In 2019 the Xfinity Series will see a field with a few less cars on the track. During the off season NASCAR made a number of changes including changing the field from 40 cars to 38.
On February 16 the Xfinity Series got their racing season started with the NASCAR Racing Experience 300 at Daytona International Speedway.
Earlier in the day, reigning Xfinity Series champion put his number two car on the pole but had to move to the back of the field de to a tire change. It was the fifth pole in a row for car owner Richard Childress Racing.
Stages one and two of the race ran 30 laps each with stage three lasting 60 laps. While the drivers can complete the first two stages on a single load of fuel, they must make at least one pit stop for fuel in stage three.
And for the first time in a few years there was an Earnhardt in the field when Dale Earnhardt Sr’s grandson – and Dale Jr’s nephew – and fourth generation driver Jeffrey drove the number 18 Joe Gibbs Racing car.
Michael Annett and Jeffrey Earnhardt led the field to the green flag and 120 laps of racing with Jeffrey Earnhardt leading the first 29 laps of the race. But it was Justin Haley who won the cirst stage of the race with Tyler Reddick finishing in ninth place.
After the crash filled Truck Series race on Friday night, the Xfinity race was very clean with no caution flags for an incident in stage one or two.
Ross Chastain claimed the win for stage two.
It wasn’t until lap 71 that NASCAR threw the first caution flag for debris when the roof hatch from Brad Keselowski’s car blew off. Keselowski had been experiencing issues with the hatch since the beginning of the race.
The first wreck did not occur on the track but on pit road when Gray Gaulding and Justin Haley made contact while attempting to get in and out of their pit stalls.
The first on track incident occurred when Ray Black Jr spun out and made a run through the grass in a single car accident.
With just three laps remaining in the race, Caesar Bacarella brushed the outside wall but the track stayed green.
Jr Motorsports driver Michael Annett earned his first career win on thr high banks of Daytona with team mate Justin Allgaier right behind him in second. A six time Daytona winner as a driver, car owner Dale Earnhardt Jr made a return to victory lane to celebrate with his driver.
Jr Motorsports has won six of the past eleven Xfinity Series races at Daytona.
NASCAR Racing Experience 300 results:
John Hunter Nemechek
Scott Lagasse Jr.
Ray Black Jr.