NASCAR at Daytona After Thoughts: Rain, Wrecks and Plenty of Fireworks at the Coke Zero 400

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The Coke Zero 400 start was delayed by rain, had lots of wrecks and plenty of fireworks during and after the race and ended up with a major shift in points for those trying to stay in (or get in) the top twelve for the Chase.

Kevin Harvick powered his way to victory at the Coke Zero 400 and proved he is a force to be reckoned with when it comes Chase time. All of the Childers’ teams once again looked strong Saturday night and continue to impress with their performances at almost every track NASCAR visits. Harvick is just plain consistent and almost always near the front at the end of a race and now has two victories on the year.

Just about any NASCAR fan will tell you consistently finishing in the top five and top ten is what it takes to win a Sprint Cup Championship and, so far, Kevin Harvick is proving that is at least what it takes to stay in first place in the point standings leading up to the Chase.

The Jeff Burton and Clint Bowyer RCR teams aren’t fairing quite as well as Harvick when it comes to finishes, but both are showing up almost every week with cars that could end up in victory lane. Jeff Burton has had his share of bad luck almost every race this year and in particular when it looks like he may have one of the cars to beat. It is a shame that his consistency seems to be finding his way into trouble, whether it is his fault or not, and although he is in the top twelve with no wins, he could have won at least a couple had things gone just slightly different during several races this season.

Listening to the buzz from the drivers during and after the race, I heard a lot of frustration being vented toward a few other drivers and the track being a lot more slippery than usual. More than one said they liked the character of the track and they were going to miss it, but this fan got the impression they were looking forward to the new surface they will see in February. I can’t blame them but I do know racing at Daytona won’t be the same as it has been for the last several years. I have the feeling it will be more like Talladega in many ways now that they will have a newer, smoother surface to race on. I’m not saying they will be the same… I’m just sayin’… the two will be similar, (at least for a while.)

As I expected, this race was full of some minor skirmishes that added up to a small “Big One” and one big, “Big One” near the end that took out almost half of the remaining field. The positions according to points had some important changes and this fan wonders if some of the teams affected the most will recover. Jeff Gordon moved into second place by doing something he hasn’t done in a while—avoid being caught up in that big “Big One.” He and Dale Jr. both missed it by just inches and it turned into a plus for both of them.

Probably one of the most disappointed driver’s Saturday night was Clint Bowyer. If the race had ended before the green-white-checker, he would have likely been sitting in 11th place in points. As it turned out, he is in 14th place.

Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to the race this coming weekend at Chicagoland. I can’t wait to see if the race in Daytona was a turnaround for a couple of teams and they are now going to ride a wave of momentum or if we get back to what we experienced in the month of May with the Bush brothers and the JGR teams playing a more dominant role than in the last several weeks.

Any way it goes, NASCAR Sprint Cup teams get a weekend off before heading to Indianapolis and I know they will welcome the minimal lack of pressure for at least that one weekend; (notice I didn’t say they get a week off.)

There is enough to keep them busy just getting ready for the next seven weeks leading up to the Chase after Chicagoland…

See ya next time… Rusty

All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer

© July 7, 2010 – all rights reserved

Rusty Norman and

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