Tyler Reddick held off a pack of hungry hard chargers to grab his first career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win in Friday night’s season opener at Daytona International Speedway.
Reddick, who drove a partial schedule for Brad Keselowski Racing in 2014 before jumping into a full-time ride for BKR this season, fended off all pursuers after leading the field to the green flag for a final restart with six laps to go.
Kyle Busch Motorsports’ Erik Jones came home second in the NextEra Energy Resources 250, followed by Scott Lagasse Jr., rookie Austin Theriault and Ray Black Jr.
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"It feels amazing. Everybody here made this possible," Reddick, 19, said in Victory Lane as he pointed toward members of his team. "My teammate (Theriault), I wouldn’t have been here if it wasn’t for him, too."
Entering the DIS media center for post-race interviews some 30 minutes later, Reddick revealed that he had received roughly 140 congratulatory text messages from family members and friends.
"It’s just great to see (messages) from all these people you know," said Reddick, who led five times for a total of 46 laps, including the final 33. "You never know if they’re watching or not but you have all these close friends that you meet throughout the years, and to get so many texts from all your friends over the years, and to know that they were watching your race, it really means a lot to me."
Then Keselowski chimed in.
"Your friends and family are about to get a lot bigger," said Reddick’s boss and the 2012 Sprint Cup champion. "You’re going to have aunts and uncles you didn’t even know about."
Jones, who moved from a part-time ride into a full-time seat this season for Kyle Busch Motorsports, was disappointed to come up short.
"My truck was fast," said Jones, who never led. "I just wish we could have won. Second’s always no fun."
The race was slowed by six cautions, including one on Lap 49 for the biggest wreck of the night that started when Ben Kennedy’s Red Horse Racing Toyota slowed up high at the end of the backstretch, inadvertently triggering a chain-reaction wreck that collected a total of 12 trucks that began stacking up to Kennedy’s inside.
Others getting a piece of the incident were Johnny Sauter, John Wes Townley, Theriault, Ryan Ellis, Spencer Gallagher, Chris Fontaine, Timothy Peters, Cameron Hayley, Ryan Hemric, Todd Peck and James Buescher.
Pole winner Ty Dillon, a full-time Xfinity Series driver who is making select truck and Sprint Cup starts this season, led the opening 16 laps before surrendering the top spot to reigning Truck Series champ Matt Crafton for a lap.
Dillon, the youngest grandson of Richard Childress, regained the lead on Lap 18 and went on to lead 37 of the first 50 laps.
Crafton opened his pursuit of a record third consecutive truck title with an eighth-place finish.
"Definitely wasn’t what we wanted," the ThorSport Racing driver said.
VIDEO: The Big One strikes in the Camping World Truck Series race at Daytona