Daytona Beach, FL - Another weekend of racing brings rain, a series of crashes, and two first-time wins—including a historic series debut—to the Daytona Road Course as NASCAR now sets its sights on Homestead.
Friday's Brakebest Select 159 At Daytona started under wet conditions, leaving teams to decide on whether or not to use rain tires or "slicks"." But despite a wet start, John Hunter Nemechek—driver of the No. 4 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota Tundra—led drivers in the first 14 laps of the race, securing a stage one win for the 23-year-old driver.
However, Nemechek's early lead eventually diminished after his truck suffered an oil-pressure and fuel problem, leaving him stranded on the track as the caution flag flew. That still wasn't enough to take Nemechek out of the running, or even the top ten, as he finished the race third.
The race ultimately went to Ben Rhodes—No. 99 Toyota Tundra for ThorSport Racing—who went 2-for-2 at Daytona after securing both Friday's win and a win at the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series opener the week before. Rhodes' win couldn't have been closer too, as 2020 series champion Sheldon Creed—No. 2 Chevrolet Silverado for GMS Racing—came in at just .320-seconds behind Rhodes.
In a historic feat, 18-year-old Ty Gibbs—No. 54 Toyota Supra for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), son of Coy Gibbs and grandson of Joe Gibbs—secured a series debut win at Daytona, holding off 2020 Xfinity Series champion Austin Cindric—No. 22 Ford Mustang for Team Penske.
With that victory, Gibbs made NASCAR history as he became the sixth driver to secure a series debut win—a feat achieved by the late NASCAR Hall of Famer, Dale Earnhardt, in 1982.
And if the win over Cindric wasn't enough, Gibbs also became the youngest NASCAR driver to to win a NASCAR Xfinity Series road course event. The last person to hold that tile was Cindric, who was 20-years-old at the time. Cindric, however, did lead the most laps during the race—29 out of 56.
Following Ty Gibbs' historic win on Saturday, JGR kept the momentum going and secured a second win on Sunday after Christopher Bell—No. 20 Toyota Camry for JGR and 2017 NASCAR Truck Series champion—took the lead from 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Christopher Bell— No. 22 Ford Mustang GT for Team Penske—with just two laps remaining.
While this is Bell's second year in the premier season, it is his first season with JGR and his first ever victory in the NASCAR Cup Series. The win came after eight cautions and eight different leader changes.
The action continues this Saturday and Sunday (February 27th & 28th) as NASCAR takes over Homestead-Miami Speedway for the Xfinity Series' Contender Boats 250 and the Cup Series' Dixie Vodka 400. You'll be able to find the action live on FM 93.5/AM 1150 WNDB with live MRN race coverage beginning at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday.