Thursday, June 30, 2016

Earnhardt Jr. the large Coke Zero 400 favorite, not Denny Hamlin

Denny Hamlin dominated Daytona Speedweeks in February.
LAS VEGAS -- Denny Hamlin has an incredible 3.2 average finish in his past five starts at Daytona International Speedway, including winning February's Daytona 500, but it's Dale Earnhardt Jr. who opens as the 9-to-2 favorite to win Saturday night's Coke Zero 400.

Despite finishing 36th in the Daytona 500 and 40th at Talladega in May, Junior has loads of respect from the Las Vegas oddsmakers whenever restrictor-plate races come around. The poor finishes by Junior in plate races this year are simply thrown out the window when creating the odds.

He's also the most bet upon driver in plate races from his huge base of fans, which automatically sets his odds lower than what they probably should be. It's a supply and demand story with him every time the plate races come around. Why give what his true odds should be when the bookmaker knows they'll be losers if he wins? Set the price lower, limit liability on the No. 88 car and force action elsewhere is the strategy in Las Vegas.

If looking at the past 10 plates races since 2014, Junior has a series best three wins and 382 laps led. Hamlin, who is listed at 10-to-1 odds, leads the series with an 11.2 average finish and has two wins over that span.

Earnhardt and his crew expect to do well in these races and they're making some adjustments for Saturday's race as he tries to win for the first time this season.

“We looked at some of the things we were doing on the plate car this year that we didn’t have last year — some new ideas and new theories how to get the car to be fast, and we think that has compromised how the car handles," Earnhardt said. "Last year, we finished in the top two or three in every single plate race and we were the best car at Daytona and Talladega, hands down. So, we’re going to go back on our setup to 2015, and hopefully that is going to give me the confidence and the comfort that I need to drive the car and be aggressive with it in the draft. I’m looking forward to Daytona and getting back to our winning ways there.”

In the four plate races last season, his worst finish was third and had two wins, including the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona.

Here's a look at all the odds posted by the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook and a look at how each driver has fared at Daytona. 

Odds to win Coke Zero 400
Saturday, July 2, 2016 - 8:05 pm ET

Dale EARNHARDT JR 9/2 - In 66 career plate races, he's got 10 wins and 25 top-five finishes with a 14.4 average finish. He's also led 1,553 laps. Those are all the most in the series now that Jeff Gordon has retired. He's won two of the past five at Daytona and has four overall, including his magical 2001 win the ensuing Daytona race after his father passed. Obviously, this is a very special place for him. However, his ratio of winning at Daytona (four wins in 33 starts) surely doesn't merit low odds like 9-to-2 in the same way like Jimmie Johnson does at Dover or Martinsville or Kevin Harvick at Phoenix.

Jimmie JOHNSON 8/1 - In 2013 he became the first driver since Bobby Allison in 1982 to sweep a Daytona season. He had top-five finishes in both races last season and was 16th in this year's Daytona 500. Expect another strong run this week if trouble stays away from him.

“We have had strong cars at superspeedways this year," Johnson said. "Daytona should be a good race to watch. If the race gets off to a slow start, you can probably bank on a wild finish. We have a special Lowe’s Chevrolet this weekend with the patriotic colors on it – would be nice to win this one to honor all the veterans.”

Denny HAMLIN 10/1 - He started 2016 off with the fastest Sprint Unlimted lap during happy hour, won the non-points race then won the Daytona 500 the following week. He'll attempt to join Bobby Allison (1982) as the only driver to complete the triple and based on his recent Daytona run of excellence and Joe Gibbs Racing's plate package, he's a strong candidate to do so. His winning Daytona 500 car is on display for fans at Daytona all season, but his winning Sprint Unlimited car is available, which he's expected to use this week. Getting the triple would be a nice bargaining chip for Hamlin in a contract year. Coach Gibbs, what are you waiting for?

Read More Here...complete list of Coke Zero 400 odds on

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Dale Earnhardt Jr. going back to 2015 plate-race set-up for Daytona

Dale Earnhardt Jr. is 9/2 favorite to win Coke Zero 400.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. on Daytona setup
“We looked at some of the things we were doing on the plate car this year that we didn’t have last year – some new ideas and new theories how to get the car to be fast, and we think that has compromised how the car handles. Last year, we finished in the top two or three in every single plate race and we were the best car at Daytona and Talladega, hands down. So, we’re going to go back on our setup to 2015, and hopefully that is going to give me the confidence and the comfort that I need to drive the car and be aggressive with it in the draft. I’m looking forward to Daytona and getting back to our winning ways there.”

Earnhardt on Daytona and making the Chase

“Daytona is a good track for us, obviously. We’ve got confidence going into the race. With the points situation, we need to get a nice cushion. We need to try to protect ourselves – just do what we normally do, run and try to win, and not give away chunks of points. We gave away probably 40 points total at the restrictor plate races this year – Daytona and Talladega – by spinning out. Had we run those races and finished reasonably, I’d say that would be about 40 points that we would be able to tack onto what we have today and that would put us comfortably in position to make the Chase."

Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, will be available to members of the media at 2:15 p.m. local time on Thursday in the Daytona International Speedway media center.

AT DAYTONA: In the four superspeedway points races last season, Dale Earnhardt Jr. had an incredible average finish of 1.75, with two wins and a lowest finish of third place. At Daytona International Speedway, the Kannapolis, North Carolina, native has four wins, including two Daytona 500 victories, and is tied with Tony Stewart for the most wins of any active driver at the track. Earnhardt is in a five-way tie for seventh on the all-time Daytona wins list. In this year’s Daytona 500, Earnhardt was making a pass for fifth with 31 laps to go when he spun and hit the wall, ending his day and resulting in a 36th-place finish. The result was an anomaly for the driver of the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS at the 2.5-mile, D-shaped oval, who heads into Daytona as the defending July race winner.

CLOSE TO HOME: Jay Nolan Jr., the engine tuner for the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, grew up nearby in Jacksonville, Florida, which is just over an hour away from Daytona. Nolan moved to Charlotte in 2002, just three months after he graduated from Jacksonville’s Bishop Kenny High School, with the goal of working for Hendrick Motorsports. In January 2004, that dream became a reality when Nolan was hired to work in teardown in the engine shop after persistent visits to the shop while working other jobs in the area. He worked his way up in the engine department at Hendrick Motorsports, and in 2012 he became the engine tuner for the No. 88 team. In 2014, Nolan won the Daytona 500 with Earnhardt, which he names as by far his best moment in the sport -- not a surprise considering that it’s the biggest race of the year and horsepower is vital to winning a superspeedway race.

GOLD GLOVES: During the month of July, Earnhardt will be wearing gloves accented in gold to raise awareness about hearing impairment as part of The Dale Jr. Foundation’s ongoing Driven to Give Gloves program. Earnhardt’s race-worn gloves will be auctioned off to raise funds for Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s clinical and research programs. Nationwide Children’s is America’s largest pediatric hospital and research center with all care provided regardless of a family’s ability to pay.

NATIONWIDE SMALL-BUSINESS PROMOTION: This is the final week to enter Nationwide’s small-business promotion. The deadline for entries on the social media sweepstakes, which encourages small-business owners to enter for a chance to have the name of their company featured on the TV panel of Earnhardt’s No. 88 Nationwide Chevy during the Sept. 25 race weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, is June 30. As the No. 1 small-business insurer in the country, Nationwide remains the carrier of choice for more than 500,000 small-business clients, including Earnhardt. The winner and a guest will also receive a VIP experience to the race that includes flights, lodging and a personal meeting with Earnhardt. To participate in the contest, small-business owners, employees and fans can nominate their “Boss Man” by uploading a picture of him or her doing their best “Water Cooler Dale” impression at

AXALTA INJECTOR: Announced in May, Axalta Coating Systems signed on to become the fifth and final founding partner of Daytona International Speedway’s re-development project, Daytona Rising, with branding on the track’s central entrance, referred to as an injector. Daytona completed a three-year, $400 million renovation this year along its frontstretch, where it built the massive, branded entrances that include sponsor-designed “neighborhoods” around them. Axalta has begun work on the injector, but the area won’t be fully completed until 2017.

2016 Season

  • 12th in standings
  • 16 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 5 top-five finishes
  • 6 top-10 finishes
  • 53 laps led


  • 593 starts
  • 26 wins
  • 13 pole positions
  • 148 top-five finishes
  • 252 top-10 finishes
  • 8,187 laps led

Track Career 

  • 33 starts
  • 4 wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 13 top-five finishes
  • 19 top-10 finishes
  • 593 laps led

- Hendrick Motorsports

From Micah Roberts, oddsmaker with The Linemakers on Sporting News:

Dale EARNHARDT JR 9/2 - In 66 career plate races he's got 10 wins and 25 top-five finishes with a 14.4 average finish. He's also led 1,553 laps. Those are all the most in the series now that Jeff Gordon has retired. He's won two of the past five at Daytona and has four overall, including his magical 2001 win the ensuing Daytona race after his father passed. Obviously, this is a very special place for him. However, his ratio of winning at Daytona (four wins in 33 starts) surely doesn't merit low odds like 9-to-2 in the same way like Jimmie Johnson does at Dover or Martinsville or Kevin Harvick at Phoenix.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Coke Zero 400 Betting Preview: Drivers don't hold true ratings with plates on

Rush hour on the freeway at 200 mph.
LAS VEGAS -- One week after seeing an average speed at 80 mph at Sonoma where the drivers made left and right turns on the road course, the Sprint Cup Series takes it up a notch with speeds at over 200 mph at Daytona International Speedway this Saturday night for the Coke Zero 400. It's all left turns, it's real fast and the restrictor-plates make almost all the cars equal meaning that up to 35 of the 40 drivers can realistically win.

