DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Outside polesitter Kyle Larson dominated the first stage of Saturday’s PowerShares QQQ 300 at Daytona Int’l Speedway, leading 23 of the first 30 laps in the NASCAR XFINITY Series season-opener.
After edging ahead for the first time on the third round, Larson seized the point from pole man Daniel Hemric on lap nine and stayed out front all the way to the green-checkered flag, crossing the line .149 of a second in front of Joey Logano.
While Hemric led the field to green from the pole, getting a shove from Justin Allgaier to take command early as four of the five JR Motorsports cars lined up on the bottom lane early, the biggest story in the opening stages were the charges of two Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series regulars from the rear of the field.
Logano (unapproved adjustments) found his way into the top five in just four and a half laps, while Austin Dillon cracked the top 10 on the seventh round before the first calamity of the day broke out coming to complete lap 10.
Austin Cindric’s No. 60 Ford got extremely loose coming off turn four, bobbling twice before being sucked around by the No. 18 of Daniel Suarez to his outside, bouncing down into the No. 9 of Tyler Reddick and sparking a multi-car accident at the entrance of the tri-oval.
Among those who sustained significant damage in the melee were Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Brandon Jones and Christopher Bell, as well as defending race winner Ryan Reed, while Cindric ended up nose-first in the outside wall with race-ending damage.
Once racing resumed on lap 15, Larson led all the way to the stage break, throwing several hefty blocks along the way as he held the field at bay behind him.
Logano held off Allgaier for second, with Reddick and Elliott Sadler completing the top five.
Hemric faded to sixth after leading seven of the first eight laps, with Michael Annett, Suarez, Spencer Gallagher and Cole Custer also scoring bonus points at the first stage break.
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Jacob Seelman is the Managing Editor of Race Chaser Online and creator of the Motorsports Madness radio show, airing at 7 p.m. Eastern every Monday on the Performance Motorsports Network.
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