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Saturday, July 5
Daytona Int'l Speedway
Daytona Beach, FL
Kyle Busch Takes Sixth Win In Daytona Thriller
Source - NASCAR Communications
DAYTONA BEACH, FLA. (July 5, 2008) - Fireworks started the Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola Saturday night. Fireworks ended the race as well, both on and off the track.
In a wild and wooly finish so typical of races at Daytona International Speedway, Kyle Busch won by a whisker over hard-charging Carl Edwards with a chain-reaction accident behind them sending up a cloud of smoke that covered the track.
The race ended in a green, white, checkered finish after a spectacular night of racing that more resembled a Saturday night short track event where rubbing fenders and banging bumpers is a rule rather than exception. The bumping continued on a restart when Edwards tapped Gordon, who was second at the time, in the rear and sent him spinning off the track.
The untimely collision sent Gordon from second to 31st in the race rundown.
Kyle Busch (18) and Carl Edwrads (99) on the last lap of the Coke Zero 400.
Following Busch and Edwards across the finish line were Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch, Clint Bowyer, David Ragan, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Brian Vickers, Mark Martin and Travis Kvapil.
Kasey Kahne was 11th after racing with the leaders most of the night before a sideswipe with another driver cut a tire and forced him to make an unscheduled pit stop.
Former Indy 500 winner Sam Hornish, Jr., was next after another impressive run. Hornish kept his Dodge in contention throughout the 160-lap event before being caught up in the late race melee that scattered car parts all over the track. Michael Waltrip, Dave Blaney, Paul Menard and several other drivers were a part of the domino-type accident at the end. So was J. J. Yeley, who kept the Home Depot Toyota in contention after relief driving for Tony Stewart, who was under the weather and had to climb out of his car shortly before the halfway point.
Denny Hamlin, winner of Friday night's NASCAR Nationwide race, ran with the fastest cars before a shunt with this year's Daytona 500 winner Ryan Newman ended his chances. Newman's night wound up a nightmare. He was involved in three accidents, the last one crippling his already-damaged machine.
Hamlin wound up 30th with Newman 36th.
It was Busch's sixth win of the season and he managed to do it after almost spinning out himself. A mishap earlier in the race put him way back in the pack but he made it back to the front by the end. He heads to Chicago still leading the NASCAR Sprint Cup points chase by a comfortable margin.
After a spectacular pre-race show with typical Fourth of July fireworks and the rollout of an enormous American flag, Menard led the 43-car from the pole in his DEI Chevrolet. Fan favorite Earnhardt quickly moved into second place with Johnny Sauter third.
At Lap 10, Menard still led but all eyes were on the No. 20 of Tony Stewart, who spent several hours in the care center prior to the race trying to figure out why he felt a little out of sorts. Stewart moved from 17th starting position to seventh. Sauter fell off the pace since he used a qualifying setup to make the race as did sports car ace Boris Said, who went from seventh starting position to 41st after 20 laps.
Earnhardt passed Menard for the lead on Lap 20, just before A. J. Allmendinger blew a right front tire after starting the race on a qualifying setup.
After a pit stop that included the entire field, Kyle Busch came out first, trailed by Menard, Smith, Blaney, Ragan, Kvapil, Kenseth, Vickers, Kevin Harvick and Stewart on the 24th lap.
It didn't take long for NASCAR's best drivers to produce some fireworks of their own. With Kyle Busch still leading, guys swapped positions behind him every lap. At times, the first 20 cars were running so close together, a matter of inches separated them on all sides. Earnhardt streaked to the front on the 36th lap with Busch second, Blaney third and Stewart once again storming towards the front in third place. The top 10 included Martin, Vickers, Kahne, Gordon, Kenseth and Kvapil.
Ryan Newman got a little help from Jamie McMurray exiting turn two and spun off the corner bringing out a caution on the 43rd lap.
Fortunately, Newman's Dodge made no contact with the walls and continued the race.
