FYI WIRZ: NASCAR's Elite Leaders Might Not Chase Jimmie Johnson after Daytona

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FYI WIRZ: NASCAR's Elite Leaders Might Not Chase Jimmie Johnson after Daytona
Recent NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winner Martin Truex Jr. talks to media. Credit: Dwight Drum

Chasing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Jimmie Johnson has become habitual again this season, but that might not be so common after the expected crapshoot at Daytona International Speedway on July 6.

Johnson’s cape is not quite as super as it has been in races before the last two. He had momentum but lost it fast. It’s not Kryptonite time on NASCAR turf for the No. 48 team, but it’s time for them to gather around and work on routine magic from the past.

Johnson will have top performers like Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick and Matt Kenseth after his lofty position.

Drivers hungry for wins like Greg Biffle, Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon are running out of abundant races to snare a spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

After the next race, number 18 of 36, the Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at
Daytona International Speedway, only eight races remain before points are reset.

Races at DIS on the 2.5-mile tri-oval with 31 degree banking are always unpredictable. It seems that way for both top drivers and top teams. 

DIS seating has room for about 146,000 now, but with projected extensive improvements coming in the next two years, race seats will get more comfortable but shrink to about 105,000. They will level the back-stretch stands and concentrate on better fan amenities on the front stretch.

But for now, seats are abundant, and for those who choose to watch at home or in a sports bars can view the high-bank action on TNT at 7:30 p.m. July 6.

If Johnson gets a DNF at Daytona his point lead will shrink fast, and that’s more possible at the legendary DIS track given the crash history of the past.

Top drivers hungry for wins had comments about rolling into Daytona. Perhaps fans can get a good take on what to expect before the green flag at Daytona. Jimmie Johnson, Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon and Kasey Kahne shared their thoughts.

Jimmie Johnson talked about asphalt.

“The asphalt there is new and very forgiving,” Johnson said. “Grip level will go way. The speeds will slow down a touch, but I’m not sure it’s going to be a huge swing for us. They put down an asphalt that is going to last a long time, so it won’t change too much.”

Clint Bowyer mentioned better cars.

“Not sure you are going to see a whole lot different racing then you saw in January,” Bowyer said. “Everybody has made their cars better. I know we’ve made our cars better with trying to get drag down, but I think the overall race is going to be the same.”

Kevin Harvick focused on superspeedways.

Superspeedways have been our Achilles’ heel the first part of the season, Harvick said. “It will be a lot hotter, so that will make for some different racing conditions this time around. I always like a superspeedway. I just hope we have a better luck this time.”

Matt Kenseth expressed his fondness for DIS.

“Daytona is always a special place and it’s always fun to go there,” Kenseth said. “We were leading the Daytona 500 when we broke, so hopefully we can go back and have that same kind of performance and speed that we had back in February.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. looks forward to a different track.

“I’m excited about what the racing is going to be like,” Earnhardt Jr. “We saw a unique way the race played out at Daytona for the 500. I’m interested to see what, if any differences there are. I love the racetrack and love going there so I look forward to it.”

Kasey Kahne explained how he handles hurdles.

“I just focus on myself, communicating with the team and how we can all pull together and win," Kahne said. “We have everything it takes to win, and I get to drive every week.”

Jeff Gordon predicts more crashes, a common occurrence.

“The only unknown is when that big wreck is going to happen and what is going to cause it,” Gordon said. “When you get a full group of cars in the closing laps racing for a win, it's going to happen. It's just whether or not you get caught up in it."

NASCAR drivers look to Daytona with many questions, and the legendary track will give up some intense answers for the new Gen-six cars.


FYI WIRZ is the select presentation of topics by Dwight Drum at Racetake.com. Unless otherwise noted, information and all quotes were obtained from personal interviews or official release materials provided by sanction and team representatives.

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