DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Tyler Reddick won the season-opening Truck Series race Friday night at Daytona International Speedway.
Reddick held the lead down the stretch in the 100-lap race, giving team owner Brad Keselowski a win. It nearly was a 1-2 finish for Brad Keselowski Racing.
“It feels amazing,” Reddick said. “We got here in victory lane at Daytona. It’s unbelievable.”
Teammate Austin Theriault was tucked in behind Reddick on the final lap, but Theriault spent the final few hundred yards blocking and keeping everyone behind Reddick.
Erik Jones pulled to the outside and beat Theriault to the finish line. Jones was second, followed by Scott Lagasse Jr., Theriault and Ray Black Jr.
“The 29 did a good job,” Lagasse said. “He took care of his teammate and that’s what you’ve got to do in this deal. I wish I had my teammates there, too.”
Added Jones: “It’s tough. I didn’t really think we had anybody in front. I wish we could have won. Second’s no fun.”
It was the first Truck Series victory for Ford at Daytona since 2006, ending an eight-year winning streak for Toyota.
Fourteen trucks finished on the lead lap after a few wild crashes, including one that included more than a dozen trucks. Ben Kennedy got into the wall in the third turn, and drivers seemingly checked up behind him and created an accordion crash.
The top five trucks, including Reddick, avoided the melee.
It also left fewer challengers over the final few laps. Several drivers tried to make runs toward the front and get by Reddick, but Ty Dillon and Daniel Suarez both went backward instead. Jones and Lagasse tried coming out of the final turn, but needed more room to get it done.
“There wasn’t a lot going on behind me so I was pretty rest assured my teammate was behind me,” Reddick said. “He’s an outstanding guy. He was doing just about everything to keep anyone from getting to me. He sure did.”
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