Tyler Reddick

Race results, point standings after Xfinity Series opener at Daytona

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Tyler Reddick began his tenure with JR Motorsports in the Xfinity Series by coming out on top in the closest finish in national NASCAR series history.

Reddick beat Elliott Sadler by 0.000 to win the season opener at Daytona International Speedway. It is his second career win.

The top five was completed by Ryan Reed, Kaz Grala and Garrett Smithley.

Click here for the race results.

With his win, the 22-year-old driver leaves Daytona with a nine-point lead over Sadler.

Completing the top five in the standings are Spencer Gallagher (-11), Ryan Truex (-15) and Reed (-16).

Click here for the point standings.

Xfinity practice report from Daytona

Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images
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DAYTONA BEACH, Florida — Daniel Hemric led the way in the final Xfinity practice Friday. The Richard Childress Racing driver posted a lap of 191.322 mph.

He was followed by Austin Dillon (191.310 mph), Elliott Sadler (190.553), Tyler Reddick (189.183) and Kyle Larson (188.893).

There were no incidents in the session.

The series qualifies and races Saturday.

FIRST PRACTICE SESSION

Tyler Reddick paced the field in the opening Xfinity Series practice Friday at Daytona International Speedway.

Reddick posted a lap of 196.190 mph. He was followed by Daniel Suarez (195.963 mph), Spencer Gallagher (195.767), Chase Elliott (195.004) and Michael Annett (194.515).

Reddick, Elliott and Annett drive JR Motorsports cars.

Xfinity Practice 1 Daytona Report

Xfinity Final Practice Report

Friday 5: Will Daytona Speedweeks repeat last year’s chaos?

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As a new Speedweeks dawns, NASCAR teams hope this year won’t be a repeat of the carnage that took place a year ago at Daytona International Speedway.

One hundred and six vehicles were listed as involved in accidents in Cup, Xfinity and Truck Series races during Speedweeks last year, according to race reports.

That was a 29.2 percent increase from the previous Speedweeks.

Only once in the last 10 years were more vehicles damaged in races during Speedweeks. There were 122 vehicles in accidents in 2012.

The numbers were high last year because so many accidents took place at the front of the field — where drivers say they want to be because they believe it is the safest place.

A 17-car crash in the Daytona 500 was triggered when Jimmie Johnson, running third, was hit from behind.

An 11-car crash in the Daytona 500 started when Chase Elliott’s car was hit after a restart as Elliott was fourth.

The Xfinity race had a 20-car wreck that started when Tyler Reddick was hit from behind while running seventh.

A 16-car crash in the Xfinity race began when Elliott Sadler, running second, was hit from behind.

A 12-car crash in the Xfinity race started when Brandon Jones was hit while running fifth.

A 12-vehicle crash in the Truck race started when Matt Crafton, who was leading, was hit in the right side. Crafton’s truck went airborne.

Will last year be the start of a trend or prove to be an anomaly? This will be worth keeping an eye on in the coming days.

2. FASTER SPEEDWEEKS?

With Cup going to the no ride-height rule, the question is if the cars will be faster — and by how much — since they will be closer to the ground. NASCAR also added half an inch of spoiler to offset the elimination of the ride height requirement.

NASCAR expects speeds to be about the same but a prominent team expects speeds to climb possibly as much as 8 mph.

Chase Elliott won the pole last year with a lap of 192.872 mph. The fastest lap in practice last year came in the final session before the Daytona 500 when Ricky Stenhouse Jr. went 198.452 mph in the draft.

Even if speeds increase, NASCAR has made improvements to the cars to where it should be less likely for a car to get airborne on its own. NASCAR stated that 201 mph previously was the minimum speed for liftoff. Now it’s 233 mph. Of course, if a car hits another in a particular way it can launch it regardless of the speed they’re going.

3. EASIER TO OFFICIATE

Xfinity cars will have a new lower front fascia with a 4-inch ride height at the restrictor-plate tracks. This is intended to eliminate bump drafting. If all goes as NASCAR officials plan, the changes will create a gap of about 1.5 feet between cars, making it easier to police the matter. 

4. GOING FOR 4 IN A ROW

The No. 24 car — driven by rookie William Byron this season — is going for its fourth consecutive Daytona 500 pole. Jeff Gordon won the pole in 2015 with that number and Chase Elliott did the same in 2016 and ’17.

5. WILL DAYTONA STREAK CONTINUE?

Kurt Busch’s Daytona 500 victory last year marked the eighth consecutive year a different driver won the season-opening race.

That streak includes Denny Hamlin (2016), Joey Logano (2015), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2014), Jimmie Johnson (2013), Matt Kenseth (2012), Trevor Bayne (2011) and Jamie McMurray (2010).