When racing resumed, it was Busch and Earnhardt up front with Stewart, Martin and Gordon right behind. Menard had fallen well back in the pack. By Lap 55, Earnhardt was back up front again with Martin and Gordon in tow.
Greg Biffle and Juan Pablo Montoya got together on the 70th lap coming out of turn four to bring out another caution.
Stewart, too sick to continue, was replaced by Yeley. The driver switch shoved Yeley back to 39th but he remained on the lead lap. Johnson had the lead when the race resumed and before you could blink an eye, teammate Gordon got a shove from Earnhardt and took the lead.
Point leader Busch almost lost control just a lap past the halfway point and swerved all over the track before regaining control of his Toyota. He dropped from a top five spot to 37th.
Complete Race Results click here
Post-Race Driver Point Standings click here
Race Recap click here
The Race: Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola
The Place: Daytona International Speedway
The Track: 2.5-mile tri-oval
The Distance: 400 miles/160 laps
TV: TNT, pre-race @ 6:30 p.m. (ET)
Radio: MRN, SIRIUS Satellite Radio
2007 Winner: Jamie McMurray
2007 Polesitter: Jeff Gordon
Pre-Race Schedule: Thursday— Practice, 4-5:20 p.m. and 6:35-7:45. Friday—Qualifying, 4:10 p.m.
Year-To-Date Race Results & Driver Point Standings click here
Broadcast Times - AT*
Practice: Thursday, July 3 (SPEED at 5 p.m.)
Final Practice: Thursday, July 3 (SPEED at 7:30 p.m.)
Qualifying: Friday, July 4 (SPEED at 5 p.m.)
RaceDay: Saturday, July 5 (SPEED at 5:30 p.m.)
Pre-Race: Saturday, July 5 (TNT & TSN at 7:30 p.m.)
Race: Saturday, July 5 (TNT & TSN at 9 p.m.)
Race - encore: Monday, June 30 (TSN at 12:30 a.m.)
*AT is one hour ahead of ET, i.e. if it's 2 p.m./AT - it's 1 p.m./ET...
Paul Menard won the Coors Light Pole for the Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola, turning a lap of 185.916 mph/48.409 seconds.
Starting Lineup click here
- This is Menard’s first pole in 57 career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts. His previous best career start was 13th at this season’s Dover race.
- Menard’s previous best start at Daytona was 21st at this season’s Daytona 500.
- Menard is the second first-time pole winner this season (Patrick Carpentier, New Hampshire).
- Mark Martin (second) notched his seventh top-10 start of the season, and 19th at Daytona.
- Dale Earnhardt Jr. (third) registered his 11th top-10 start of the season, and 13th at Daytona.
- Regan Smith (eighth) was the fastest qualifying rookie.
- Joe Nemechek (fourth) was the fastest of those drivers who were required to make the field on time.
- Drivers that failed to qualify: Scott Riggs and J.J. Yeley.
Kurt Busch recorded the fastest speed of 189.633 mph during Thursday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice - just before he hit the wall HARD - and will need to go to
his back-up car...
Thursday Practice Speed Chart click here
Friday Qualifying Order click here
- Race To The Chase: The 12th-Place Plot Thickens...One week down, nine to go, in the Race to the Chase — the 10-week stretch that precedes the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
And as NASCAR’s “playoffs” approach, the pressure mounts for drivers patrolling the “bubble” area on either side of 12th place in the series standings.
Only the top 12 make the Chase, which encompasses the last 10 races of the season. Coming into Saturday night’s Coke Zero 400 Presented by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway, the five drivers immediately outside the top 12 are within merely 128 points of 12th-place Kevin Harvick (No. 29 Reese’s Chevrolet).
Included in that group:
Former series champion Matt Kenseth (No. 17 R&L Carriers Ford) is 13th, 15 behind Harvick;
Two-time NASCAR Nationwide Series champion Martin Truex Jr. (No. 1 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet) in 14th, 71 out of 12th;
This year’s Daytona 500 champion Ryan Newman (No. 12 Alltel Dodge), now down to 15th in points, 111 behind Harvick.
