The Xfinity Series kicks off a historic weekend at Daytona International Speedway with the first running of the road course for NASCAR with the UNOH 188.
Continuing the practice begun when NASCAR made a return since the outbreak of the global pandemic, the drivers have had no practice and have had to rely on iRacing and simulators to learn the track.
AJ Allmendinger, Earl Bamber, Josh Bilicki, Chase Briscoe, Bobby Reuse, Preston Pardus, Andy Lally, Brandon Gdovic, Jeffrey Earnhardt, and Austin Cindric not only have previous road course experience, but thanks to the Rolex 24 endurance race have previous on the track.
But one thing that the simulator cannot reflect is the summer heat and humidity in Florida.
The race gets off to a late start after a delay for lightning. A hot summer day in Florida frequently brings late afternoon thunderstorms that drench the area for a short time and move on leaving the pavement steaming.
While the drivers will not run a race with lightning in the area, they will run in the rain. The cars have been equipped with a brake light, windshield wiper, and a defogger inside the car; and there are wet weather tires in the pits.
After the new formula to determine the starting lineup, Austin Cindric will sit on the pole and bring the field to green with Chase Briscoe starting alongside on the front row.
And the rain has begun to fall as the Xfinity Series continues to wait out the lightning. The skies must be clear of lightning for at least 30 minutes before they can be given the all clear.
After a delay of nearly two hours, the drivers have been called to their cars.
NASCAR has called the track conditions a wet surface condition, drivers must come down pit road and change to wet weather tires.
Stages one and two are only 15 laps each with stage three lasting 22 laps for a total of 52 laps around the 3.61 mile course.
NASCAR has upgraded the track conditions to a damp condition; giving the teams the option of which tire combination they wish to use at race start.
Austin Cindric brings the field down for the green flag start of the race and goes side by side with Chase Briscoe. Going into turn one, Noah Gragson takes the lead when Austin Cindric and Chase Briscoe miss the turn.
In turn six of lap one Austin Cindric takes the lead.
Chase Briscoe missed the chicane and had to come to a complete stop before continuing in the race.
Austin Cindric leads lap one and has a lead of nearly a second and a half on Noah Gragson; Ross Chastain, Justin Haley, and AJ Allmendinger round out the top five.
Ross Chastain and Justin Haley missed a portion of the chicane and had to come to a complete stop before continuing on.
Lap three, Austin Cindric’s lead is down to a second on Noah Gragson with AJ Allmendinger in third.
Chase Briscoe made a stop down pit road to change from wet weather tires to dry weather tires.
Lap four, Austin Cindric has pulled out to a lead of over two seconds on Noah Gragson. AJ Allmendinger passes Noah Gragson for second and is two and a half seconds behind leader Austin Cindric.
Several of the drivers continue to have issues with missing turns and the chicanes.
Lap six, Austin Cindric has a lead of nearly four seconds on AJ Allmendinger; Ross Chastain, Noah Gragson and Justin Haley round out the top five. All 38 drivers are still on the track and on the lead lap.
There are cars scattered all through the course.
Lap eight, Austin Cindric holds on to his lead of over three and a half second on AJ Allmendinger; third place driver Ross Chastain is over 15 seconds back. There are 34 cars on the lead lap.
Lap nine. Austin Cindric has a four second lead on AJ Allmendinger with Ross Chastain 20 seconds back in third place.
Lap eleven, over four seconds out in front, Austin Cindric has lead every lap so far.
Road course expert Andy Lally and Justin Allgiaer battle for fifth.
Lap 12, Ross Chastain is slowed on the track and is reporting a gear issue. Justin Haley spins out and makes a run through the grass after hitting the bumps; bringing out the caution flag.
AJ Allmendinger comes down pit road before the caution flag comes out.
Harrison Burton has smoke in his car.
The front end of Justin Haley’s car is torn up and likely out of the race.
AJ Allmendinger begins leaving his pit stall while the fuel can was still attached and had to stop and was charged with a penalty for having his car serviced outside of the pit box. He has been penalized one lap for the infraction.
Some of the drivers come down pit road for service; Austin Cindric stayed out on the track. Andy Lally is looking for forward bit, the team throws everything at the car.
Austin Cindric brings the field down for a one lap shootout to end stage one and gets out in front for the lead with Michael Annett in second. Daniel Hemric gets into the grass but gets the car moving again briefly.
Austin Cindric wins stage one.
The top 10 at the end of stage one:
Jade Buford has a broken tachometer.
Drivers come down pit road for service with Austin Cindric winning the race off of pit road.
After staying out on the track, Noah Gragson and Riley Herbst are on the front row and will bring the field down for the green flag start of stage two. Earl Bamber is in the second row with Justin Allgaier. Noah Gragson takes the lead. Earl Bamber turns Riley Herbst. Leader Noah Gragson slides off the track and get into the tire barriers bringing out the caution flag. Jeffrey Earnhardt was slowed on the track after a bad start.
AJ Allmendinger is the “lucky dog”.
Justin Allgaier made an unscheduled stop on pit road for a possible car issue.
Chase Briscoe is the leader and will bring the field down for the green flag restart.
Chase Briscoe brings the field down for the restart with Harrison Burton alongside on the front row on lap 20. Briscoe gets out in front for the lead. Tommy Joe Martins gets turns around on the track but get the car moving again and the track stays green.
A big mix up on the track sending Jesse Little through the grass but he gets back on the track and the track stays green.
Josh Williams gets turned around and takes out a few signs but he track stays green.
The caution flag comes out on lap 21 for debris on the track.
Chase Briscoe brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 23 and jumps out in front for the lead with Harrison Burton in second and Earl Barber in third.
After having some wheel hop issues, Harrison Burton has moved into second place.
