Stenhouse Jr. Wins Longest Coke Zero 400
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.— For the second time in a row at a restrictor-plate event, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was victorious in the Coke Zero 400 from Daytona International Speedway.
“Wow, these guys. I kept my Talladega car and told them to build a new one. They build the Fifth Third Ford that was really fast. We won the Firecracker 400! This is awesome! I have been coming here since 2008. I actually came in 2006 one time with Bobby Hamilton Jr. and it is cool to put it in victory lane and get our second win this year. I love it! Thank you to the fans for coming out here. Everyone at NASCAR. What a great weekend. America. 1776. We are the champs!,” said Stenhouse Jr. post race.
It only took Stenhouse Jr. seven races to win his second career Cup race. This was Stenhouse Jr.’s seventh top-10 of 2017. This marks the 137th victory for Jack Roush at the Cup level. This marks Ford’s eighth Cup win of 2017.
Clint Bowyer finished second after contending for most of the race at the front of the field
“Wow, what a night. A fun race. Our Mobil 1 Ford was strong. I got shuffled out on that second stage and that bummed me out. I wanted those stage points. It wasn’t that big a deal because I knew that we had a hot rod to get back up front. Man, it’s just every man for himself. You’re beating and banging Both sides are ground off my car. Good night. This bridesmaid deal sucks. I want to win. We’re in this business to win. That’s what Tony and Gene pay me to do. I’m proud of everyone on the Mobil 1 Ford team,” said Bowyer.
Paul Menard was “Mr. Where did he come from?” tonight at Daytona. Menard was able to finish third at Daytona.
"We really didn't want to hang out in the back, but we got involved in a wreck really early and once you get back there, it is really hard to get back up to the front. I was just waiting for something to happen at the end of those stages. We weren't in the top-15 so I just bailed out of the pack for the stages. I had a really good handling car from yesterday in the draft practice,” said Menard. “All weekend long it handled really well. I knew it would race really well tonight. Bowyer gave me a hell of a push that last lap. I wasn't very good at leading, being the first guy in a line. With Ricky (Stenhouse) breaking the air, I couldn't run off to the start/finish line. We just have to keep doing this. If you run in the top--five you put yourself in position for wins. We definitely had a shot tonight, I just couldn't get a run off of turn four even with Bowyer pushing me. I just didn't have the run I had the lap before. I thought we had a chance to win this one, just couldn't get the run."
There were 33 lead changes among 16 different drivers. The caution flag flew for a record 14 times for 51 laps, while the red flag was displayed once. The average speed was 123.986 mph. This became the longest Coke Zero 400 at three hours, 17 minutes, and 12 seconds. The margin of victory was 0.213 seconds.
Kyle Larson leads Martin Truex, Jr. by 18 points in the standings.
Next up for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is a trip to Kentucky Speedway for the Quaker State 400. The race will be broadcasted on NBCSN and Performance Racing Network beginning at 7:30 p.m. EDT on July 8th.
Armstrong, Sadler Discuss Mojo Of Coca-Cola Firecracker 250
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.— With three red flags and nine caution flags during the Coca-Cola Firecracker 250, finding that mojo was difficult to come by.
Once the race completed the second stage, drivers ratcheted up the intensity and made moves that were not seen during the first two stages. Dakoda Armstrong and Elliott Sadler discussed the flow of the race:
“A little bit. The race was pretty weird. With all the rain, everyone was kinda calm, for the most part. There really wasn't a big wreck until the end. Everybody was willing to ride more in the first two stages. I think the rain played a part in that. It was kinda restarting the race from the beginning every time. I feel like that was the best I’ve seen the field do as far as being aggressive and moving and not just tearing up stuff. It was kinda weird the way it played out, it probably helped everyone’s nerves. For me, we were ready to get it over with. We knew this could hurt us or help us. Luckily, we were on the good side of it,” said Armstrong.
“It just seemed short to me because you start-stop-start-stop. I think everybody was kinda calm until we knew that we got to lap 60, the next weather rain would end it because we knew we had to get everything ready for Cup. Cars started getting more aggressive. I saw bump drafting a lot more, more side drafting, more three-wide. The first half of the race was calm. Everybody knew once we got to lap 60, things had to change. You kinda saw that,” said Sadler.
Byron Scores Victory in Rain-Marred Daytona Event
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.— For the second week in a row, William Byron was able to score the victory in the rain-marred Coca-Cola Firecracker 250 from Daytona International Speedway.
