Record Cautions in Coke Zero 400

Officially it is known as the World Center of Racing or Daytona International Speedway; but it is also the House that Dale Built.

Daytona_International_Speedway_(air)By ImperialAssassin – Me, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=46940488

Earlier this season Dale Earnhardt Jr announced his retirement from full time racing in the Monster Energy Cup Series at the end of this season. Dale Jr to date has won a total of 17 races in Daytona. His father, Dale Sr. lost his life at the end of the Daytona 500 in 2001. Before his death, Dale Sr had won a total of 34 races at Daytona for a total of 51 wins by a driver named Dale Earnhardt at Daytona International Speedway.

Dale_Earnhardt_Nike_1997_-_NASCAR_Photography_By_Darryl_Moran(1)By Darryl Moran – Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21034239

Dale Earnhardt Jr will run what is presumed to be his last race at Dayton with the Coke Zero 400…and he will do so as the pole sitter. Speaking on his first pole of the 2017 season Dale Jr said, “I don’t do anything in qualifying but just hold the wheel and just make sure I don’t hit the apron. Otherwise, the car does everything. A lot of credit to the power, the body man back at the shop. All that stuff’s so critical and they did a good job today.”

849px-Dale_Earnhardt,_Jr._-_Stierch_02By Sarah Stierch – Own work, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=41241031

Many of the drivers are sporting patriotic paint schemes for this holiday weekend.

The starting lineup of the Coke Zero 400:
Dale Earnhardt Jr
Chase Elliott
Brad Keselowski
Kasey Kahne
Kevin Harvick
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Joey Logano
Jamie McMurray
Ryan Blaney
Danica Patrick
Clint Bowyer
Jimmie Johnson
Matt Kenseth
Trevor Bayne
Kurt Busch
Kyle Busch
Erik Jones
Denny Hamlin
Austin Dillon
Daniel Suarez
Kyle Larson
Ryan Newman
Michael McDowell
Paul Menard
Ryan Truex Jr
Landon Cassill
AJ Allmendinger
Matt DiBenedetto
Chris Buescher
David Ragan
Darrell Wallace Jr
Brendan Gaughan
Elliott Sadler
Ty Dillon
Cole Whitt
Corey LaJoie
Reed Sorenson
Ryan Sieg
Jeffrey Earnhardt
DJ Kennington – qualifying time was disallowed for inspection issues

After all the rain, NASCAR has announced a competition caution on lap 20.

Stages one and two of the race 40 laps each with stage three lasting 80 laps for 160 laps and 400 miles.

Before the green flag, the drivers come down pit road for the Salute to Honour – saluting members of the various military organizations. Many teams and fans are holding American flags.

Dale Earnhardt Jr brings the field down for the green flag start of the race at 7:58pm for what may be his last time at DIS. Taking the green flag, Dale Earnhardt Jr gets out in front for the lead with team mate Chase Elliott along side.

Chase Elliott passes Dale Jr for the lead.

Lap two the drivers are two and three wide through the field with Chase Elliott out in front.

Lap five Brad Keselowski challenges Chase Elliott for the lead and takes over the top spot.

Lap seven Brad Keselowski still holds on to the lead of the race.

Lap eight Chase Elliott challenges Brad Keselowski for the lead but Keselowski holds on to the lead of the race.

The first caution flag of the race comes out on lap nine when Cole Whitt is smoking and is slow on the track. Ryan Sieg is on pit road with a smoking car.

Leaders stay out on the track when pit road opens.

Brad Keselowski brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 12 and holds on to the lead of the race.

After making a pit stop for two tires, Denny Hamlin has to make a second trip down pit road after having only one lug nut on the rear tire.

Lap 14 and the drivers are in a tight pack with Brad Keselowski in the lead.

Lap 15 the second caution flag of the race comes out when DJ Kennington is smoking heavily and spinning out. Kennington reports that the engine blew up.

NASCAR has called that this will be the competition caution. Drivers who come down pit road may now fuel their cars. The leaders stayed out but several drivers come down pit road for service. Taking only two tires, Erik Jones is first off of pit road.

Brad Keselowski brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 19 and holds on to the lead with a push from Chase Elliott. The drivers gets three wide across the track. Dale Earnhardt Jr is mired back in tenth place.

Lap 23 Brad Keselowski still holds on to the lead of the race with Chase Elliott in second.

Lap 29 Kevin Harvick challenges Brad Keselowski for the lead, edging out Keselowski to take over the lead of the race.

Sap 32 Ricky Stenhouse Jr makes it a three way battle with Keselowski retaking the lead.

Rim riding, Dale Jr has moved up to fourth place.

Kevin Harvick led lap 34.

Lap 35 Brad Keselowski retakes the lead with Dale Jr in second.

Lap 37 Dale Jr catches Keselwoski and is running neck and neck swapping the lead back and forth as the stage winds down.

