The Chase Heats Up in Daytona
Daytona in July is hot, hot, hot.
Saturday night's Coke Zero 400 marks the first of a 10 event countdown leading to the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Those 10 races will be at some of the most prestigious gems of the NASCAR season: Daytona, Indianapolis, Bristol, and Watkins Glen. Next week's wild card is at the inaugural race at Kentucky Speedway. Nine races lead up to that last non-chase race in Richmond on September 10th.
After Richmond the top ten drivers are locked into the Chase which begins the following week at Chicagoland Speedway. Positions 11 and 12 are "wild card" qualifiers and will go to non-top-10-ranked drivers with the most wins, as long as they're ranked in the top 20 in points. Ties are broken by points position, then by 2nd place finishes, 3rd, etc.
A lot can happen in 10 races. For those drivers back in positions 15 and beyond it comes down to math. The deeper you go into the 10 race sprint the harder it becomes to get in. The best way to improve your position is to win or grab as many top fives as you can.
Opportunities are dwindling and now is not the time to let up. Every driver out there wants to be in the Chase and you won't get there without racing hard and taking risks. You can't leave anything in the hauler at this part of the campaign. The race season comes down to the next ten tracks. As the Hombres sang on their one-hit-wonder back in '67, it's time to... "Let It All Hang Out!"
Standings after Sonoma Toyota/Save Mart 350:Continued on the next page