Weekend Recap: Daytona – June 30 – July 2, 2017
By Matteo Marcheschi
Stenhouse Grabs Second Career Cup Series Win
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. took home his second career Cup Series win on Saturday night, his first at Daytona. Stenhouse has now won both of the last two restrictor plate races. He is the third consecutive driver to win both the spring Talladega race and the Coke Zero 400 in the same season. Dale Earnhardt Jr. accomplished the feat in 2015, and Brad Keselowski pulled it off in 2016. The victory not only earns Stenhouse five additional playoff points, placing him 5th in that category, behind only Martin Truex Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Larson, and Brad Keselowski. That sure is impressive for a guy sitting 16th in the overall points standings.
Devastation for Junior
Dale Earnhardt Jr. had a good run going, including a second-place finish in stage one, before blowing a tire in stage two. His team repaired the car, and he fought his way all the way back into the top ten later in the race. However, the comeback would come to a sudden end when he was caught up in a lap 106 wreck, caused by Kevin Harvick’s tire, which went down, causing Harvick to spin, and several drivers, including Earnhardt, had nowhere to go. Earnhardt was forced to retire from the race, finishing a dismal 32nd.
Good Runs End in Torn-Up Sheet Metal For Keselowski, Others
After winning stage one, reigning Coke Zero 400 winner Brad Keselowski seemed to be in prime position to go back-to-back in the race. Keselowski, however, would find trouble on lap 117, after an apparent tire failure ruined his day, sending him into the wall. Keselowski would finish 31st. Ryan Blaney, Matt Kenseth, and Kurt Busch each earned points in both stages, but were all caught up in the same wreck. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Kyle Larson made contact, sending Larson into the wall and up in the air. Blaney, Kenseth, and Busch were left with nowhere to go. They would finish 26th, 27th, and 28th, respectively.
Byron Goes Back-To-Back, Earning Second Career Xfinity Series Win
William Byron also took home his second career win at Daytona, as did Stenhouse. Byron, however, won these two races in two consecutive events. He captured his first Xfinity Series win at Michigan two weeks ago.
11-Car Incident Causes Red Flag
A massive crash took out a good chunk of the field on lap 99. Justin Allgaier and Brandon Jones made contact, sending Jones into Michael Annett, who spun back into Allgaier. Several piled in behind, including Tyler Reddick, Casey Mears, and Daniel Hemric. The crash was the largest in a race full of them. Five separate multi-car incidents caused cautions throughout the race.
Overtime Line Causes Controversy
On the final lap of Saturday’s race, Garrett Smithley, Ty Dillon, Spencer Gallagher, and several other wrecked just before the overtime line. While the wreck began before leader Byron crossed the line, NASCAR waited until nearly the entire field had crossed it before throwing the caution, even though they had a chance the throw it earlier, and give the race a chance to finish under green. In the wake of this, NASCAR is considering moving the overtime line to the start/finish line in 2018, according to NBC Sports.