When Sunday morning began, neither Tyler Reddick or Casey Mears knew for sure if they would race in the Daytona 500 next weekend, but after qualifying earlier this afternoon, both drivers secured their spot in the Great American Race.
With 42 cars attempting the race, six non-chartered drivers were aiming to score two open positions today.
Reddick, attempting both his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series debut and Daytona 500 debut, managed to post the 16th fastest time in Daytona 500 time trials. Reddick’s speed locked the 2018 NASCAR XFINITY Series champion into the race.
“I can’t thank everyone at RCR enough for all of the work they have put into this for me,” said Reddick. “To be able to say I will officially be making my Cup Series debut in the Daytona 500 seems unreal. It’s something I’ve dreamed about for a long time.”
For Casey Mears, the Daytona 500 will mark his first Cup start since the 2016 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Mears returns to the Germain Racing stable driving the No. 27 Chevrolet, the team he called home from 2010 until the 2016 season.
Mears qualified 26th, earning the final guaranteed spot in the Great American Race by only three one-hundredths of a second over Ryan Truex driving the No. 71 Accell Construction Chevrolet for Tommy Baldwin Racing.
Truex along with Brendan Gaughan in the No. 62 for Beard Motorsports, Parker Kligerman in the No. 96 for Gaunt Brothers Racing and Joey Gase in the No. 66 for MBM Motorsports will be the four drivers racing for the final two spots during Thursday night’s Gander RV Duels.