Through 16 races we've seen 11 different winners, and all of them are candidates to win this week. To start the handicapping process you'll want to look at what happened during Daytona Speedweeks in February and then you'll also want to include what happened May 1 at Talladega Superspeedway. Daytona and Talladega race very different from each other, but since they're the only two tracks that use the plate package, it's a good measuring tool.

Or, maybe better yet for handicapping Daytona, you just throw some darts or pull a car number out of a hat. The randomness of cars getting involved in another drivers mess is greater for the two plate race tracks. They go rows of cars with side-by-side racing at insane speeds and when one car wiggles just a bit it can take out dozen cars easy. There's just no where for the drivers to go when this happens.

Because of that randomness and the cars being equal, you're going to get nice odds on just about every driver, or at least the top drivers that are usually in the 8/1 range. If looking to get someone like Danica Patrick at 500/1 odds, you're out of luck this week. All the regular long shots have their odds reduced to around 60/1 just because they really can win. Even Danica can win. It's her best shot -- she's finished eighth twice at Daytona.

Now I certainly won't have a ticket on Danica to win, but she's the perfect example of how anyone can win. We've seen the likes of Trevor Bayne, David Ragan and Aric Almirola all win at Daytona since 2011. Ragan's other career Cup win came at Talladega in 2013 and he was pushed to the front by teammate David Gilliland who finished second -- a spectacular exacta if we had that.

Side Note: Nevada sports books will actually have pools like horse races for NASCAR races by football season as US Fantasy has been approved by the state to take Fantasy-type wagers at sports books. The take-out in the pools are expected to be much better than horse racing with only 10 percent juice to be divided between the book operators and US Fantasy. More on that developing story in a few weeks.

Read More Here....Top-5 Finish Prediction on

Chase Elliott pole sitter in both 2016 plate races

Chase Elliott is 18/1 to win at Daytona Saturday night.
Driver Chase Elliott 
Hometown Dawsonville, Georgia
Age 20 
Resides Mooresville, North Carolina

Chase Elliott on returning to Daytona with a new sponsor

“I think it will be fun to get back to Daytona with SunEnergy1 on the car. I’ve known (SunEnergy 1 CEO and President) Kenny (Habul) for a while and I’m excited to get there. The car looks really cool I think. It will be a good weekend. Daytona is always fun and the Fourth of July race is always one that stands out.”

PRIMARY SPONSOR DEBUT: For the first time in the 2016 season, SunEnergy1 will be the primary partner on board Rookie of the Year contender Chase Elliott’s No. 24 Chevrolet SS this weekend at Daytona International Speedway.

TOP-10 TEAR: Elliott earned his career-best finish earlier this month at Michigan International Speedway, when he led 35 laps en route to a second-place finish. Only two drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series have more top-10 finishes than Elliott's 11 (Kevin Harvick with 13 and Kurt Busch with 14 -- both Sprint Cup champions). Additionally, Elliott is tied for the third-most top-five finishes in the Cup Series with his six top-five finishes, trailing Kyle Busch and Harvick with nine and seven top-five finishes, respectively.

SEASON STANDINGS: Elliott currently sits sixth in the standings with 473 points. The rookie trails points leader Harvick by 89 markers. The 20-year-old is younger than any other driver currently inside the top 16 – the amount of drivers NASCAR takes into its playoffs – while also being the highest ranked rookie.

TOP-RANKED ROOKIE: Elliott leads the 2016 Rookie of the Year contender standings heading into Daytona by 50 points over second-place Ryan Blaney and 87 points over third-place Brian Scott. Elliott has accumulated a total of 227 rookie points this year through the first 16 points-paying races. Among active drivers, his 11 top-10 finishes are the most through the first 16 races of any Sprint Cup rookie season.

GUSTAFSON GOES HOME: No. 24 team crew chief Alan Gustafson grew up just down the road from Daytona International Speedway in Ormond Beach, Florida, the "Birthplace of Speed." After graduating from Seabreeze High School, he enrolled at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering. Gustafson now leads the No. 24 team piloted by Elliott. The veteran crew chief will be looking to capitalize on the team’s strengths this weekend in front of his hometown crowd.

SUPERSPEEDWAY POLE PROWESS: Elliott has laid down quick qualifying laps in both plate races this year, earning pole awards at Talladega Superspeedway as well as in the prestigious Daytona 500. The rookie became the youngest driver (20 years, 2 months and 17 days) to land the top spot in NASCAR's biggest race with a speed of 196.314 mph. Elliott is tied for the second-most pole awards of the season thus far.

