway Racing.
“That was great,” Buescher commented. “That’s exactly what we need to come here and do. After the heartbreak of last year, coming down here and not qualifying, it’s something we had to rebound from and we knew that. We came down here with Cheez-It on our Ford Mustang and started off the XFINITY season in 2015 with a bang. To get Ryan his first win, I know how special it is getting our first win last year at Mid-Ohio and getting that monkey off your back is huge for him and it’s gonna carry momentum for our entire organization going forward.”
Ty Dillon would finish third with his brother Austin Dillon right behind him in fourth. Austin had to fight back for a top-five finish following a hit under the red flag from Mike Wallace that tore up the rear of his Chevrolet. Brad Keselowski would end up rounding the top-five after leading the white flag lap.
“I definitely had too big of a lead,” Keselowski reflected. “There’s only so much you can block and the run that the 16 had was just more than I could block without wrecking everybody, so that’s just part of it I guess.”
David Starr finished sixth, followed by Aric Almirola, Larson, Chastain and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
While the race ran clean for the first half, the second half was nothing like that as a pair of big wrecks took out numerous competitors.
The first wreck took place with 27 laps to go as Larson gave Daniel Saurez a shove, getting him sideways and turning him into Regan Smith. The contact would result in Smith going for a tumble. Chad Boat, Scott Lagasse Jr., Justin Marks, John Wes Townley and Chase Elliott were also caught in the wreck.
The second wreck took place with nine laps to go when Kyle Busch would give Erik Jones a shot, resulting in Jones coming down across the field. Busch would then slide through the infield grass making heavy contact with a non-SAFER barrier wall. Busch was awake and alert while being loaded into the ambulance before taking to Halifax Medical Center. He will miss the Daytona 500 on Sunday with a leg injury. Elliott, J.J. Yeley, Brendan Gaughan, Brian Scott, Elliott Sadler, Jeffrey Earnhardt, Wallace, Austin Dillon and Almirola would also suffer damage.