Joe Reynolds led 82 laps to take victory in the Kobalt Tools 400 on Sunday, his first since the Mosport Road Course late last season. The win is also the second for Wood Brothers Racing, which last went to victory lane in the Daytona 500 in 2013B with Trevor Clark.
Atlanta winner Philip von Borries captured the pole for the race, and looked to take an early lead, pulling away from the field on the first lap. That progress was short-lived, as the field was slowed by the first caution of the race coming to lap two.
As the field entered turn 3, Tyler Itell slide up the track into Daytona 500 winner Michelle Mostiler, and the pairing then slide further up the track into Rookie (and Itell’s teammate) Mark Luft. The contact sent all three spinning into the outside wall. In reaction to the first crash, Zachary Maloney and Joseph Tanner got together as well, forcing Tanner into Valerie Cabanilla. Both Tanner and Cabanilla would spin, and hit the wall at the exit of turn 4, and Luft, gathering it up from the initial crash, plowed into Cabanilla to finish off the crash. Both Luft and Cabanilla would fail to finish the race, while the rest of the drivers would go on and finish the race, though several laps down.
Once the race resumed, it was clear sailing for new leaders Alexi Alejandra and John Williams, each leading over 50 laps by the end of the race. Alejandra would prove to have the dominant car through much of the race, until a bad pit call on the second to last pit cycle cost her a ton of time, resulting in a 14th place finish. Williams would have a similar fate, fading to 8th place by race end.
The latter half of the race saw Joe Reynolds, with his new team, The Wood Brothers, take a commanding lead, eventually surpassing Alejandra in laps led, leading a race high 82 laps (to Alejandra’s 78). Reynolds didn’t have it easy. Trent Varner, who is making his Cup Series return this season, ran him down and took the lead with 20 to go, but Reynolds was able to take the top spot back after catching lapped traffic a few laps later. It was clear that the technical alliance with Team Penske – where Reynolds drove last season, and won a Championship with in 2014A – was a huge benefit to the #21 team.
Reynolds would score the victory, while Varner finished second. Matthew Adams came home in third place, while Lewis Black and von Borries finished out the top-5.
The series heads to Phoenix International Raceway for it’s next race.