2016 Season

  • 6th in standings
  • 16 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 2 pole positions
  • 6 top-five finishes
  • 11 top-10 finishes
  • 118 laps led


  • 21 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 2 pole positions
  • 6 top-five finishes
  • 11 top-10 finishes
  • 118 laps led

Track Career 

  • 1 start
  • 0 wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 0 top-five finishes
  • 0 top-10 finishes
  • 3 laps led

Kurt Busch best plate racer to never win plate race

Kurt Busch is 14/1 to win Coke Zero 400 at Daytona. 
KANNAPOLIS, North Carolina (June 27, 2016) – There is an adage in racing that states, “In order to finish first, one must first finish.” It’s a fairly simple concept, one that really doesn’t need much of an explanation at all.

Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway is one of only two racetracks on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series circuit where restrictor plates are used. By definition, a restrictor plate is a device installed at the air intake of an engine to limit its power. The use of a restrictor plate both limits speed and increases safety, all in the spirit of providing an equal level of competition. Races at Daytona and its sister track Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway are ones that, literally, anyone can win. Horsepower-choked engines require drivers to draft together, side-by-side, at speeds approaching 200 mph.

Superspeedway events can produce wild, unpredictable racing with the possibility of large, multicar accidents at any moment. Those are known as “the big one” and typically eliminate large numbers of drivers from contention prematurely.

Some drivers elect to drop to the back of the pack and ride, waiting until the late stages of the race to make their move toward the front of the field. Other drivers will do whatever they can to stay at the front of the field throughout the race. Other drivers find themselves stuck in the middle, an area that can be somewhat of a disaster zone.

One driver will win the race. Most drivers typically finish. Others will be involved in the almost inevitable “big one.”

Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), has been listed as running at the end of 29 of 30 career points-paying Sprint Cup starts at Daytona. Considering the unpredictability of the races run there, it is an incredible statistic. While he’s seemingly mastered the art of finishing Daytona races, it’s the finishing first part he’s yet to figure out. In fact, a superspeedway win is the only kind that has eluded him during his 17-year Sprint Cup career. With a victory this weekend, Busch would join an elite list of drivers who have won at every type of track on the Sprint Cup circuit: superspeedway, speedway, intermediate, short track and road course.

Busch and the Monster Energy/Haas Automation team have little to worry about in terms of making the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship playoffs this season. Having already found victory lane in 2016 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway earlier this month, they can head to Daytona feeling less pressure and welcome the opportunity to race aggressively for additional wins. Busch won’t have to worry about where he’s running in relation to drivers he is challenging in the point standings. Nor does he have to make moves if he simply doesn’t feel that he’s in a position to do so safely. He heads to Daytona focused solely on one goal – being in positon near the front of the pack when it’s time to race for the checkered flag.

The 28-time Sprint Cup race winner will look to earn additional points for the postseason as the 16 drivers who qualify for the Chase will have their point totals reset to 2,000 and will be seeded based on bonus points – three per win – earned prior to the start of the Chase.

KURT BUSCH, Driver of the No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing:

What do you have to do to finally earn your first points-paying restrictor-plate victory?

“I have to be more aggressive in the draft with blocking. We have to have the right strategy to spend the least amount of time on pit road at the end of the race, and to be able to choose the right lane at the right time. At the end, every man is for himself. You do trust teammates. I would trust Kyle (Busch), my brother, at Daytona and Talladega. The way that it all works out is that every man is racing for himself.”

Talk about being conservative on the restrictor-plate tracks. You don’t yet have a restrictor-plate win, but you have some top-fives. You don’t get those by being conservative. What have you done that’s been conservative? What do you do now to get there?
“It’s a matter of blocking more aggressively and taking risks on keeping guys behind you instead of just following the guys in front of you. So the conservative approach is just to find a solid finish and to take advantage of other people’s mistakes when you run a race versus controlling the race. That’s something to where I don’t yet have a trophy – from a points-paying restrictor-plate victory – but I’ve got a great team behind me that’s going to help give me that best effort.”

Of the 40 cars that will take the green flag, how many of them do you feel have a shot to win the race?
“Forty. It’s a roulette wheel, it really is. Daytona, Talladega, it’s unique teaching people who don’t know a lot about NASCAR and how different Daytona and Talladega really are, yet so much preparation goes into the cars built for those tracks. I mean, they’re beautiful cars with the most man-hours put into them. It’s just that different, the way the racing is. There’s strategy, there’s drafting. A lot of it is luck, being in the right place at the right time. So I honestly believe everyone can be competitive and have a shot at winning.”

Chassis No. 965: Kurt Busch will pilot Chassis No. 965 in Saturday night’s Coke Zero 400 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. Built new for 2016, Chassis 965 debuted at Daytona in February in the Sprint Unlimited, when Busch finished seventh in the attrition-filled non-points race.