Those all are surprises — but so are these: In 16th you’ll find Brian Vickers (No. 83 Red Bull Toyota) 113 behind Harvick, while David Ragan (No. 6 AAA Ford) is 17th, 128 back.
Of those five, the best bet to advance this week appears to be Newman, with his career-defining victory this past February only part of the reason.
Newman actually has the second-best Driver Rating at Daytona at 98.6, trailing only the 108.1 of Tony Stewart (No. 20 Home Depot Toyota). This key Loop Data statistic is based on the last seven events at the 2.5-mile tri-oval. During that span Newman’s average DIS finish has been 14.4.
In addition to winning the 500 this season, Newman finished third in 2006. His best finish in Daytona’s July race: 11th in ‘06.
- McMurray Returns To Daytona As A Defending Champion...You have to give Jamie McMurray (No. 26 IRWIN Weldtec Ford) some credit. Granted, he only has two NASCAR Sprint Cup victories in his career, but both have been major events. And major surprises.
Back in 2002 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway’s fall race, McMurray got the first win in only his third series start. That put him into some elite company. Only 11 drivers have won in either their first or second start in NASCAR’s top series — and three of those did so in NASCAR’s first season. McMurray is the series’ first driver since 1963 to win so quickly.
Last summer, McMurray pulled another significant upset by winning at Daytona International Speedway, NASCAR’s most-storied track. The inherent drama received a boost by the minute margin of victory: McMurray’s .005-seconds edging Kyle Busch (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota) is tied for the second-closest finish since electronic timing and scoring went into use in 1993. (Dale Earnhardt nipped Ernie Irvan at Talladega in July 1993 by the same scant margin.) Closest ever: .002, Ricky Craven over Kurt Busch (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge), Darlington spring race in 2003.
McMurray needs another boost. He comes into Daytona 24th in the series standings.
“I seem to have been more successful at the [restrictor plate] races, whether it's at Daytona or Talladega. I tend to get with the right guys [to draft].
“I'm not down at all [about this season]. If anything, I’m probably more upbeat, because we've gone to a lot of different-type race tracks and we've had cars that were really fast. Things are really things are good right now. We just haven't been able to get the finish out of it.”
- 60 Years Of NASCAR: Friday Marks 60th Anniversary Of A True NASCAR Tradition...Friday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Daytona International Speedway — the Winn-Dixie 250 Powered by Coca-Cola — will mark the 60th anniversary of the very first NASCAR race held on July 4.
That event was run in NASCAR’s very first season, 1948, at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. Fonty Flock was the winner; NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. finished eighth.
Saturday’s event is all about tradition as well. Just as the Daytona 500 was held for the 50th time earlier this season, Saturday will be the 50th running of Daytona’s summertime NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Daytona, which was always held on July until 1988 when it was moved to the first Saturday in July.
The Coke Zero 400 Presented by Coca-Cola was originally known as the Firecracker 250 from 1959-62, then became the Firecracker 400 starting in 1963 when the race was lengthened.
Fittingly, Daytona Beach hometown hero Fireball Roberts won both of those “Firecrackers.”
- Top 35: Tight 60-Point Margin Surrounds The ‘Bubble’...
When Sam Hornish Jr. (No. 77 Penske Truck Rental Dodge) left Daytona International Speedway in February, he was a surprising 15th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings — via a 15th-place finish in the Daytona 500.
He returns to DIS this week in a bit of a predicament. The former Indianapolis 500 champion has mostly struggled this season — he has yet to post a top-10 finish — and as a result his team comes in 34th in car owner points.
The top 35 in owner points each week get guaranteed starting spots. Hornish, whose team is tied with 35th-place Michael McDowell’s (No. 00 Champion Mortgage Toyota) at 1,294 points, needs a good run at the season’s second Daytona event.
