DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Daytona International Speedway was delayed for two-and-a-half hours, but there was no lack of action once the green flag flew shortly after 10 p.m. Eastern time.
By the time the checkered flag flew shortly after midnight, it was Ross Chastain who found himself in victory lane for Kaulig Racing.
The 38-car field wasted little time making aggressive moves and on lap nine the first major incident took place as Austin Cindric helplessly saw Caesar Bacarella spin right in front of him with nowhere to go. Fortunately, Cindric sustained right-front damage that allowed him to continue, but that set the tone for the evening.
Cole Custer, who also sustained minor right side damage in the same incident, avoided major damage on lap 24 when he found himself on the periphery of a five-car accident.
While Cindric and Custer were able to survive the first two stages, Chase Briscoe wasn’t as fortunate. He had a sporty Mustang that showed it could move its way through the pack, especially in the first stage, but his night came to an end on lap 45 when Tyler Reddick moved up the track and made contact with Briscoe, who went sliding helplessly into the infield wall. He ended up being credited with 36th place.
Custer’s luck ran out in the final stage when he was part of the race’s fourth multi-car wreck and while he was able to drive away from the first two incidents that wasn’t possible as his No. 00 Mustang was too damaged to continue. Custer finished 27th.
That left it up to Cindric, who managed to get himself up to fourth in the closing laps, but with no Ford teammate still on the track and three Kaulig drivers in the top five, there was no help for him to be found. Still, a fifth-place finish served as a good result after all of the adversity he faced through the 100-lap feature.
The Xfinity Series continues next week as the second part of a Kentucky Speedway tripleheader when the Alsco 300 takes place Friday night (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM).
Ford Finishing Results
5th – Austin Cindric
27th – Cole Custer
36th – Chase Briscoe
POST RACE QUOTES
CHASE BRISCOE, No. 98 Ford Performance Mustang
“I feel fine. I haven’t seen the video, but it honestly didn’t feel like that big of a hit. NASCAR is doing their part and Stewart-Haas builds really safe race cars, so it’s just unfortunate. I was honestly having a blast out there. I felt like I could make moves and drive through the field fairly easy and thought we were gonna have a really good night, but just got caught up in somebody else’s mess. That’s part of this place. Every time you come here you know that’s gonna happen and we were just on the bad end of it tonight.”
STAGE ONE WAS PRETTY INTENSE. DID THAT SURPRISE YOU? “After that first caution in the first stage I think we restarted around 15th or 16th and I was able to drive up to fourth or fifth. We were in the middle for four or five laps straight and it was pretty wild. I thought we were gonna wreck then. We missed one by an inch there off of four with John Hunter and whoever else it was, but I wasn’t lucky enough the second time. We’ll go on to Kentucky. It isn’t my best race track in the world, but I’m looking forward to it and hopefully we can have a good day.”
COLE CUSTER, No. 00 Jacob Companies Ford Mustang
“That was terrible. I don’t know. It’s just speedway racing. It sucks. I just have never been good at it, I guess. I always get caught up in the wrecks, so I don’t know. I can’t thank Jacob Companies enough for coming on our car for this race and, I don’t know, it was a tough day. I wasn’t able to find the front and just got caught up in it there. By the second I saw daylight it was just the 1 car sitting in front of me, so I don’t know. We’ll go to Kentucky and see what we can do.” HOW DO YOU PROCESS WHAT YOU’RE HEARING FROM YOUR SPOTTER? “I was just trying to hold my lane and I couldn’t see anything, so I just kept kind of going straight and by the time everything kind of cleared up the 1 car was just sitting right in front of me. It’s just part of it, I guess.”
AUSTIN CINDRIC, No. 22 Pirtek Ford Mustang
YOU PERSEVERED AFTER THE LAP 9 ACCIDENT. “Yeah, for a while I thought we had a shot at the win. I feel like if you had less teammates up there maybe we could have done something or helped the 20 or trying to advance our spot there, but we’ll take it. It had been a pretty boring weekend so far, but I’m eating my words for that for sure. I mean, we were involved in just about everything there was, not necessarily by our own fault, but it was perseverance and a team effort. Those guys did an awesome job of getting the car in fighting shape and then obviously I was able to make the right moves and get us up into contention. Fun fact: Every single race I’ve ran in Daytona this year I’ve finished fifth – no matter if I’m in a Ford Mustang in GTB, an Xfinity car both times, I don’t know what it is about this place, but I guess we’ll take it.”
IT WAS INTENSE RIGHT FROM THE START. WAS IT JUST GUYS WANTING TO GET AFTER IT FOLLOWING THE LONG RAIN DELAY? “Yeah, I think so. I think there were some cars that qualified near the front that aren’t used to being under that kind of pressure, so I’ll leave it at that, but it’s a little unfortunate we had to battle back that much and missed out on some stage points, but that’s how she goes.”
DESCRIBE THE COMEBACK TONIGHT. “The credit is to this team. It’s crazy to think we were able to recover like that from getting involved in almost everything and being able to dodge bullets or get scathed by a couple and then be able to make some headway there at the end and come up with a top five. I wish there weren’t so many Kaulig teammates there at the end because I feel like we could have generated some runs, but I knew no one was gonna really help me and the 20, but that’s how it goes. It’s racing. I’m happy to be able to recover like that and move on with this Pirtek team.”
HOW AGGRESSIVE WAS THE RACING TONIGHT? “It’s superspeedway racing. I think honestly the highlight of my race, other than coming home with a finish, was I think it was sometime during stage three or whatever that Ross Chastain went up to block the top and he was completely sideways full throttle and kept it in the lead. I don’t know if they caught that on TV, but it was awesome. I was just glad it didn’t turn into a wreck because I was getting collected, but overall a good night and glad to put on a good run for these Pirtek guys.”