Lap 24, Chase Briscoe has a lead of over half a second on Harrison Burton with Earl Bamber in third two seconds back.
Austin Cindric has moved into third place, over two seconds behind the leader.
There are 29 cars on the lead lap with four drivers off the track or out of the race.
Lap 25, Chase Briscoe has a lead of nearly a second on Harrison Burton and Austin Cindric a second and a half back in third.
Josh Bilicki spins out but get the car moving again and the track stays green.
After being a lap down due to a penalty, AJ Allmendinger has moved into the top 10.
Lap 25, Chase Briscoe has the lead but Austin Cindric has taken second place from Harrison burton and a second and a half back.
Lap 27, Chase Briscoe has the lead but Austin Cindric is on his bumper looking to take back the lead.
Kody Vanderwall gets off the track and into the grass but gets back on the track again and the track stays green.
Lap 28, Chase Briscoe holds on to the lead but is getting a challenge form Austin Cindric.
Lap 29, Austin Cindric continues to dog team mate Chase Briscoe and he is looking to retake the lead.
The final lap of stage two, leader Chase Briscoe and Austin Cindric continue to battle for the lead.
Briscoe and Cindric make contact as they battle for the lead with Austin Cindric taking the lead with Chase Briscoe continuing the battle. Going side by side, Chase Briscoe gets the lead and wins stage two.
The top 10 at the end of stage two:
During some side by side racing, Austin Cindric tosses a water bottle to Chase Briscoe through the window.
Drivers come down pit road for service with Chase Briscoe winning the race off of pit road and Austin Cindric coming out second.
Josh Bilicki brings the field down for the green flag start of stage three but it is Chase Briscoe who gets out in front for the lead. Austin Cindric gets off the track but gets back and the track stays green.
Lap 33, the top five are Chase Briscoe, Austin Cindric, Harrison Burton, Josh Bilicki, and AJ Allmendiger.
Chase Briscoe ahs a lead of over a second and a half on Austin Cindric.
Thirty four laps into the race, drivers are still having issues with the chicanes and missing the turns.
Lap 34, Brandon Brown gets off the track but back again and continues on in the race.
chase Briscoe has a one second lead on Austin Cindric; AJ Allmendinger, Harrison Burton, and Riley Herbst round out the top five.
Lap 35, Austin Cindric has closed the gap on leader Chase Briscoe to under a second; AJ Allmendinger is in third.
Lap 36, Chase Briscoe continues to lead the race but is less than a second in front of Austin Cindric; AJ Allmendinger, Harrison Burton, and Riley Herbst round out the top five.
Lap 37, Chase Briscoe has a lead of just over half a second on Austin Cindric; AJ Allmendinger, Riley Herbst, and Harrison Burton round out the top five.
Lap 38, Chase Briscoe has a half second lead on Austin Cindric; AJ Allmendinger is in third over two seconds back.
Lap 39, reports are that leaders Chase Briscoe and Austin Cindric have just enough fuel to make it to the end of the race if it doesn’t go into overtime. Other teams are reporting that they are a little short and are asking their drivers to save fuel.
Lap 40, Chase Briscoe has pulled out to a lead of a second and a half on Austin Cindric; AJ Allmendinger, Riley Herbst, and Harrison Burton round out the top five.
Lap 40, Chase Briscoe has a two second lead on Austin Cindric. Riley Herbst gets through the grass but gets going again and the track stays green.
Lap 41, leader Chase Briscoe’s team is telling him that they are close on fuel and are asking Briscoe to save a bit of fuel if he can. Briscoe has a lead of over two and a half seconds on Austin Cindric; AJ Allmendinger, Harrison Burton, and Brandon Jones round out the top five.
Harrison Burton is reporting some wheel hop and brake issues.
Lap 42, Riley Herbst spins out again, but the track stays green as he gets going again.
Lap 43, Earl Bamber gets into the grass, causing heavy damage to his car. He shuts the car off next to the wall. The caution flag comes out on lap 44 for debris scattered all over the track.
Drivers come down pit road for service with Chase Briscoe winning the race off of pit road and Austin Cindric right behind him.
Before making his pit stop, Austin Cinddric described his car as being undescribingly bad.
Bayley Currey, Kyle Weatherman, and Myatt Snider stayed out on the track. Bayley Currey brings the field down for the green flag restart with seven laps remaining in the race. Drivers get three wide with several drivers missing turn one and damage to some cars bringing out the caution flag. Brandon Jones is the leader of the race. Chase Briscoe is reporting brake issues. Preston Pardus, Riley Herbst, and Chase Briscoe all got turned around.
Brandon Jones brings the field down for the green flag restart with Austin Cindric alongside on the front row with just five laps remaining in the race. Brandon Jones jumps out in front for the lead. Drivers stack up back in the field after Jade Buford gets turned around but the track stays green.
Brandon Jones and Austin Cindric battle for the lead with Austin Cindric finally getting out in front for the lead.
Austin Cindric has won four of the past five races.
With four laps to go, Austin Cindric has a lead of over a second on Brandon Jones with Justin Allgaier ins third; Andy Lally and Noah Gragson round out the top five.
Three to go, Austin Cindric has a lead of two and a half seconds on Brandon Jones with Justin Allgaier over three seconds back.
Justin Allgaier gets turned around after some contact from AJ Allmendinger. The track stays green.
Andy Lally and Noah Gragson battle for third.
Two to go, Austin Cindric has pulled out to a lead of over four second on Brandon Jones.
Austin Cindric takes the white flag with a lead of over five seconds on Brandon Jones.
Winning his fifth of the last sixth races, Austin Cindric joins Sam Ard as the only drivers to do so.
The unofficial results of the UNOH 188:
Tommy Joe Martins
Joe Graf Jr