NASCAR Race Review: Coke Zero 400

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Welcome NASCAR race fans to my NASCAR blog. Today’s NASCAR race review is the NASCAR Sprint Cup race, the Coke Zero 400, from the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, FL. Qualifying was on Friday after a rain shortened practice session. Mark Martin captured the pole position with a speed of 182.065 mph and 49.433 seconds around this 2.5 mile track. This is his 50th career pole and third at Daytona. Trevor Bayne, winner of the Daytona 500 will start second. His winning car is in Daytona USA. Tony Raines and J. J. Yeley failed to make the race.

Can Trevor sweep Daytona? Joey Logano won the Nationwide race here on Friday night. Can he sweep the weekend? David Ragan, in the Daytona 500, changed lanes before the Start/Finish Line in the final restart as leader and was penalized. Can he redeem himself? Each driver will need a partner for this race. One to push and one to lead. Each driver picked a partner, but some will have to look around to find theirs because of the way they qualified. Jeff Burton is making in his 600th start. 47 Bobby Labonte made an engine change and 7 made a driver change. Both will start from the rear. TNT is having Wide Open Coverage for this race. That means the commercials will run along side of the racing action.

So, here we go! 24 Jeff Gordon and 33 Clint Bowyer switch starting spots so that 24 is behind 5 Mark Martin and 33 is pushing 21 Trevor Bayne. 5 leads from the pole. 16 Greg Biffle pushes 99 Carl Edwards up the middle. The first caution comes out on lap 5. 2 Brad Keselowski was pushing 21 in the corner and got to his inside, which turned 21 into the wall. 1 Jamie McMurray and 47 have damage also. Trevor will not sweep Daytona.

24 keeps 5 in the lead at the restart. 88 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. takes the lead with 48 Jimmie Johnson pushing. 22 Kurt Busch, with 78 Regan Smith takes the lead. 16 pushes 99 into the lead. 22 with help from 78 takes the lead. 2 falls back with no partner and gets lapped. The second caution comes out on lap 24. 99 in third gets turned entering the tri-oval. 16 was pushing and you can’t see what is going on back there. Carl told Greg what he was going to do and did it before Greg could react. Carl slides along the asphalt into the inside wall and damages the crush panel. 2 Brad Keselowski gets back onto the lead lap.

29 Kevin Harvick with 27 Paul Menard pushing takes the lead. They switch places and fall back. 78 leads with 22 pushing. 6 David Ragan with 17 Matt Kenseth pushing takes the lead. 4 Kasey Kahne with 83 pushing takes the lead. 56 Martin Truex, Jr., with 00 David Reutimann pushing, takes the lead. 6 pushes 17 into the lead. The third caution comes out when 36 Dave Blaney gets into the wall. 18 stays out a lap to lead. 4 leads but falls back to partner 83. 00 pushes 56 into the lead. 22 pushes 78 into the lead. 6 pushes 17 into the lead. 83 pushes 4 into the lead. 29 pushes 27 into the lead. 34 David Gilliland pushes 14 Tony Stewart into the lead. 51 Landon Cassill pushes 13 Casey Mears into the lead. (If they trade places just before the line, the pusher gets to lead that lap before they fall back.)

18 and 20 battle for the lead with 4 and 83 back and forth. Green Flag Pitting starts and couples head for the pits together. 87 Joe Nemechek leads. 33 pushes 31 Jeff Burton into the lead. They switch and 33 leads before they pit, to complete the cycle. 39 Ryan Newman pushes 11 Denny Hamlin into the lead. 16 pushes 2 into the lead. 1 pushes 42 Juan Pablo Montoya into the lead. 31 pushes 33 into the lead. 11 pushes 39 into the lead. 42 and 1 pit to start another round of Green Flag Pitting. 29 and 27 are the last to pit. 39 leads after this round.

There have been 55 lead changes among 25 drivers! The fourth caution comes out with three laps to go. 83 gets into 4, 4 moves up into 24 and 24 spins,but doesn’t hit anything. 18 gets pinched into the wall. The first attempt at a Green, White Checker Finish ends in a caution and is “the big one”. 6 is leading with 39 beside him and 17 behind, for the second attempt at a Green White Checker Finish. 17 pushes 6 to the Finish line with much carnage behind them. David Ragan wins his first career win and redeems himself from his mistake in the Daytona 500. Team mate Matt Kenseth pushed him to the win. What great team work. Joey Logano didn’t sweep the weekend, but finished third, followed by Kasey Kahne, Kyle Busch, Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Paul Menard, Juan Pablo Montoya and A. J. Allmendinger to round out the top ten. There were 57 lead changes among 25 drivers!

Kevin Harvick takes over the points lead, with Carl Edwards dropping to second. Kyle Busch moves up two spots into third. Kurt Busch stays in fourth. Matt Kenseth moves up one  into fifth. Jimmie Johnson falls three spots to sixth. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. remains in seventh.Jeff Gordon and Clint Bowyer trade places for eighth and ninth. Ryan Newman remains in tenth. The win moves David Ragan into thirteenth and with the win is a contender for the chase.

Brought to you by Sheila Hawley. I love NASCAR racing.

 

 

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