Racing at a restrictor plate track is like trying to play the lottery: Anything can happen. But what happened on Saturday night in Daytona had everyone shaking their heads in amazement.
Kevin Harvick scored his second win of the season, after passing teammate Clint Bowyer in a green-white-checkered finish. Harvick was one of about 10 cars that had escaped the "Big One" that occurred just a few laps earlier without any damage.
That wreck took out the likes of Tony Stewart, Mark Martin, Jimmie Johnson, and 17 others after contact between Kurt Busch and Jeff Burton sparked the incident. On the other side of the mess came the likes of Kevin Conway, Steve Park, and Mike Bliss, who left the speedway with unimagined top 14 finishes.
It was a change from the first 100 laps that had been relatively calm. The Richard Childress Racing cars had ganged up on the field to at times lead a one-two-three sweep of the top spots. Meanwhile, favorites like Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Stewart rode quietly in the back of the field, working on their cars and biding their time.
It didn't work for Stewart, who would be collected in the big wreck, but Earnhardt Jr. somehow managed to miss it all Saturday night to finish fourth and move into a Chase spot. Afterward though, he said he was embarrassed and frustrated with the finish because of how the car ran throughout the night.
Another big storyline to watch was whether Jamie McMurray could make it two-for-two at Daytona in 2010. Things looked great in the early going, as he rode in the top 10 and flexed the muscle on his No. 1 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet. Unfortunately, it all ended when David Ragan got sideways in turn three and McMurray had nowhere to go but the garage.
It may not have mattered though, as Harvick led the most laps and won again. While he still leads the points and now has 20 bonus points for the Chase, it should be noted that Harvick still hasn't won on a non-restrictor plate track since the Sprint All-Star race in May of 2007.
His win, though, was also one for a Creature. Daytona was nice this year to two of them as they correctly picked McMurray and Harvick to tame the high banks, while others only saw the carnage of what was once a racecar.
Here's how our Creatures finished in Daytona and what they'll look like heading to Chicagoland next weekend.
Billy Fellin (2,730 ) Tony Stewart finished 25th (3 )
Kara Martin (2,487 ) Tony Stewart finished 25th (2 )
Sal Sigala Jr. (2,465 ) Tony Stewart finished 25th (2 )
Christopher Leone (2,442 ) Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished fourth (3 )
James Broomhead (2,378 ) Tony Stewart finished 25th (2 )
Dustin Parks (2,346 ) Tony Stewart finished 25th (2 )
Kelly Crandall (2,296 ) Jamie McMurray finished 39th (2 )
Rob Tiongson (2,278 ) Jamie McMurray finished 39th (0 )
Patti Rodisch (2,166 ) NO PICK SENT (0 )
Misan Akuya (2,159 ) Tony Stewart finished 25th (1 )
Adam Heasley (1,122 ) Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished fourth (0 )
Alan Wade (751 ) Kevin Harvick won (1 )
Kyle Brandt (93 ) Tony Stewart finished 25th (0 )
The Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois. Mark Martin heads back as the defending winner of the event and is winless in 2010. He also fell out of the Chase after Daytona. His teammate, Jimmie Johnson, will head to the track looking to knock another win off his list. He already won Bristol and Sonoma earlier this season, Chicago is next on the "has not won at" list.
Creatures have your picks for the LifeLock.com 400 by Thursday, July 8 by 7 p.m. ET.
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