Stephen Leicht

Daytona winners and losers

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WINNERS

Justin HaleyHis complicated relationship with Daytona took a turn no one could have expected. A year after he crossed the finish line first there in the Xfinity Series race but was penalized for going below the double yellow line and not given the win, Haley was the recipient of a well-timed lightning strike that occurred just after he assumed the lead under caution when others pitted. When rain prevented the race from resuming, Haley joined the list of winners at Daytona.

William ByronRunner-up finish was a career-high (and first top-five finish) that left him smiling but also thinking what if.

Ty DillonFourth-place finish was a career-high and marked his first top-five finish.

Corey LaJoie Avoided the big wreck late and finished a career-high sixth. He had never finished in the top 10 in 74 previous Cup starts.

Kaulig Racing — Organization scored its first Xfinity Series win Friday, sweeping both stages and going 1-2 with Ross Chastain and Justin Haley.

Stephen Leicht He crossed the finish line sixth but moved up to fifth when third-place finisher AJ Allmendinger’s car was disqualified for failing inspection after the race. That gave Leicht his first top five in the Xfinity Series since 2007.

LOSERS

Brad KeselowskiHe delivered his message in practice to William Byron and then saw his race end with an early accident that left him with a 39th-place finish and confused why his car jumped out after he said he got a “real straight push” from Kevin Harvick.

Kurt BuschRotten luck in pitting just after the field got the signal of one lap to go until the restart and then lightning stopped the race. Had the lightning happened maybe 30 seconds earlier, Busch would have stayed out and won the race and secured a playoff spot.

Landon CassillHis 11th-place finish on his 30th birthday Sunday was his best of the season so it’s hard to be critical of Cassill but he was second during the final caution and followed Busch on to pit road just before the lightning strike that delayed and eventually led to the race ending early. Cassill expressed how heartbroken he was on Twitter.

Xfinity Series results from Daytona

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Ross Chastain led a 1-2 finish for Kaulig Racing Friday night at Daytona International Speedway, delivering the team its first Xfinity Series win.

The top five was completed by Justin Haley, Christopher Bell, Austin Cindric and Stephen Leicht.

AJ Allmendinger’s third-place car was disqualified for failing inspection after the race. 

It is Leicht’s first top-five finish since 2007.

Brandon Brown placed sixth for his first career top 10.

Jeremy Clements finished ninth for his best result of the year.

Stefan Parsons finished 12th in his series debut.

MORE: Click here for revised results

MORE: Click here for revised points

 

Ross Chastain wins Xfinity race at Daytona

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Ross Chastain held off teammates Justin Haley and AJ Allmendinger to win Friday night’s rain-delayed Xfinity Series race at Daytona International Speedway.

It is the first NASCAR win for Kaulig Racing in 125 combined Xfinity Series starts since 2014. It is Chastain’s second career Xfinity Series win.

Chastain is a native of Alva, Florida, located 207 miles Southwest of Daytona Beach.

“Oh my gosh, we did it!” Chastain told NBCSN. “I sat here as a kid. I watched these races as a kid every Fourth of July, never could come in the spring because we were growing watermelons. These guys right here gave me a race car that, oh my gosh, could win a race at Daytona!”

Kaulig Racing entered three cars in a race for the first time and had all three cross the finish line first. Allmendinger, who made his first start of the year for the team, appeared to complete the sweep after he passed Christopher Bell on the last lap.

NASCAR announced after the race that Allmendinger’s third-place car had been disqualified for failing inspection.

Kaulig said they decided to field three cars in the race because neither of their cars wrecked in the Talladega race in April.

“The only reason we didn’t run four (cars) today was because we don’t have enough cars,” Kaulig said.

The top five was completed by Bell, Austin Cindric and Stephen Leicht.

The final 10-lap run was set up by a 15-car wreck with 14 laps to go that included Cole Custer, Michael Annett, Noah Gragson and Ryan Sieg and resulted in a 17 minute and 45 second red flag.

Pole-sitter Tyler Reddick finished 17th after he pit with four laps to go to repair damage. He was involved in a wreck with Chase Briscoe, Justin Allgaier and Ryan Sieg on Lap 46 in Stage 2. Briscoe was eliminated after he hit the inside wall nose-first. Reddick was able to continue despite his No. 2 Chevrolet sliding through the rain soaked infield grass.

MORE: Click here for revised results

MORE: Click here for revised points

STAGE 1 WINNER: Ross Chastain

STAGE 2 WINNER: AJ Allmendinger

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Stephen Leicht finished fifth for JD Motorsports, scoring his first top-five finish since 2007. … Brandon Brown finished sixth for his first career top-10 finish. … Jeff Green was seventh, scoring top 10s in both Daytona races this year.

WHAT’S NEXT: Alsco 300 at Kentucky Speedway at 7:30 p.m. ET on July 12 on NBCSN

Garrett Smithley, Stephen Leicht to compete for JD Motorsports in Xfinity

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JD Motorsports continues to fill out its driver lineup for the 2019 Xfinity season with announcements that Garrett Smithley and Stephen Leicht will compete for the team.

Smithley, 26, returns to drive for the team for the fourth consecutive year. He will pilot the No. 0 Chevrolet.

The Feb. 16 season-opener at Daytona International Speedway will be his 100th series start.

“I’ve been working hard this offseason to make my fourth year with JDM the best ever, I think it will be,” Smithley said in a press release. “I’m so blessed to be given the opportunity to race here by Johnny and all my sponsors. Daytona will be my 100th Xfinity start and all but two of those races have been at JDM. It’s an amazing race team and family, and I can’t wait to get this season going.”

Leicht, 32, is set to drive the No. 01 Chevrolet in his first full-time season since 2007 with Robert Yates Racing. That season he won his only NASCAR race at Kentucky Speedway.

Daytona will also be his 100th series start.

“I’m super stoked about my opportunity to drive for Johnny Davis,” Leicht said in a press release. “He has competitive cars with smart people in his stable and I’m looking forward to seeing what the season brings.”

Jani-King will be an associate sponsor of Leicht this season.

“Stephen is a great talent to have in our arsenal this season at JD Motorsports,” owner Johnny Davis said in a press release. “With his experience spanning nearly ten years in the series, we are confident that he will be able to take care of his equipment, which as we all know is very important for family teams. I am genuinely looking forward to seeing how he can improve our operations this season with all the knowledge he brings to the team.”

The announcements for Smithley and Leicht follow the news that Ross Chastain will return to drive the No. 4 Chevrolet in 30 races, in addition to competing in three races for Kaulig Racing.

One Cup, six Xfinity teams docked practice time Friday

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HOMESTEAD, Fla. – Chase Elliott is the only Cup driver who will be penalized practice time Friday at Homestead-Miami Speedway, while six Xfinity teams, including one title contender will miss practice time.

Elliott will miss 15 minutes for being late to inspection last weekend at Phoenix. Cup practice is from 1 – 2:20 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Xfinity title contender Christopher Bell will miss 30 minutes of opening practice for failing inspection three times last week at Phoenix. The cars of Josh Bilicki and Chase Briscoe also will miss 30 minutes for the same infraction.

David Starr will be docked 15 minutes of practice for being late to inspection last week at Phoenix. The cars of Vinnie Miller and Stephen Leicht will miss 15 minutes for failing inspection twice.

Opening Xfinity practice is from 2:35 – 3:25 p.m. ET on NBCSN.