Daytona International Speedway Notes of Interest:
 Kurt Busch has career totals of 28 wins, 21 poles, 121 top-five finishes and 236 top-10s in 556 career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts heading into Saturday night’s Coke Zero 400 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. His most recent Sprint Cup win came June 6 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. 
 The Coke Zero 400 will mark Busch’s 31st career Sprint Cup start at Daytona. Busch has 12 top-five finishes and 16 top-10s at the famed 2.5- mile superspeedway. Additionally, the 37-year-old driver has led 290 laps, has an average starting position of 20.8, an average finish of 16.8, and has completed 94.6 percent (4,977 of 5,259) of the laps he’s contested there. 
 28 Wins but No Superspeedway Victory – Yet: The 17-year Sprint Cup veteran has 28 Sprint Cup Series victories to his credit on 14 different racetracks. From a road course to short tracks, from high-banked ovals to flat tracks, Busch has won at every type of track on the circuit with the exception of one – a superspeedway. Busch did earn a 2012 Xfinity Series victory at Daytona. 
 Daytona is one of 10 racetracks of the 23 on the Sprint Cup circuit where Busch has never captured a Sprint Cup pole. In 29 races at the 2.5- mile superspeedway, Busch’s best starting position is third, where he took the green flag for the 2011 Daytona 500.

- True Speed Communication for Stewart-Haas Racing

Kyle Busch third or better in both 2016 pate races

Kyle Busch is 12/1 to win at Daytona Saturday night.
HUNTERSVILLE, North Carolina (June 28, 2016) – As a winner of 37 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, which are included in his 139 top-five finishes and 204 top-10s, as well as the leader of 11,661 laps in 407 career starts, it’s safe to say 31-year-old Kyle Busch has earned his stripes in his 12th full season competing in NASCAR’s top circuit.

So it’s only fitting the driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) will don a unique green-and-white-striped livery for Saturday night’s traditional midsummer Coke Zero 400 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. Not only has Busch notched three wins thus far this season, he has solidly cemented himself as the one of the premiere drivers of the sport as his improbable comeback in 2015 yielded his first Sprint Cup championship.

Interstate Batteries’ colors are already in the win column in 2016 via Busch’s victory in April at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, right in the backyard of Interstate Batteries’ corporate offices as the company and JGR celebrate their 25th year together in NASCAR. Busch and the No. 18 team look to add another victory Saturday night at Daytona, where they head with a little momentum on their side as they come off a strong seventh-place finish at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway. It’s been a much-needed step in the right direction as the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship playoffs get closer by the week.

Busch is certainly no stranger to victory lane in the Coke Zero 400, having won the July 2008 race behind the wheel of – yes – the Interstate Batteries Toyota. The Las Vegas native has fared much better in his summer races at Daytona during his career as the track is much more slick thanks to Florida’s July heat. He has four top-five finishes in his nine July starts at Daytona.

With all of that on his side, Busch hopes sporting the unique color scheme helps his cause in this restrictor-plate style of racing, where a driver not only has to be good, but must have good fortune to go along with it. He would like nothing more than to start July in the best way possible – by bringing the Interstate Batteries green-and-white-striped paint scheme to victory lane Saturday night. Even though Busch has earned his stripes already, it doesn’t mean he isn’t as hungry as ever for another victory.

KYLE BUSCH, Driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing:

Is Daytona still a special racetrack for you?

“Daytona is cool – a lot more in February than in the summer just because it is the Daytona 500 versus the Coke Zero 400. For us, you still want to win everywhere you go, every single week. To win at Daytona is always cool. It’s definitely special. It’s the birthplace of NASCAR – the superspeedway aspect of it. I definitely love going there. It’s hot, it’s slick, and you can make the most out of yourself as a driver and what you’ve got in the car. We won there in 2008 and I’m hoping we can get a win with our Interstate Batteries Camry this weekend.”

As you head to the third restrictor-plate race of the year this weekend, how do you assess your performances on those tracks?
“On the plus side, we’ve qualified better on the plate tracks the last couple of years, and that’s because of a lot of hard work by everyone at JGR and by TRD (Toyota Racing Development) in getting us the stuff we need to do better in qualifying at plate tracks. Our plate stuff in the draft has always been good, and we’ve had good cars both races this year. We were able to get top-three finishes at Daytona in February and at Talladega in May, so that’s encouraging that we’ve been able to stay out of the big wreck at both restrictor-plate races this season. There is so much that you just aren’t in control of and you have to find good fortune, somehow.”

After four bad finishes in a row, was it nice to get a solid finish last week at Sonoma as you head to Daytona this week?

“Everyone knows I’m not big on moral victories, but we just needed to get a solid finish last week and get back pointed in the right direction and we were able to do that. At the same time, we are headed to Daytona and anything could happen there. Even if you do everything right, you can get collected in a wreck and ruin your day. After Daytona, though, we have some solid tracks coming up for us. It’s where we really excelled last summer, so I’m hoping we can get hot here during the summer again and get some momentum heading into the Chase this fall.”

