Last night's Coke Zero 400, was a unique one. After a three and a half hour rain delay, 43 drivers finally took to the track. One of the most exciting races all year, the 160 lap event was sure to put on a show, and that it did. Last night while I watched the race in it's entirety, I noticed things, and maybe even learned a few things. I want to review 5 things learned from last night's Coke Zero 400. These are in no particular order, just thrown out there.
1) Danica is still the same old Danica. Last night was supposed to be one of those nights, where the #10 had a realistic chance to win. Of course I wouldn't pick her, but her past has shown that she can run up front at the restrictor plate tracks. Danica still has much to learn here before she becomes a true contender, but her wreck last night was just another disappointment. Daytona is one track she has a chance to step into victory lane, and it seems time after time she finds herself sitting in the garage watching the final laps unfold. I know many of her crashes were not her fault, but something is going to have to give. If she is going to win a Cup race it is going to be at Daytona or Talladega, but it seems she keeps missing out on all of her opportunities.
2) Carl Edwards will continue to struggle. Edwards has indeed qualified for the Chase, I would know, I attended this years Coca Cola 600 where he played the fuel mileage game and stole one in Charlotte. Other than that night, it almost seems like the #19 team doesn't exist. Cousin Carl may have squeaked into the Chase, but his Gibbs Racing team has a lot, and I mean A LOT of work to do before thinking about competing for a championship.
3) Dale Earnhardt Jr. has returned to superspeedway form. Dale Earnhardt Jr., has finally returned to form when it comes to restrictor plate racing. Dale Jr., has always been a factor at Daytona and Talladega, but over the last couple of season's Jr., has returned to the old Jr., the one who won 5 Talladega races in a row. Jr., was scary fast back in the early 2000's, but went a while without winning. Now, over the last season and a half, Earnhardt has won three restrictor plate races. Last night Jr., dominated the race and clearly had the best car, showing that the Pide Piper is back, and will be a threat in the Chase at 'Dega.
4) Kyle Busch still has a mountain to climb. Busch recovered last night to finish 17th. For those who went to bed, Busch suffered a flat tire early in the race, but managed to stay out of trouble the remainder of the night. Busch may have used his brain more than I have ever seen last night. He eased his car around the 2.5 mile speedway and managed to walk away with minimal damage. Though disaster didn't strike, the racing gods aren't so quick to just hand Busch a Chase spot. His win last week helped tremendously, but without consistency Busch may be too little, too late.
5) NASCAR fans are still dedicated to their sport. Last night I was genuinely proud of the fans in the stands. I have never seen that many fans stay for a race that was postponed nearly 4 hours. I was delighted to see thousands of fans stay for what ended up being a hell of a finish. Made me proud of my peers in this sport. Hope this continue's, it has seemed like our sport is slowly losing interest, but last night may have proved otherwise.
Well, here are some things I learned last night. Safety was not included due to the fact that I plan on doing a separate blog post about the safety improvements this week. Let me know what you think, and as always thanks for reading!!