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Ryan Blaney wins Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona; Tyler Reddick secures final spot in NASCAR Cup playoffs

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Ryan Blaney took the lead on a frantic overtime restart Saturday night at Daytona and never looked back, winning the Coke Zero Sugar 400 in dramatic fashion as cars wrecked behind him going down the backstretch.

The yellow flag was displayed as Blaney entered Turn 3, signaling the end of the race and a second consecutive win for Blaney.

"How about that?" said Blaney, who won last week at Michigan. "That was wild. The biggest thing was getting a really good push, and Corey LaJoie gave me a good push. We have everything going our way, so hopefully we can keep it up."

Here are five takeaways from Saturday's NASCAR reguarl-season finale:

1. Blaney holds off Harvick, Buescher

Blaney, who now has three wins this season, was out in front as a big crash was triggered behind him on the backstretch.

Chris Buescher led the field to green on the overtime restart with three to go, but Blaney powered to the front thanks to a big shove from LaJoie.

Kevin Harvick and Buescher tried to work their way back to Blaney over the final two laps, but Harvick got tangled with Daniel Suarez on the backstretch of the final lap, triggering a big enough wreck to force the yellow flag.

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"To win at Daytona is so cool," Blaney said. "This is really special. It's been a fun two weeks."

2. Chase Elliott, Matt DiBenedetto trigger the Big One

Chase Elliott was fast all night, and took the lead from Buescher with six laps to go.

Three laps later, however, Elliott went up to block Matt DiBenedetto and caused a multi-car pileup coming out of Turn 4, taking out several drivers, including Christopher Bell, Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch.

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"Someone came out of nowhere and T-boned me," Busch said. "So that was fun."

3. William Bryon, defending 400 champ, crashes late

William Byron won this race last season, and had a fast car Saturday.

Unfortunately, it was all for naught.

Byron was caught up in a big wreck with 16 laps to go that took out Martin Truex Jr. and Tyler Reddick.

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Truex got turned going down the backstretch, and went nose-first into Byron, sending the No. 24 Chevy hard into the wall. The two went spinning in the middle of the pack, taking out Landon Cassill's No. 96 and Reddick's No. 8 along the way.

The red flag was displayed due to oil.

"Looks like we were one row short of getting through it," Byron said. "We were the meat in the sandwich there."

4. Tyler Reddick makes NASCAR playoffs; Kyle Larson regular season champion

Reddick and RCR teammate Austin Dillon came into Daytona battling for the 16th and final playoff spot, and it was Reddick who advanced to the postseason after a seventh-place finish.

Kyle Larson, meanwhile, took home the regular season championship, edging out Denny Hamlin for the top spot. Larson finished 21st, while Hamlin finished 14th.

Both drivers took home stage points throughout the night, but Larson's 28-point lead coming into the race was too big to overcome.

5. Daytona 500 champ Michael McDowell out early

McDowell, who won February's Daytona 500, had an engine problem early in Saturday's race, and eventually brought his No. 34 Ford to the garage to end his night.

"It’s so unfortunate. It’s heartbreaking," said McDowell. "Our car was really good. We had to go to the tail and we were able to drive back in the top 20.

"I felt like it was really racy. I was being pretty conservative and then under the caution I just lost oil pressure. It’s really unfortunate."

This article originally appeared on The Daytona Beach News-Journal: Ryan Blaney wins NASCAR Cup Series regular season finale at Daytona