Massive crash brings out red flag early in XFINITY race at Daytona

As expected, the racing got intense early on in Saturday’s season-opening Powershares QQQ 300 NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Daytona International Speedway.

On Lap 23 following a restart, the field began to crash on the backstretch, when  Tyler Reddick got turned by Scott Lagasse Jr., triggering a huge pileup that continued into Turn 3.

All told, 19 cars were involved in the incident — just one short of half the field.

So pervasive was the contact that it brought out a red flag, halting the action for 18 minutes and 22 seconds.

Under NASCAR’s new procedures, cars that couldn’t be driven back to the pits were eliminated from the race.

One of the drivers taken out was Cole Custer, who was making his first start in the new Stewart-Haas Racing XFINITY team.

“It’s Daytona,” said Custer. “You’re gonna have this all the time, so we’ll go to the next one. That’s all you can look forward to, and I think we’re gonna be fast in Atlanta. We’ll see what we can do.”