Austin Dillon emerged from a frenzied late-race battle to win the Subway Firecracker 250 Powered by Coca-Cola on Saturday night at Daytona International Speedway.
Dillon, driving the No. 33 Rheem Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing, outraced veteran Elliott Sadler and reigning NASCAR XFINITY Series champion Chase Elliott in a two-lap “green-white-checkered” finish.
Dillon is one of eight “double duty” drivers this weekend, competing in both the Subway Firecracker 250 and Sunday night’s Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola, in which he’ll start second alongside polesitter Dale Earnhardt Jr.
A number of contenders were eliminated in a 12-car incident on Lap 91. That brought out a red flag that lasted 10 minutes and seven seconds. After a few laps run under caution, the race went back to green but only for two laps, as another 12-car incident caused the race’s final caution period. That set up the green-white-checkered sprint.
Dillon steered clear of trouble both times en route to his first win at Daytona International Speedway, site of many victories for car owners Richard Childress – Dillon’s grandfather.
“This is Daytona … so many family memories here,” Dillon said. “I’m just happy for my grandfather. This is the favorite win of my career.”
After a rain delay of a little more than an hour, the 100-lap/250-mile race – the 15th race of the NASCAR XFINITY Series season – took the green flag, with the field led by series rookie Daniel Suarez on the pole. Earlier Saturday, Suarez won the pole in the No. 18 ARRIS Toyota with a speed of 180.256 miles per hour on the 2.5-mile tri-oval.
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Tickets for Sunday night’s Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola – set for 7:45 p.m. Sunday – can be purchased by calling 1-800-PITSHOP or visiting www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com.Fans can follow NASCAR on Twitter and stay up to speed on the latest news by using hashtags #CokeZero400 and #SubwayFirecracker250. Fans also can stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest for the latest news all season long. Fans can follow the latest on DAYTONA Rising, the $400 million frontstretch renovation at the “World Center of Racing” by using #DAYTONARising on Twitter or visiting www.daytonarising.com