The name of the race may be different, but it was
the same thing you'd expect under the light at the Daytona International
Speedway. The Coke Zero 400 produced close racing and plenty of beaten up
cars. The race went to a green-white-checker finish. For the sixth time this
season, Kyle Busch took the win. He edged out Carl Edwards when a caution flew
on the final lap. Busch led 31 of the 162 laps. Busch took the lead for good
with four laps to go, darting inside of Jeff Gordon.
There was quite a bit of action on the track. The result was eleven cautions, which is quite a bit for Daytona. Five of those cautions alone came within the last 25 laps of the event. The biggest incident came on lap 158, which caused the green-white-checker finish. Jimmie Johnson spun on the back stretch, collecting several other cars. It set up the finish. Busch led with Jeff Gordon and Carl Edwards right behind. Edwards made contact with Gordon, spinning out the #24 DuPont Chevy, knocking him out of contention. Gordon finished in 30th. His winless streak is now at 23 races.
As the white flag flew, the field was all or the track. It seemed like a matter of when, not if, a crash would occur. Sure enough, it did happen. It started when Michael Waltrip lost control and collected Travis Kvapil, Sam Hornish Jr., and Dave Blaney. The question became then aboout who won the race. NASCAR rules state that when a caution flies during a green-white-checker, the race is over. NASCAR then looks and scoring loops and monitors to determine the finishing order. When the caution flew, Kyle Busch was just a bit in front of Edwards. There were a few moments when nobody was certain, before NASCAR did declare Busch the winner.
During the race's third caution, Tony Stewart had to leave the race. He had been feeling ill with flu-like symptoms. He gave way to J.J. Yeley, who finished 20th. Stewart still gets the points.
Finishing right behind the top two were Matt Kenseth in third and Kurt Busch in fourth. David Ragan turned in another solid run, finishing in fifth. Two guys who started way in the back came away with great runs. Robby Gordon came from 37th to finish sixth while Kasey Kahne went from 41st to seventh. Dale Earnhardt Jr. had a good run as well, finishing in eighth. Rounding out the top ten were Clint Bowyer in ninth and Mark Martin in tenth.
Other notable finishes were Kevin Harvick in 12th, Bobby Labonte 13th, Jimmie Johnson in 23rd, defending race winner Jamie McMurray in 32nd, Ryan Newman in 36th, and Jeff Burton in 37th.
Nect weekend will be a first for NASCAR. The series will be under the lights at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois. The Nationwide Series will run the Dollar General 300 Friday night while the Sprint Cup Series will race in the Lifelock.com 400 Saturday night. Saturday's race will be the last of six televised on TNT.