Tag Archives: Coke Zero 400

Can Dale Earnhardt Jr Sweep Daytona International Speedway

This week NASCAR returns to Daytona International Speedway for the Coke Zero 400. Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the Daytona 500 this season. Will he be able to achieve a season sweep at Daytona?

The Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway is the third of four restrictor plate races in the NASCAR Sprint Cup season. Daytona is a 2.5 mile “D” shaped extremely high banked superspeedway. The banking of 31 degrees in the turns allows drivers to run around the race track without backing off the gas pedal. In order to keep the cars from running too fast, NASCAR makes them reduce engine horse power by limiting the air to the engine via restrictor plates.

Every week we use driver ratings to help dial into the driver or drivers that will do well. That statistic is very good at every track except the restrictor plate tracks. If a driver hangs around at the back of the pack and does not race, his driver rating, even if he wins, will be very low. That alone is why driver ratings do not work for restrictor plate tracks. Kyle Busch has the highest driver rating of 97.1, he seldom ever hangs around the back of the pack.

This race is also known from time to time to be won by someone totally off the radar but that doesn’t mean the usual suspects won’t be there either. In July those drivers are beginning with last year’s winner Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart, and Kevin Harvick.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. is having one of the best seasons of his career. His win in the Daytona 500 appeared to be done in a fun and natural way. His second win at Pocono was a team effort to get up to the front and be there in order to capitalize on another driver’s problem.

Dale Jr will have to fight Tony Stewart who has never won a Daytona 500 but has four wins in July.

This race is the last race of the NASCAR an American Salute program where cars will have special paint schemes supporting the United States Armed Forces.

If you cannot get to the Daytona International Speedway for the Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola it will be broadcast by TNT on Saturday July 5th at 7:30 PM ET.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit: 287693 Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Top 10 Driver Ratings at Daytona
Kyle Busch…………………………… 97.1
Matt Kenseth………………………… 92.9
Dale Earnhardt Jr…………………… 92.0
Tony Stewart…………………………. 90.0
Jimmie Johnson…………………….. 89.0
Kurt Busch……………………………. 88.9
Jeff Gordon………………………….. 88.0
Denny Hamlin……………………….. 85.5
Clint Bowyer…………………………. 83.5
Kevin Harvick………………………… 83.1
Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2014 races (19 total) among active drivers at Daytona International Speedway.