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Christopher Bell, Tyler Reddick ‘knock the dust back off’ with Atlanta rookie test

Christopher Bell
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The Cup Series test at Las Vegas Motor Speedway isn’t the only NASCAR action that took place this week.

Three rookie drivers from the Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series got to make their first laps as well.

Christopher Bell of Joe Gibbs Racing and Tyler Reddick of JR Motorsports joined GMS Racing’s Dalton Sargeant in the two-day test at the 1.54-mile track.

The test, held Monday and Tuesday, was Reddick’s first time in action behind the wheel of JR Motorsports’ No. 9 Chevrolet.

MORE: Social Roundup from the Las Vegas test

The 22-year-old driver is taking over for 2017 champion William Byron after he spent last season driving the No. 42 part-time for Chip Ganassi Racing. It was Reddick’s first time at Atlanta in a stock car after making two starts there in the Truck Series.

“This track’s definitely got one of the older surfaces on the schedule … so when you come here and test, that makes it difficult to get it going,” Reddick said in a team release. “Obviously, the track is going to wear the tires out really quickly.”

Atlanta’s surface hasn’t been repaved since the track was reconfigured in 1997, the year after Reddick was born.

“Tracks like these are a lot of fun; they kind of knock the dust back off in a sense and get your feet planted back where they need to be,” Reddick said. “This is a track that, even if your car is handling pretty good, it’s still going to be a handful. You have to really work for it as the tires fall away.”

Bell returned to the No. 20 Toyota to begin his rookie campaign.

The two-time defending winner of the Chili Bowl made his debut in the series last year, making eight starts and earning his first win, in October at Kansas Speedway.

The 23-year-old driver earned one win at Atlanta in the Truck Series. His victory last year in February was the first of five on the way to winning the Truck Series title for Kyle Busch Motorsports.

“I’ve run here at Atlanta twice and ran exceptionally well both times,” Bell said in a track press release. “It’s one of my favorite race tracks. This place is a blast and one of the most fun places we go to.”

The Xfinity season opens on Feb. 17 at Daytona International Speedway. Reddick, Bell and the rest of the Xfinity field will be back at Atlanta on Feb. 24 for the Rinnai 250.

“Just getting the jitters out (was the biggest goal at this test),” Bell said. “I was pretty nervous, and I think everybody is the first time they get in their cars since November. I’m glad today went smoothly.”

Sargeant, 19, made his first laps at Atlanta driving the No. 25 Chevrolet for GMS Racing.

The native of Boca Raton, Florida, has only six Truck starts since 2015. He placed second last year in the ARCA Racing Series.

“Hopefully I’m a quick learner, and we’ll see what we can do,” Sargeant said in the track press release. “We’ve been trying a bunch of different things on these trucks with the new motor and everything. It’s just a little bit different than what they were used to last year and years before, so we’re just out here testing as much as we can.”

Sargeant’s best finish in his six Truck starts was ninth at New Hampshire in 2015.

“It’s definitely a really cool place,” Sargeant said of Atlanta. “I’m looking forward to coming here and racing in February. I think it’s going to be a tough challenge. I know it’s going to be warmer then, so we might be slipping and sliding around a little bit more, but my first overall thoughts is that track is really awesome.”

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Tyler Reddick wins Xfinity pole; Daniel Hemric leads championship drivers in fourth

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Tyler Reddick won the pole for the Xfinity Series season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway with a speed of 165.624 mph.

It is Reddick’s second Xfinity pole (Kansas) and comes in his last race with Chip Ganassi Racing.

Filling out the starting top five in the Ford EcoBoost 300 is Cole Custer (164.911), Christopher Bell (164.584), championship driver Daniel Hemric (164.534) and Ryan Preece (164.439).

Hemric will start in the top five for the first time since Darlington in September.

“Just good adjustments overnight,” Hemric told NBC Sports. “Obviously it’s good to have a good starting spot, just because of clean air more so than anything else. The race track gets so wide it’s hard to find clean air, believe it or not, once you get further and further back in the field.”

Championship driver William Byron will start sixth (163.706).

Byron’s teammates and championship contenders Elliott Sadler and Justin Allgaier failed to make the final round of qualifying.

Sadler (163.034) will start 14th and Allgaier (162.299) will start 16th.

“I overdrove that last lap there, just wanting it to be faster than what it was going to be, ” Allgaier told NBC Sports. “We’ve got a lot going for us. We’ve got a really, really fast race car when the sun starts to go down. I think that’s what it’s going to take for tonight’s race.”

Allgaier has started 10th or worst in the last three races.

Sadler has started 10th or worse in three of the last five races.

“We can race from there,” Sadler told NBC Sports. “One thing about Homestead is it’s nice and wide. There’s a lot of (tire) fall off here. We can race them hard. It’s not where we want to qualify, but it’s not all the way in the back either.”

The Ford EcoBoost 300 airs at 3:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Click here for qualifying results.