What are some of the better safety improvements you’ve seen in the last year?
“I think, of course, the things Daytona has done with the SAFER Barrier along the whole outside and inside of the racetrack. There are too many different areas on these racing surfaces where we can get out of control and crash into things. We’ve seen that over the years – I think most notably maybe Mark Martin at Michigan a couple years ago, getting caught on that inside pit wall. We tend to find about anywhere to hit, so it’s just a matter of trying to protect ourselves as well as the race fans and our crew members as best as possible.”

It’s taken a number of years to earn your stripes. How have you changed entering your 12th season in NASCAR?
“It doesn’t feel like it’s been that long in my career at all. Yet, when you look back at life outside of racing, you think, ‘OK, I was 18 when I came in here – holy crap a lot of things have gone on and changed over 12 years.’ It certainly seems like a whole different world, not only for me in it, but just a whole different world in general. I don’t think we had Facebook or Twitter back when I started. You could actually go out and not have somebody Tweet about it. So much has changed since then with not only social media, but just in my career. The past year has been eventful, to say the least, but I feel like I’m stronger because of it. It’s been neat to win one of the crown jewel races at Indy last year, an then also be able to win my first Sprint Cup championship. Hopefully I can cross a few more goals off the list in the coming years and be fortunate enough to win more championships. I know I have the team and people around me that are capable of helping us do that.”

- True Speed Communication for Interstate Batteries Racing/Joe Gibbs Racing

Carl Edwards still searching for first restrictor-plate win

Carl Edwards finished fifth in the 2016 Daytona 500.
Carl Edwards / No. 19 Subway Toyota Preview
Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway

No. 19 Subway Toyota News and Notes:

: NASCAR is on their return trip to Daytona International Speedway this weekend. SUBWAY will return as the primary sponsor on Edwards’ and the No. 19 team’s Toyota. SUBWAY has teamed up with the USO and Edwards will be working with both of them and spending time with some of the troops while at Daytona this weekend.

EDWARDS BY THE NUMBERS: In 23 Sprint Cup Series starts at Daytona International Speedway, Edwards has completed 3,781 of 4,113 laps (91.9 percent) and has led for a total of 15 laps. Edwards has earned five top-five and nine top-ten finishes there. His average start is 16.9 and his average finish is 19.6.

Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway (2.5-mile) begins at 7:45 p.m. ET on Saturday, July 2nd. The race will be broadcast live on NBC, Sirius XM Channel 90 and MRN Radio.

Edwards’ 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Season Stats:
StartsWinsTop 5Top 10PolesLaps LedAvg. StartAvg. Finish
Edwards’ Career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Stats:
StartsWinsTop 5Top 10PolesLaps LedAvg. StartAvg. Finish

From the Cockpit:
Carl Edwards
: “We are coming off of a great race at Sonoma and headed to Daytona in the SUBWAY Toyota Camry for an opportunity to go to Victory Lane. I don’t have a Cup win there so it would be nice to get one of those. We’ve been really close. We have a great Superspeedway program. This weekend we celebrate America’s independence. It’s always a fun weekend for the fans. We’ve got SUBWAY on board. They’ve been an amazing partner and done a ton for the USO. The SUBWAY Firecracker 250 is on Friday and I’ll be watching that and cheering for our Joe Gibbs Racing teammates. Andon Saturday we’re going to try to get a trophy.”

From the Pit Box:
Dave Rogers
: “There’s always an indescribable allure to racing at Daytona whether it’s in February or July. The Daytona 500 is “super-bowl” of our sport, but the 4th of July race is also of great significance. We have the opportunity to celebrate our country’s independence by doing what we love to do – racing automobiles at a fantastic sporting facility. SUBWAY has made this coming weekend even more special for us by teaming up with USO and supporting the troops that protect the freedoms we enjoy so much. We look forward to putting on a great show for our soldiers and fans alike.”

No. 19 Subway Toyota / Joe Gibbs Racing Team:

Driver – Carl Edwards Crew Chief – Dave Rogers Car Chief – Eric Phillips
Engineer – Lee Hallman Engineer – Kenny Oates Tire Specialist – Jamie Turski
Mechanic – Zack Miller Mechanic – Jerad Hewitt Mechanic – Joe Florelli
Engine Tuner – James Dudley Spotter – Jason Hedlesky Shock Specialist – Ron Denton
Jackman – Trey Burklin Front Tire Changer – Clay Robinson Rear Tire Changer – Kip Wolfmeir
Pit Support – Matt Tyrrell Front Tire Carrier – Kevin Harris Rear Tire Carrier – Matt Ver Meer
Pit Support – Ben Surface Gasman – Kenneth Purcell Truck Drivers – Kyle Bazzell & Jeff Icenhour

- Joe Gibbs Racing

Stewart's Sprint Cup odds drop dramatically after Sonoma win

Can Tony Stewart win Sprint Cup title in his final season?
LAS VEGAS -- Tony Stewart's dramatic win Sunday at Sonoma virtually punched his ticket into this year's 10-race Sprint Cup Chase and the odds to win his fourth career championship were altered substantially at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, from 100-to-1 down to 40-to-1.

