The first race of the new Xfinity Series - the new name for NASCAR's second tier championship after a change of title sponsors from last year's Nationwide - saw Ryan Reed claim his maiden victory in 40 starts with Roush Fenway Racing.

"I can't thank everyone who stood behind me through my Type 1 diabetes diagnosis four years ago," said the 21-year-old Californian. "I was told I wouldn't race and now we are standing in victory lane at Daytona. Thank you Lilly Diabetes, American Diabetes Association, Roush Fenway, Ford and everyone that stood behind us through everything we have been through. It is time to celebrate!"

Full race results, plus qualifying and practice speeds and full Xfinity Series championship standings.

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However the mood in victory lane was somewhat subdued after a late violent crash for Kyle Busch against the inside wall, which came at a particularly bad angle and at a point lacking the protective SAFER barriers. Busch struggled to climb out of the car as safety workers doused it with fire extinguishers, and he then lay down on the track before being removed on a stretcher to an ambulance and then sent to nearby Halifax Medical Center for treatment. His right leg was put into a protective air brace. He was described at awake and alert throughout, but NASCAR quickly confirmed that Busch will not be medically cleared in time to race in Sunday's Daytona 500.

Earlier, Austin Dillon had pole position for the start of the Alert Today Florida 300, his 11th pole in 79 Nationwide/Xfinity Series races to date. He had posted a lap of 47.306s (190.251mph) on the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway tri-oval with Justin Marks alongside him on the front row with a best time just 0.023s off Dillon's own.

However qualifying had not been without its headaches: a rain delay for a light shower came just after another multi-car wreck revived the controversy about this year's change to a new group format for qualifying rather than traditional single car time trials. Although NASCAR tweaked the original format that led to a big wreck in Cup qualifying last week, it didn't stop six cars wrecking after Joe Gibbs Racing rookie Daniel Suarez moved down the track and making contact with Blake Koch who in turn was sent into Carlos Contreras, with Landon Cassill, Harrison Rhodes, and Tanner Berryhill all running into the incident. Suarez himself was forced to his backup car and the back of the grid for the rest of the day.

When the race went green, Dillon and Marks were quickly ousted from the lead by Chris Buescher, and then Buescher was in turn dismissed by Austin's brother and Richard Childress Racing team mate Ty Dillon. After that, the lead went back and forth between Ty Dillon and Darrell Wallace Jr., newly installed in the Roush Fenway Racing #6 for 2015 after an off-season transfer from JGR. In the end it was Wallace's former team mate Kyle Busch who went in front on lap 42 to establish the first spell of any real domination of the afternoon by leading for the next 27 laps, which proved to be the most of anyone all day. Busch then got slowed by lapped traffic on lap 68 which allowed Regan Smith to surge into the head, followed by Kyle Larson. A subsequent round of pit stops saw Larson penalised for too many men over the wall and Wallace dinged for driving through too many pit stalls on the way to his own stopping point; Dale Earnhardt Jr. was also penalised for the same offence.

The race had proved surprisingly trouble-free for the first 93 laps of the 120-lap event, with only one caution so far coming on lap 80 for a tyre escaping on pit road. However, when trouble did hit it hit very hard indeed: Ryan Reed had just gone to the lead for the first time when Kyle Larson made contact with the slower, lapped #18 driven by Suarez as they exited turn 4. The impact sent Suarez shooting sideways and into Smith, who flipped over onto his roof before the car managed to right itself at which point the #7 JR Motorsports then received supplementary hits from Scott Lagasse Jr. and Brendan Gaughan, while Suarez went on to make further heavy contact with Smith's team mate Chase Elliott.

"I saw the #18 wrecking, wrecking again, and wrecking a third time, and there's really nowhere I can go coming off the corner," Smith said, having been able to climb from his wrecked car without assistance. "I'm down as low as I can get right there. He saved it, saved it, saved it, and then ... I'm in trouble."

Also caught up in the wreck were John Wes Townley, Mike Wallace, Justin Marks, Ryan Sieg and Chad Boat, forcing a 25-minute red flag while officials cleaned up the mess. Austin Dillon had avoided the initial accident but was then rear-ended under the caution by Mike Wallace, who had been suffering from intermittent radio problems. Both cars were damaged but subsequently patched up on pit road to allow them to continue racing.

Reed and Keselowski resumed their pitched battle at the front only for them both to be jumped by Chris Buescher, at which point there was a rapid third caution on lap 103 for debris falling off Chase Elliott's hastily repaired #9 car. Keselowski got the best of the restart on lap 107, and he was still out in front when Erik Jones spun out on lap 112 which triggered the wreck that put his team mate Busch into the inside wall and also caught up Brian Scott, Chase Elliott, Brendan Gaughan, Elliott Sadler, JJ Yeley among others.

The clean-up together with the safety and medical crew attending to the injured Busch provoked the second red flag of the day, this time for 11 minutes, and once that was over it left a five lap sprint finish to the chequered flag. Keselowski tried to win it by pulling free of the rest of the field. Larson attempted to run with him but spun out on the final lap, leaving Keselowski isolated at the front and vulnerable to a pack run of drafting cars that helped Reed surge to the front at which point he was able to block Keselowski's attempt at a counter-attack. Thwarted, Keselowski fell back to fifth at the line while Reed maintained his narrow lead over RFR team mate Buescher followed by the Dillon siblings Ty and Austin to claim victory.

"I ended up getting a huge run on Brad and he was left on an island so I got a huge run on him and really I was hoping I could guess the block," said Reed on victory lane. "I knew he would take me high and it was just about how quick I could get underneath him. We timed it perfect and here we are."

"I definitely had too big of a lead," Keselowski admitted afterwards. "There's only so much you can block and the run that the 16 had was just more than I could block without wrecking everybody, so that's just part of it I guess.

"The #16 and the #60 got a great run with some really smart drafting and flung by us," he added. "That was just the way the cards were dealt. We've come to Daytona the last four or five years and led a bunch of laps, and been leading towards the end, and not been able to finish it out and today is the same."

Keselowski will have another chance of a Daytona victory in 24 hours time in the Great American Race, although he starts the Daytona 500 from way back in 39th place on the grid after a disappointing midweek Budweiser Duel heat race. Hendrick Motorsports team mates and multiple Cup champions Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson on the front row.

Full race results, plus qualifying and practice speeds and full Xfinity Series championship standings.

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