Byron was sent to the back of the field at the beginning of the race and then in the middle of the race due to issues with the splitter, but was able to work his way to the front to win at Daytona.
"Man it's awesome. These Daytona fans are really cool. I came here for a Daytona 500 when I was a kid ... this is so cool to win at Daytona. I can't even imagine it. These guys brought a great JRM car and hopefully Dale can get it done (tonight). This is is really cool for our team and just really proud of everybody," Byron stated to NBCSN.
This is Byron’s first victory at Daytona International Speedway. He was also the highest finishing rookie in the event.
After running up front and narrowly missing a couple wrecks, Elliott Sadler finished second. Sadler was also able to score a stage point by winning the second stage.
“The Chevrolet was fast all day. We won a stage. We finished second, ah. A 1-2 finish for JRM is a really good day for us,” Sadler stated to NBCSN after the race.
Being in the right place at the right time payed dividends as Dakota Armstrong finished third.
“We had some damage. A good day for us surviving. Two good weeks in a row for us. Good momentum for us going into the points. Everyone’s working hard, it was awesome. Good day for our whole team,” Armstrong stated to NBCSN.
Jeb Burton, David Starr, Brennan Poole, Joey Logano, Joey Gase, Brendan Gaughan, and BJ McLeod rounded out the top-five.
The Coca-Cola Firecracker 250 was delayed twice by rain and then once for cleanup on the track. The caution flew nine times for 35 laps. There were 18 lead changes amongst 10 different divers. The time of race was two hours, 13 minutes, and 56 seconds. The average speed was 116.476 mph. Blake Koch and Sadler won the first two stages.
Sadler extends his points lead to 59 points over Byron.
Next up for the NASCAR Xfinity Series is a trip to Kentucky Speedway for a Friday night spectacular, the Alsco 300. The race will air on NBCSN and Performance Racing Network at 8:00 p.m. EDT.
Rain Delays Coca-Cola Firecracker 250 to Saturday
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.— With just 11 laps complete, the rains began to fall at Daytona International Speedway during the Coca-Cola Firecracker 250 for the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
NASCAR tried their best efforts to dry the track, but the rain was no match. With 11 laps complete, Blake Koch is the current race leader. Ben Kennedy is second, Brennan Poole is third, Matt Tifft is fourth, and Daniel Hemric rounds out the top-five.
The Coca-Cola Firecracker 250 will be run on Saturday at 12:00 p.m EDT on CNBC.
Earnhardt Jr Scores Daytona Pole
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.— Dale Earnhardt Jr. will start from the pole in Saturday night’s Coke Zero 400 from Daytona International Speedway in his final full-rime season.
"I have to give Hendrick Motorsports a lot of credit, particularly for me personally it has been the No. 24 (Chase Elliott) bunch. We've been kind of pushing each other over the last several years in qualifying at Talladega and Daytona. It's been a healthy competition,” said Earnhardt Jr. “That's why we win poles and qualify so well at some of these race tracks is a healthy competition within the company. Greg and all the guys deserve all the credit for the car. I don't do anything in qualifying except hold the wheel and make sure I don't hit the apron. The car does everything. A lot of credit to the power and the body man back at the shop. All that stuff is so critical and they did a great job today."
This is Earnhardt Jr’s second pole at Daytona. This is his 14th career pole.
In the first round of qualifying, Earnhardt Jr. was fastest at 190.852 mph. Chase Elliott was second fastest at 190.751 mph. Joey Logan was third fastest at 190.283 mph. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was fourth fastest at 190.186 mph. Kasey Kahne rounded out the top-five at 190.174 mph. All drivers will race on Saturday night. Notable drivers who did not make the second round of qualifying include Matt Kenseth (P13), Kurt Busch (P15), Kyle Busch (P16), Kyle Larson (P21), and Martin Truex Jr. (P25).
In the final round of qualifying, Earnhardt Jr posted the pole winning speed at 190.973 mph. Elliott will start second with his speed of 190.795 mph. Brad Keselowski will start third with his speed of 190.287 mph. Kahne will start fourth with his speed of 190.050 mph. Kevin Harvick rounded out the top-five with his speed of 190.046 mph. Stenhouse Jr, Logano, Jamie McMurray, Ryan Blaney, and Danica Patrick round out the top-10.
The Coke Zero 400 from Daytona will be broadcasted on Motor Racing Network and NBC beginning at 7:30 p.m. EDT.