Stewart still has to make the top-30 in points to qualify for the Chase, but he's currently in 32nd-place, nine-points out with 10 races remaining. He's scheduled to retire from driving in NASCAR at seasons end.

Stewart missed the first eight races of the season due to back injury suffered during an off-road recreational accident just three weeks before he was scheduled to participate in his final Daytona 500. Sunday's win just might give him the boost of confidence he needs after going winless in his last 84 races.

Read More Here.....full list of odds on

Daytona International Speedway Track Facts: 2016 Coke Zero 400

Side-by-side racing at 200 mph makes any Daytona race awesome.
Daytona International Speedway Data
Season Race #: 18 of 36 (07-05-14)
Track Size: 2.5-mile
Banking/Turns 1 & 2: 31 degrees
Banking/Turns 3 & 4: 31 degrees
Banking/Straights: 3 degrees
Banking/Tri-Oval: 18 degrees
Frontstretch Length: 3,800 feet
Backstretch Length: 3,000 feet
Race Length: 160 laps / 400 miles
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.
Qualifying/Race Data
2013 Coors Light pole winner:
Kyle Busch, Toyota
193.723 mph, 46.458 secs 07-05-13
2013 race winner:
Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet
154.313 mph, (02:36:20), 07-06-13
Track qualifying record (July race):
Cale Yarborough, Ford
203.519 mph, 44.222 secs 07-02-86
Track race record (July race):
Bobby Allison, Mercury
173.473 mph, (02:18:21), 07-04-80

