Two large crashes in the final 10 laps of Saturday’s Subway Firecracker 250 eliminated several contenders, and Austin Dillon avoided the wrecks to beat Elliott Sadler and Chase Elliott in a green-white-checkered finish for the victory.
The two crashes, which involved 24 cars total (12 each), left more than a few that remained with damage that rained smoke and sparks on the field as it chased down Dillon to the finish.
“So many family memories here,” Dillon told NBCSN in victory lane. “I got to go to a lot of victory lanes with RCR and a lot crazy events happen here. I’m just happy for my grandfather.
“He told me one day when we were standing in victory lane here with Dale Earnhardt, ‘you’re going to have the opportunity one day, you’ll make it.’ It means so much to be here.”
Dillon claimed it was his favorite win of his career.
It’s the third Xfinity Series win of the season for Dillon, who runs full time in the Sprint Cup Series. It also his first career win at Daytona International Speedway racing for his grandfather, venerable NASCAR team owner Richard Childress.
Dillon will start second tomorrow in the Coke Zero 400.
The top five: Dillon, Sadler, Elliott, Kasey Kahne and Benny Gordon.
How Austin Dillon won: After carefully navigating two crashes in the final 10 laps, Dillon took the lead and got a good restart with two laps to go and was unchallenged.
Who had a good day: Benny Gordon, making his 20th career Xfinity Series start and just his second since 2012, finished in fifth for his best-career finish. His previous best was 12th at Daytona in 2012.
Who had a bad day: Nearly everyone. Two wrecks in the final 10 laps took 24 cars out of contention, including Chris Buescher and Ty Dillon, who entered the race in the top-two in points … Brian Scott was leading his 85th lap when he started the second crash by mistiming a block on the backstretch. “I told myself I was going to be aggressive,” Scott told NBCSN. “I was trying to time that run, I knew the outside lane was coming … obviously I mistimed it a little bit, but I still felt like I gave them room to split me and go high.” … Pole-sitter Daniel Suarez was involved in the first 12-car accident and then spun by himself coming to the checkered flag. He wound up 15th … Seven cautions were seen Saturday night and two of them were for Cale Conley one-car accidents on Lap 10 and Lap 80.
Notable: Harrison Rhodes was the highest finishing rookie, placing ninth.
Quote of the night: “I thought he’d have a good shot if he got the racing behind him and that’s what happened with the 9 (Elliott) and the 1 (Sadler) and he pulled it off. It’s great to win at Daytona.” – Richard Childress, Dillon’s grandfather and owner of Dillon’s No. 33 Chevrolet.
What’s next: Kentucky 300 at Kansas Speedway, June 4 at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.