The old saying goes "it's not over until it's over." It is the perfect slogan when it comes to restrictor plate racing.
Every lap, every corner, something changes. It could be the lead, the fast line, or the drivers that team up. Something is different each time NASCAR goes racing at Daytona.
Saturday night provided a perfect way to have some early fireworks on this holiday weekend. There was controversy, anger, devestation, and happiness all night long. It made for an entertaining race for the viewers, not to mention the 110,000 fans that waited in the rain to watch.
Let's not waste any time, let's get into my race reactions from Saturday night's Coke Zero 400 at Daytona.
The big thing I got out of this race is that at the end of the night. You first had Kyle Busch, who was upset with Juan Pablo Montoya. Then there's Elliott Sadler who had his great night ruined by Sam Hornish Jr.
Sadler was waiting to see if Hornish would show his face, but it never happened.
How about A.J. Allmendinger angry with...his owner? TNT didn't put the footage up on television, but the people at the track sure saw some controversy.
After his early wreck, Allmendinger pulled his car into the garage and was visibly angry. Richard Petty came over trying to tell his driver to not worry about it and to let the incident go. Apparently, the two got into a verbal argument with Allmendinger storming away.
If there's one thing I know, the least thing any driver wants is to have an upset owner, and vice-versa. I wouldn't be surprised if a team meeting is on the schedule at the RPM headquarters.
Next on the list, as is expected at these tracks, late in the going the action will get dicey. Unfortunately, the dicey action came from the front and ended up collecting many of the guys in the middle of the field. The 19-car pile up with just over 10 laps remaining happened with two guys battling for the third spot.
It ended with half the field destroyed in a smoke show.
The one thing that cannot be denied is that the rear spoiler combined with a larger restrictor plate made the overall race better. You had cars able to pass just by pulling out entering a corner, then get a strong run to hold the position on the straightaways.
It made for a fun race, and was extremely exciting to watch.
In the end, the big winners this weekend were Richard Childress and Kevin Harvick. The points leader benefited from a qualifying rain out to start on pole and get the chance to earn quick bonus points.
But, the difference was this week it wasn't Mr. "Where'd he come from" that showed up. Instead it was Mr. "When do I go for it" that arrived.
Harvick and his RCR teammates Clint Bowyer and Jeff Burton all had incredible runs and were by far the best cars in the late going.
Honestly, I thought Bowyer had the best shot on the last restart, but Jeff Gordon made the move quick. It was as though Bowyer just didn't go. Whether he was holding Gordon up or just didn't get the best restart is undetermined.
What it did do was give Harvick his chance to pull out and lately at these type of races, that No. 29 car has been hard to beat.
His win at Talladega really gave him a lot of confidence in his quest to win the championship, and winning again at Daytona only boosts that hope.
You cannot help but also feel great for Childress. In essence, he swept the weekend. Friday night, the No. 3 Wrangler car driven by Dale Earnhardt Jr. was an RCR entry. Yes, the car was built at JR Motorsports, and had a Hendrick engine, but Childress was the listed owner.
That victory was emotional, and very incredible for all involved. To follow that up by winning the Cup race on Saturday night had to make for a great weekend for Childress.
It could not have been a more fitting way to end the 32-year run on the Daytona asphalt. In February, the track will have a new, silky smooth racing surface. It should make for an exciting Daytona 500.
That race begins a new era at the "World's Center of Speed." But this last era will certainly be one to remember.
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