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February 17, 2018

Ryan Reed

Elliott Sadler

Dayton Beach, Florida

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by our third‑place finisher, Ryan Reed, driver of the No.16 Drive Down A1c Lilly Diabetes Ford for Roush Fenway Racing. You're no stranger here to Victory Lane and success. I know third place has to smart a little bit, but my goodness, could you have asked for any more excitement in those last several laps?
RYAN REED: No, it was‑‑ really it was an up‑and‑down day really, and then every restart, it was like, I would either be getting shuffled or one restart have momentum, the next one I'd be kind of SOL, but it just seemed like there at the end, you know, we had a good enough car that we could push, but when we were out front, we just couldn't do much. We had a lot of damage. The left front damage I think took away our ability to get out front and block.
But congrats to Tyler. He's a great kid and works really hard. He's a good little plate racer himself, and so I know how that feels to get your first Xfinity win at Daytona, and it's pretty special.
Just have a lot of fun coming here. Daytona has been a good place to us, and so I think when you can ride that wave and have that momentum and have the confidence here, it can make all the difference.
THE MODERATOR: We are also joined by tonight's runner up, Elliott Sadler, driver of the No.1 OneMain Financial for Chevrolet for JR Motorsports. If you look at the scoring monitor, you're a runner‑up by the thinnest of margins because we can't even tell on the monitor. What was that finish like from your perspective?
ELLIOTT SADLER: I mean, it's just a tough finish. You know, it was a great race. Tyler drove a great job on those restarts and getting his momentum going and blocking good. I backed up to Ryan and the 11 car off of Turn 2 and got a good shot down the backstretch and made a move on him to side by side, and when we were coming off Turn 4, I was trying to decide how much to side draft and not side draft, and right before we got to the line, he did a really good job of coming down and kind of bumping us a little bit and stalling our momentum to win the race, so a great move for Tyler.
Congratulations to him. He is my teammate, so it's great on one hand to have a JR Motorsports car in Victory Lane, but it's definitely tough to finish second. I think that's three seconds in a row for me on superspeedway races, so we've got to figure out how to be leading one of these things.
We had a pretty wild day. We spun out twice, got black flagged for something. I'm not real sure what yet. I think I was running 32nd on the first green‑white‑checkered attempt, and we had a chance to win the race. So perseverance and never give up and just kind of stay after it. That's the kind of motto of my race team, and it kind of showed again today.

Q. Elliott, it seems like you've got this career of so‑close misses. You almost had a Daytona 500 in similar fashion, very close. Does it hurt any more because they're so close? Or are you able to look back at them and know that, well, it was right there?
ELLIOTT SADLER: Yeah, that's a really good question, and this one hurts the most now because it just happened. But the race that I lost, the 500, I think, in 2009 with Matt Kenseth there with the rain and then finishing second to Ward Burton at the track race here when Michael Waltrip passed me with no spoiler on his truck there the last 100 feet to beat us. I've been close here a lot of times. But this one hurt a lot today because you didn't know. Like, oh, did we, did we not, who won, and I was looking at the scoreboard, and I was like, well the, 9 is up there so that's not a good sign. I knew it was going to be close.
But this one hurts a lot. I don't know how many more starts I'll have at this racetrack, and I feel like I've always been pretty decent at this track. I've been very fortunate to have in good equipment at this track, which makes a big difference. Really want to get one of their trophies here at the place. It takes all aspects of your driving style and your cars and the pit crew and everybody working together. It's a very prestigious win at Daytona, and we'd just like to get one. This one honestly hurts a lot because I think it was so close.

Q. Ryan, were you afraid this was going to go past your bedtime? What about your mental ability to keep handling all these restarts and you're lining up in different places? It had to get kind of strange, right?
RYAN REED: Yeah, when I turned 21, my mom said, all right, we'll do away with the bedtime, so that's good. Luckily she's here, too, so she probably gave me a hall pass on this one regardless.
But yeah, I think emotionally it's tough as you come down to these things and you're putting everything on the line and you're inches apart, and it's just stressful‑‑ it's a stressful race. It's a stressful race all race long, and then once you have six green‑white‑checkereds, it gets real stressful. But I think one of the cool things for me is watching‑‑ one of the things that's really important for me is to watch my blood sugar at the end of these races, so I have a monitor in my car so I can watch it. Blood sugar goes up with adrenaline, so it was going up and up. I could tell ‑‑ it was kind of like a number I could put on how stressed I was getting, and the stress was going up and up. But luckily I felt really good and really sharp at the end of that race and was able to be mentally there, which I think is really what the goal is all about, and we were able to do that.

Q. You may have already answered this before by saying you didn't know whether you'd won it, but at any point as you're alongside of him did you think you were ahead of him, and at what point do you recall heading to the checkered flag that he was able to just nudge past?
ELLIOTT SADLER: You know, when we come off 4, I knew I was really close to him, and I was trying to look in my mirror to see what the 16 and 11 were doing, also. I didn't want to leave a bottom open if they had a run, as well, because the 9 and I were trying to draft off each other. So trying to look in the mirror and see what those guys are doing as well as looking beside me to kind of see how close he was to me and close to the wall, and did I have more momentum than him, should I side draft him, should I not because if I have more momentum then I need to stay away from him. But he did a really good job of coming down on me right at the last minute and I think to slow me down enough to get to me. But I still thought we were really close, which we were. But I didn't know. I mean, I just didn't know, and it's hard to tell a lot of times with the angle that you've got. I mean, it was‑‑ when my spotter came on the radio and said it was the 9 car, my balloon got deflated pretty quick.