At Daytona International Speedway:
·         Groundbreaking for Daytona International Speedway was Nov. 25, 1957. The soil underneath the banked corners was dug from the infield of the track and the hole filled with water. It is now known as Lake Lloyd.
·         The first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Daytona was a 100-mile qualifying race for the Daytona 500 on Feb. 20, 1959 – won by Bob Welborn.
·         The first summer race at Daytona International Speedway was held on July 4, 1959 – won by Fireball Roberts(140.581 mph).
·         NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty won his 200th career race on July 4, 1984 at Daytona.
·         Lights were installed in the spring of 1998. However, the July race was delayed until October that year due to thick smoke from wildfires. The second Daytona race has been held under the lights ever since.
·         The track underwent a repave in 2010.
·         There have been 134 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Daytona International Speedway since the track hosted its first race in 1959: 56 have been 500 miles, 51 were 400 miles and four 250 miles. There were also 23 qualifier races that were point races.
·         438 drivers have competed in at least one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series July race at Daytona International Speedway; 275 in more than one.
·         Richard Petty leads the series in July race starts at Daytona with 32. Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 21 starts.
·         Fireball Roberts won the inaugural Coors Light pole for the July race at Daytona in 1959 with a speed of 144.997 mph. 
·         37 drivers have Coors Light poles at Daytona for the July event, led by NASCAR Hall of Famer Cale Yarborough with eight. Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers in July race poles, with two. Gordon started first in 2007 due to qualifying being cancelled as well.
·         Three drivers have won consecutive Coors Light poles for the July race at Daytona: Cale Yarborough(1970-’71; 1980-’81, 1983-’84), Sterling Marlin (1991-’92) and Dale Earnhardt (1994-’95).
·         Youngest Daytona pole winner: Austin Dillon (02/23/2014 – 23 years, 9 months, 27 days).
·         Oldest Daytona pole winner: Mark Martin (07/02/2011 – 52 years, 5 months, 23 days).
·         34 different drivers have won the July race at Daytona International Speedway, led by NASCAR Hall of FamerDavid Pearson with five wins. Tony Stewart leads all active drivers with four; followed by Jeff Gordon with three.  
·         Five drivers have posted consecutive wins in the July race at Daytona International Speedway, including three consecutive by David Pearson (1972 - 1974). Tony Stewart (2005-’06)is the only active driver to win consecutive July races at Daytona.
·         Youngest Daytona winner: Trevor Bayne (02/20/2011 – 20 years, 0 months, 1 day).
·         Oldest Daytona winner: Bobby Allison (02/14/1988 – 50 years, 5 months, 23 days).
·         The Wood Brothershave the most wins at Daytona in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with 15; followed by Hendrick Motorsports with 13.
·         Seven different manufacturers have won the July NSCS race at Daytona; led by Chevrolet with 18 victories; followed by Ford with 16.
·         A driver has swept both races (Daytona 500 and the July race) at Daytona five times:
o    Fireball Roberts – 1962 (Daytona 500, Firecracker 250)
o    Cale Yarborough – 1968 (Daytona 500, Firecracker 400)
o    LeeRoy Yarborough – 1969 (Daytona 500, Firecracker 400)
o    Bobbie Allison – 1982 (Daytona 500, Firecracker 400)
o    Jimmie Johnson – 2013 (Daytona 500, Coke Zero 400 powered by Coca-Cola)
·         Eight of the 55 (14.5%) July NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Daytona have been won from the Coors Light pole; the most recent was Kevin Harvick in 2010.
·         The Coors Light pole is the most proficient starting position in the field, producing more winners (eight) than any other starting position in the July race at Daytona International Speedway.   
·         15 of the 55 (27.2%) July NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Daytona have been won from the front row: eight from the pole and seven from second-place.
·         41 of the 55 (74.5%) July NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Daytona have been won from a top-10 starting position.
·         Four of the 55 (7.2%) July NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Daytona have been won from a starting position outside the top 20.
·         The deepest in the field that a race winner has started at Daytona was 42nd, by Tony Stewart in the 2012 July race. 
·         Buddy Baker leads the series in runner-up finishes in the July race at Daytona with five; followed by Richard Petty and Sterling Marlin with four. Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch lead all active drivers with two each.
·         NASCAR Hall of Famer David Pearson leads the series in top-five finishes in the July race at Daytona with 13; followed by Richard Petty with 12. Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with seven.   
·         David Pearson leads the series in top-10 finishes in the July race at Daytona with 19; followed by Dale Earnhardt with 18. Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 11.
·         Jimmie Johnson leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in average starting position at Daytona with a 10.440.
·         Dale Earnhardt Jr. leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in average finishing position at Daytona with a 13.379.
·         Greg Biffle won the July race at Daytona in his first appearance.     
·         Joe Nemechek leads the series among active drivers with the most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Daytona without visiting Victory Lane at 38.
·         Since the advent of electronic scoring the closest margin of victory (MOV) in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Daytona International Speedway for the July race was the July 7, 2007 race won by Jamie McMurray overKyle Busch with a MOV of 0.005 second.
·         Four of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series July races have resulted with a green-white-checkered finish at Daytona International Speedway (Scheduled No. of Laps/Actual No. of Laps): 2008 (160/162), 2010 (160/166), 2011 (160/170) and 2013 (160/161).
·         Only one of the 55 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series July races at Daytona International Speedway has been shortened due to weather conditions – July 6, 1996 – the race was called on Lap 117, 43 circuits shy of the 160 scheduled laps.   
·         Qualifying for the July race has been cancelled due to weather conditions in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Daytona International Speedway three times: 2007, 2009, and 2010.   
·         Four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series active drivers have made their first career start at Daytona International Speedway, though none were during the July race: Tony Stewart (2/14/99), Casey Mears (2/16/03), Kasey Kahne (2/15/04), and Danica Patrick (2/27/12).
·         Six active drivers have posted their first career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light pole at Daytona International Speedway: Greg Biffle (2/15/04), Kevin Harvick (7/6/02), Jimmie Johnson (2/17/02), Paul Menard (7/5/08), Danica Patrick (2/24/13) and Austin Dillon (2/23/2014).      
·         Four active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers have posted their first career win at Daytona International Speedway; two were during the July race: Trevor Bayne (2/20/11), Greg Biffle (7/5/03), David Ragan (7/2/11) and Michael Waltrip (2/18/01).
·         Tony Stewart leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in laps led at Daytona with 665 laps led in 31 starts. Stewart also leads the series among active drivers in laps led in the July race at Daytona with 366; followed by Jeff Gordon with 316 and Dale Earnhardt Jr. with 243.
·         Five female drivers have competed in the July event at Daytona International Speedway in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Janet Guthrie, Christine Beckers, Lella Lombardi, Patty Moise and Shawna Robinson. Below they are ordered by best finish:
Starting Position
Finishing Position
Janet Guthrie
Danica Patrick
Janet Guthrie
Patty Moise
Lella Lombardi
Christine Beckers
Patty Moise
Janet Guthrie
Shawna Robinson
NASCAR in Florida
·         There have been 175 NASCAR Sprint Cup races among eight tracks in the state of Florida.
·         The first NASCAR premiere series race in the state of Florida was held at the Daytona Beach & Road Course in 7/10/1949. The 40 lap event was by won Red Byron (Oldsmobile, 80.883 mph).
Track Name
Daytona International Speedway
Daytona Beach
Homestead-Miami Speedway
Daytona Beach & Road Course
Daytona Beach
Palm Beach Speedway
W. Palm Beach
Speedway Park
Five Flags Speedway
Golden Gate Speedway
Titusville-Cocoa Speedway
·         173 drivers in NASCAR national series history have their home state recorded as Florida; 10 of the 173 (5.7%) have recorded at least one victory in NASCAR national series competition.
·         Of the seven Florida native drivers who have won in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, only Fireball Roberts andLeeRoy Yarborough have won the July race at Daytona International Speedway.
Fireball Roberts
LeeRoy Yarbrough
Marshall Teague
Joe Nemechek
Bobby Johns
David Reutimann
Shorty Rollins
Rick Wilson
Aric Almirola
Joey Coulter