Florida’s Ross Chastain Wins At Daytona, Captures Kaulig Racing’s First Xfinity Series Victoryby Hunter Thomas July 6, 2019 0 comments
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Ross Chastain continued his NASCAR national series success during the Circle K Firecracker 250 at Daytona Powered by Coca–Cola by capturing Kaulig Racing’s first-ever NASCAR Xfinity Series victory in a one-two finish.
Kaulig Racing was founded in 2016 and since then, the team had only accumulated four top-five finishes in 124 NASCAR Xfinity Series starts. Just past midnight on Saturday, Chastain, who has recently been finding success in the NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series, led a race high of 49 laps, and outrunning his Kaulig Racing teammates to earn the organization’s fifth top-five finish and first win.
The Florida native grew up watching races at Daytona, never imagining that he’d be celebrating a Daytona victory. Filled with emotions, Chastain smashed a watermelon on the frontstretch in front of the fans, a winning tradition that he usually carries out in Victory Lane.
“I sat here as a kid,” Chastain said. “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. Oh my gosh! That could win a race at Daytona! We did it!”
Finishing behind Chastain were his teammates, Justin Haley and AJ Allmendinger. Following post-race, Allmendinger’s No. 10 Chevrolet failed inspection. Allmendinger, who was making his first NASCAR national series start since last year, was DQ-ed and placed in 38th.
NASCAR Xfinity Series Managing Director Wayne Auton said, “Post-race teardown, at all of our races, we check a vacuum test on the cars, and the engine would not hold a vacuum, so looking at parts on the car, we found a discrepancy in one area of the car that should’ve held the vacuum, and it didn’t, so we advised Matt Kaulig, the owner, crew chief Chad Kendrick and team manager Chris Rice the 10 car would be DQ-ed.”
Christopher Bell inherited third, followed by Austin Cindric, Stephen Leicht, Brandon Brown, Jeff Green, Gray Gaulding, Jeremy Clements and Matt Mills.
Daytona International Speedway is historically known for large crashes called, the “big ones”. On Saturday night, there were seven caution for 31 laps, and three of accidents included a good portion of the field.
On lap 10, the caution came out when eight drivers crashed in Turn 4. Caesar Barcarella lost control while racing deep in the pack. He slid up the track and with nowhere to go, many drivers were caught up in a chain reaction.
Sheldon Creed was turned in the tri-oval by Justin Allgaier to bring out the caution on lap 24. Creed and John Hunter Nemechek slid through the frontstretch grass.
In Stage 2, Tyler Reddick blew a left rear tire exiting Turn 4. While trying to just hold onto the car, Reddick slid up the track and collected Chase Briscoe who pounded the inside wall just before pit entrance. The accident brought the caution out on lap 46.
Eleven drivers crashed on the backstretch to bring out the caution on lap 74. The accident occurred, when drivers were racing three-wide for position. Ryan Sieg got turned in front of the crowded pack and the chain reaction took off from there. Bell, who finished third just barely slipped through the accident.
A 15-car crash brought out the red flag for more than 17 minutes on lap 88 of the 100-lap race. While battling for position in the closing laps, Michael Annett was turned by Bell on the backstretch. The mayhem clogged the entire racing surface as drivers piled into each other.
Reddick now leads bell in the standings by 76 points.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series will visit Kentucky Speedway on Friday, July 12 for the Alsco 300. Live coverage of the race will broadcast on the NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) and the Performance Racing Network (PRN) at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images