So do these guys:
Regan Smith (No. 01 Principal Financial Group/DEI Chevrolet) owned by Teresa Earnhardt, 32nd in owner points but only 51 ahead of McDowell;
Robby Gordon (No. 7 Robby Gordon Motorsports Dodge), whose self-owned team stands 33rd in owner points, only 35 ahead of Hornish and McDowell.
Scott Riggs (No. 66 Hunt Brothers Pizza Chevrolet), owned by Joe Custer, 36th in points but only 25 out of 35th.
The margin between Gordon and Riggs: 60 points. Which means a lot could change this week.
- Carpentier Gets Second Shot At DIS...Riding the momentum of his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pole, Patrick Carpentier (No. 10 Auto Valve Dodge) is ready for Daytona redemption.
The former CART/Champ Car open-wheel star failed to qualify at the Daytona 500 to open the season.
But that’s old news. Carpentier has qualified on time for 12 consecutive events.
“The pole last week was a great shot in the arm for this team,” Carpentier said. “This is exactly what this team has been waiting for. But now it’s time to put that behind us and look ahead.
“I’ve learned a lot about the drafting since we last visited Daytona. I think I can credit the Talladega race weekend for that. I ran both the Cup and Nationwide races. Even though the cars differ a little bit in how they handle in the draft, there’s a lot you can take between the two series.
“I was able to sit back and watch some of the best drafters in the series. I watched a lot of how Dale Jr. and Jeff Gordon handled themselves in the draft and I tried to make mental notes of that.”
- NASCAR Foundation Giving, Receiving...Prior to Saturday night’s Coke Zero 400, Betty Jane France, chairwoman of the NASCAR Foundation, will present a check for $80,000 to the Speediatrics children’s care unit located at Halifax Health Medical Center in Daytona Beach, Fla. That amount was donated via NASCAR Day on May 16, by the Daytona Beach area business community.
France also will be on the receiving end, accepting a $410,000 donation to the Foundation from The Home Depot. Those funds were raised through a national in-store promotion to sell NASCAR Day pins.
The NASCAR Foundation was launched in January 2006. It supports a wide range of charitable initiatives.
- Pit Crew Champs Donating, Too...In addition, the pit crew of Brian Vickers’ No. 83 Red Bull Toyota, recent winners of the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge, will visit Speediatrics at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday.
As part of the team’s reward for winning the Pit Crew Challenge, they were able to donate $23,793.25 to a charity of their choice. The team ultimately chose Speediatrics, and will present the check to the NASCAR-themed unit.
- DIS Celebrates 10 Years Of Lights...The inaugural nighttime running of Daytona International Speedway’s Independence Day holiday classic was scheduled to take place in July, 1998.
But the historic moment never came. Race fans had to wait almost four months before they could experience stock car racing under the lights at Daytona for the first time.
Wildfires in Central Florida forced the postponement of the mid-summer classic. The race was rescheduled for Oct. 17.
It was the first and only time in the history of Daytona International Speedway that the 400-mile classic was postponed and the first time in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series history that a race was postponed because of smoke and fires.
The wait proved worth it. Daytona International Speedway’s inaugural nighttime running of a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race had an electric atmosphere under the lights.
Jeff Gordon led the final 57 laps and captured his second of three July victories holding off Bobby Labonte, Mike Skinner, Jeremy Mayfield and Rusty Wallace. The margin of victory was .176 seconds.
With 1,932 light fixtures, 202 outer perimeter poles ranging from 70 to 110 feet, 150 miles of wire and 800 tons of concrete, Daytona International Speedway successfully took the Independence Day holiday classic from its traditionally late-morning start to a nighttime start and elevated the event to a new level of excitement.
- For the first time ever at a NASCAR or other major sports venue, fans will be able to receive helpful event information, entertainment updates and multi-media content via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi technology as part of a trial program being conducted during the Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola Weekend at Daytona International Speedway®.
IMPORTANT: All information, schedules and/or scheduled events is/are subject to change without notice. Please
check with the source to confirm.
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