DAYTONA BEACH, Fla – The last three NASCAR XFINITY Series races at the Daytona International Speedway have all basically been the same. Tame starts, crazy crashes, photo finishes.
Friday night’s Coca Cola Firecracker 250 was no different. The first 70 laps had just two caution flags, each for stage breaks. Last year’s July race had four cautions fly in the first 87 laps, half of those for stage breaks too. In February, we only had three caution periods in the opening 62 laps.
All seem tame right?
Well, last year we had four cautions from Lap 87 on. In February, we had nine cautions from Lap 83 on. Tonight?
Four cautions from Lap 71 on.
It all started when Ryan Reed spun on that 71st lap. From there, it was on. 10 laps later, we saw the first “big one.” Austin Cindric’s bumper was tagged in Turn 1 and his No. 60 Ford slid up the banking and collected several cars behind. Cindric’s car would flip end over end while a total of 17 cars were involved. We’d see a 12-minute and 18-second red flag displayed for clean up. Luckily, everyone was able to walk away.
Seven laps later, another crash in Turn 3 occurred. This one was minor compared to the next one 10 laps after that when a few cars tried to make it four wide into the tri-oval which sparked a nine car melee on the start/finish line collecting drivers like Cole Custer, Ryan Reed and others.
Like February though, we were treated to a photo finish, making the final few laps overly exciting.