Q. For Elliott and Ryan, how important is it for the Xfinity Series to have seven of the first top seven finishers be Xfinity Series regulars?
RYAN REED: Yeah, I think it's really important. I think the series is obviously as a whole taking a hard look at trying to be able to‑‑ names are made here, right, so I think this is a really good testament to that being true. There was a lot of Cup guys in the field, and I know a lot of them had some bad luck and got torn up, but still, there was a lot of fast Xfinity regulars, Elliott, the 9, myself at times. We were up there battling with them. It's really cool to see, and it's something ‑‑ I've been in the Xfinity Series for a number of years now, so when an Xfinity regular gets a win, you have to smile a little bit, even if it wasn't your day, just because you know how hard that is to get done. You know, I'm sure Elliott has beat those guys quite a few times. It's really special when you do.
ELLIOTT SADLER: Yeah, I think it's definitely great for the series to have a bunch of not only drivers but also Xfinity owners that put a lot into the series as full‑time owners that give drivers a chance to come in and finish up front at Daytona. It says a lot for their program. It helps with their sponsors. Wayne Auton and I have talked about this a lot. Cup drivers have a huge, huge advantage on speedways because of the rules. They can lock bumpers and bump a little more and push a little more and take a little extra chance because if they get black flagged, they're not really racing for anything but the win. A lot of times during the middle of the season, Talladega and the July 4th race here at Daytona, we've got to be careful if we're in some type of points battle. So it's an advantage for those guys to kind of be in that position to kind of throw caution to the wind, and they were very aggressive today. Joey and Kyle were very aggressive. On one of the restarts, I think we were ‑‑ like the second green‑white‑checkered, we were going to restart 10th‑‑ no, 32nd, and I told my guys, I said, I just don't think those guys are going to make it. They were so aggressive and were so fast that it was getting down to crunch time.
All that being said, not only is it good for the drivers, I think it's good for the Xfinity sponsors that sponsors the regulars, and I think it's good for the teams, as well.

Q. Both you guys got hit with controversial black flags during the race‑‑
ELLIOTT SADLER: What did you get one for?
RYAN REED: I guess I forced the‑‑ I got loose and the 11 had to avoid me, so I forced him below the yellow line.

Q. What did you think about those calls? Have you seen the flag enforced that way before? And then also, do you think you would have made it through all that carnage had you not been black flagged?
ELLIOTT SADLER: Well, I've got a misunderstanding of the rule, so I'm sure they'll explain it to me. I'll get a phone call Monday, and they'll explain to me what their interpretation of the rule is and what my interpretation of the rule is.
I thought you couldn't lock bumpers to gain a position. That's what I thought. I thought that's what they've always said. So obviously now it's not that, which you can black flag every single car in the field because, I mean, I tandem ‑‑ out of the 143 laps, 90 laps we were tandem‑‑ not the whole way around, but either down the frontstretch or down the backstretch or whatever. I've got to get an interpretation of what the rule really means.
And as far as what happened to Ryan, I'm really lost on that one, so you'll have to ask him.
RYAN REED: Yeah, you know, I talked to Ryan about it, too, and when he pulled out, I went to block him a little bit, but then when he pulled out I got loose and kind of chased him down the track, and so it's‑‑ obviously that one has been the passing below the yellow line or forcing below the yellow line, that's been a hot one this whole Speedweeks, so I'm not alone on that, so I think overall we've just got to do a better job of being clear as drivers, and NASCAR, we've all got to get together, because if it was just me, I would say, okay, I just need a better definition, but there was a lot of guys getting clipped for that this week, this last week. We'll see. You know, luckily we rebounded, and that didn't take us out of contention for a good finish. It's, I think, still kind of confusing at times.

Q. When you got bumped out of the groove there earlier down on the apron, what were your thoughts‑‑
ELLIOTT SADLER: Which time? On the frontstretch or the backstretch?

Q. I don't know, I was watching on TV. I missed exactly where it was. But if it was twice, that's even worse. But what were your thoughts then, and were you surprised you were able to get back and contend for the win?
ELLIOTT SADLER: Well, I thought I made a really good save on the frontstretch. I was asking my guys, like I hope TV caught this. That was like best save I've probably made in my career on the frontstretch. The second one, I wrecked off of Turn 2. I was really close to Almirola, just trying side draft him, and I think Chase got into me a little bit and just right where you unload at, I just got loose and spun out. It was 100 percent my fault, it was just good, close racing. But we were able to just slide through. I flattened my tires, but we were able to get the tires changed, take the penalty and kind of start over.
But I was very fortunate on the frontstretch because I kind of slid in the grass, and I downshifted real quick, and it straightened my car up right on pit road, and we kind of went on, and I thought that was pretty cool. I actually felt like Evel Knievel for a minute. Sometimes you get fortunate and you get lucky when you spin and you don't hit anything, and it was just neat that we were able to rebound from it the best we could.

Q. Elliott, having watched you for decades as a race car driver, it looked today like you overcame all your challenges, and even though you have the frustration of not winning, don't you feel really good about the event?
ELLIOTT SADLER: Oh, yeah, I feel good about fighting back, and I felt good about‑‑ I feel like I helped my teammate win essentially because with the restarts and pushing him and trying to get him out front‑‑ I know he and I had a long conversation about that today before the race started, about hey, if we get in this position, this is what we need to do, because he hadn't been a part of our team yet. So I feel good about those things. As far as teammates are concerned, we all work very close to each other. It's good to see Tyler and those guys, I've got a lot of friends on the 9 team. We raced them so close all last year with William. It's good to see those guys go to Victory Lane. It says a lot for our program. So I feel good about that.
But I think personally inside, you come so close so many times sometimes, you just start wondering, man, when is it going to be my chance to punch the ticket at Daytona. You've just got to rebound, regroup, and I'll take notes of today's race of what I did right and what I did wrong and what I learned about these cars and try to be focused and ready to go when we get to Talladega and this same style of racing. That's all I can do.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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