Ross Chastain leads 1-2-3 punch for Kaulig Racing at Daytona



DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.—Ross Chastain earned a homegrown victory at Daytona International Speedway in the wee hours of Saturday morning.

With a push from his Kaulig Racing teammate Justin Haley, the 26-year-old driver from Alva, Florida extended his lead by .109-seconds at the finish.

Chastain led 49 laps in the Circle K Firecracker 250 for second Xfinity Series win in his fourth start with the Kaulig team.

“Oh my god, we did it,” Chastain exclaimed. “I watched these races in July as a kid, and I never could come (to the track) because we were growing watermelons.

“The guys right here gave me a car that could win at Daytona.”

Kaulig Racing swept the podium with Haley finishing second and AJ Allmendinder third.

Christopher Bell, Austin Cindric, Stephen Leicht, Brandon Brown, Jeff Green, Gray Gaulding and Jeremy Clements rounded out the top 10.

“After last year at Daytona, finishing second here is pretty cool,” said Haley, who was penalized after going below the yellow line to improve his position.

“To have a 1-2-3 finish is absolutely incredible for us.”

The race was delayed by more than two hours for rain. Xfinity Series points leader Tyler Reddick led the field to green. Allmendinger, making his first NASCAR start of the season, took the lead on Lap 4. Chastain passed the No. 10 Chevy on Lap 8. Two laps later, Caesar Bacarella got sideways and slid up into Josh Williams triggering a 10-car wreck. Chastain held the lead through the first and second cautions for the Stage 1 win. Ryan Sieg, Herbst, Noah Gragson, Timmy Hill, Allmendinger, Allgaier, Reddick, Bell and Brown completed the top 10.

Allmendinger took the lead from Chastain on Lap 32. The second stage was slowed by the fourth caution on Lap 45—after Justin Allgaier tapped the rear of the Reddick’s Chevy and collected Chase Briscoe in the process. Briscoe plowed nose first into the inside retaining wall entering pit road and finished 36th. 

Allmendinger held the point on the restart to win Stage 2 followed by Michael Annett, Chastain, Haley, Allgaier, Bell, Gragson, Cole Custer, Herbst and Cindric.

Allgaier took the lead out of the pits when the No. 7 Brandt team elected not to take tires. Gragson and Herbst followed. Gragson took the lead when the race returned to green for the final stage but Chastain returned to the point after a lap with help from Haley.

Chastain’s run to victory would be slowed once again when Scott Legasse Jr., made contact with David Starr—sending the No. 52 Chevy spinning like a top on the backstretch and collecting nine additional drivers.

The race returned to green on Lap 80, however, Bell nailed the back of Michael Annett to ignite a 15-car accident on the backstretch eight laps later. NASCAR was forced to red-flag the race on Lap 89. Following a delay of 17 minutes, 45 seconds, Chastain led the field to green for the final 10 laps and held off Haley for his first Xfinity win of 2019—and the first at his home track.

Despite finishing 17th, Reddick holds a 77-point lead over Bell.

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