Coke Zero 400 Results:
It was a clean sweep Saturday night under the lights at Daytona international speedway as Jimmie Johnson became the first driver in over 30 years to win both the spring and summer race at Daytona in one season . The last driver to have that honor bestowed upon them was Bobby Allison in 1982.
Johnson climbed from the car he later dubbed “White Lightning” after a night of setting a blistering pace, leading 94 of 160 laps in the nights race. “Had a great horse to ride; got White Lightning in Victory Lane, It’s tough to dominate at a plate track, especially with how tight the rules are.” “I think I showed strength early and a lot of guys were willing to work with me and help me through situations,” Johnson said while celebrating a well deserved win in Victory Lane.
The win is the California natives fourth of the season, tying him for most wins this season with Matt Kenseth and the 64th of his career in the Sprint Cup Series. Saturday night was also Johnson fourth win at a restrictor place track in his 12 year career, his first coming in 2006 at Talladega Superspeedway.
The victory comes just after Johnson had the dominate car last week at Kentucky Motor Speedway, a race in which he led 182 of the scheduled 267 laps before spinning out due to old tires and dropping back to 25th in the running order. Despite the setback, Johnson’s pit crew threw four fresh Goodyear tires on his #48 SS Chevrolet as he made his way back through the pack to finish ninth in just 17 laps.
Tony Stewart raced to his sixth top-ten of the season, placing him tenth in points, just six points out of eleventh place. “The Closer”, Kevin Harvick, finished in third place Saturday night as he watched the field wreck behind him on the last lap of the race. The top-five keeps “Happy Harvick” fifth in points. Last year’s runner-up in the Sprint Cup Championship, Clint Bowyer, finished fourth, just one position ahead of his boss Michael Waltrip who finished fifth.
On lap 159 the red flag came out when Denny Hamlin got loose and hit the wall coming into the front stretch of the 2.5 mile super-speedway. Matt Kenseth, who currently sits sixth in points, jerked his car left to avoid Hamlin, but was viciously tagged in the driver’s side door by both Jeff Gordon and David Reutimann for his efforts.
Hamlin’s car then rode up against the wall at the top of the track, before being nailed from behind by a charging David Reutimann and Dave Blaney. The contact caused Hamlin’s #11 FedEx Toyota to do a 360 spin before plummeting back onto the racetrack and ending his day.
The final laps produced the best fireworks of the night as Jimmie Johnson nudged Kevin Harvick’s car just enough to break Harvick’s momentum and take the lead coming into turn three. The field came into the tri-oval to take the white flag as Jimmie Johnson gained three car lengths on second place driver Tony Stewart and the rest of the pack.
The move by NASCAR made a for a interesting final lap as Danica Patrick was spun coming into the tri-oval of the front stretch by David Gilliland. The result was a vicious wreck that collected over eight cars and sent most the of the field scrambling to avoid the accident as they came to the line.
With eighteen races left in the 2013 Sprint Cup season, the name of the game seems to be dominance and that is exactly what Jimmie Johnson and the 48 team seem to have over the rest of the field every weekend. If you take a closer look at Johnson’s season you will see one startling fact. After eighteen races Johnson has not recorded one DNF (Did Not Finish) this season. Now that’s not to say others haven’t accomplished the same feat this season, but none that have done so have had anywhere close to the season Johnson has.
The Sprint cup Series heads north Motor Speedway next week for The Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon New Hampshire. Last year’s winner, Kasey Kahne, will be looking to go back to Victory Lane in The Granite State. Also looking to cement his place in the point standings will be Tony Stewart. Stewart won at this track back in 2011 and is a definite threat on any type of track during the summer series.
Who’s your favorite for New Hampshire? Do you think Brad Keselowski can make it into the Chase this season. Will Dale Earnhardt Jr. even win a race this season? Let me know in the comments below.