Ryan Blaney makes it a three way battle with Brad Keselwoski in the lead.

Three laps before the end of the stage Denny Hamlin and Erik Jones came down pit road for service.

Brad Keselowski wins stage one for his third stage win of the season.

Brad_Keselowski_aboard_USS_Carl_VinsonBy U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Nina Hughes(Released) – United States Navy…

The top 10 at the end of stage one:
Brad Keselowski
Dale Earnhardt Jr
Ryan Blaney
Clint Bowyer
Joey Logano
Michael McDowell
Jamie McMurray
Kurt Busch
Matt Kenseth
David Ragan

Not stopping for service after missing his pit box and making contact with Joey Logano, on pit road, Ryan Blaney wins the race off of pit road. Blaney made a second attempt down pit road for service

Erik Jones brings the field down for the green flag start of stage two on lap 47 and holds on to the lead of the race. Dale Jr is making some bold moves to move up in the field.

Dale Jr makes it four wide on lap 48.

Lap 49 Denny Hamlin passes Erik Jones to take over the lead of the race.

Missing a wreck, two cars – Daniel Suarez and Michael McDowell – came roaring down pit road. NASCAR will alow a driver to come down pit road to avoid a wreck.

During pit stops, Kurt Busch had to make two trips down pit road for a lug nut issue.

Lap 52 Dale Jr reports a flat tire while up against the wall and has to come down pit road with some damage. Kyle Larson makes a trip down pit road to check for car damage.

Lap 55 Denny Hamlin is in the lead.

The issue puts Dale Jr two laps down in 36th place.

The caution flag comes out on lap 58 for a smoking Jeffrey Earnhardt car. Kyle Larson is the “lucky dog”.

Dale Jr’s team reports no flat tire but there was damage on the car after contact with Paul Menard.

Some of the drivers bring their cars down pit road for service.

Taking only two tires, Erik Jones wins the race off of pit road.

Denny Hamlin brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 63 and holds on to the lead as he gets out in front of the field.

Matt Kenseth challenges Denny Hamlin for the lead but doesn’t get any help and Denny Hamlin holds on to the lead. The drivers are getting three and four wide across the track.

Lap 68 Matt Kenseth takes over the lead of the race. Dale Earnhardt Jr is in 35th.

Kyle Busch brings out the caution flag when he gets turned around and causes the “big one” on lap 70. Austin Dillon, Martin Truex Jr, Joey Logano, and Kyle Larson are also involved; some cars have heavy damage. Under NASCAR’s new rules, drivers involved in a wreck have five minutes on pit road to make any repairs and maintain minimum speed or they are out of the race. Dale Jr is the “lucky dog” and gets one of his two laps back. Kyle Busch just aoiced his brother Kurt in the wreck.

Joey Logano is out of the race.

Matt Kenseth brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 77 as the cars get three wide across the track. Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin battle for the lead swapping back and forth.

Side by side Matt Kenseth edges out Denny Hamlin to win the stage.

Matt-kenseth-bristol-2009By Rick R. Duncan – Flickr: matt-kenseth, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14140357

The top 10 at the end of stage two:
Matt Kenseth
Denny Hamlin
Jimmie Johnson
Kurt Busch
David Ragan
Kevin Harvick
Kasey Kahne
Ty Dillon
Darrell Wallace Jr
Ryan Blaney

Taking no tires Jamie McMurray wins the race off of pit road.

Kyle Larson is the “lucky dog”.

Kevin Harvick brings the field down for the green flag start of stage three on lap 86 and after running side by side, Ricky Stenhouse Jr gets out in front to lead the race.

Brendan Gaughan brushes agains the wall on lap 90 bringing out the caution flag. Dale Jr is the “lucky dog”.

Several of the drivers come down pit road for service.

Taking only two tires, Trevor Bayne wins the race off of pit road.

Staying out on the track, Daniel Suarez has the lead and brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 95. Getting a push from team mate Matt Kenseth Suarez takes the lead but gets a challenge from Jamie McMurray. Daniel Suarez holds on to the lead of the race with the drivers getting three wide behind him.

Lap 97 Daniel Suarez leads the race and Dale Earnhardt Jr has worked his way up to 17th place.

Lap 98 Chase Elliott bring out the caution flag when he gets around and gets into Trevor Bayne before running through the grass. Kyle Busch is the “lucky dog”.

Daniel Suarez brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 101. Suarez and Matt Kenseth are nose to nose battling for the lead with Matt Kenseth taking the lead of the race.

Dale Jr is now in tenth place with a damaged car.

Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, and Daniel Suarez make it three wide in a battle for the lead with Jimme Johnson taking the lead of the race.

Kevin Harvick gets around and brings out the caution flag on lap 105 after blowing a tire. He collects up several drivers in the wreck including Dale Earnhardt Jr who had finally made it back inside the top 10. Brad Keselowski and Kasey Kahne were also involved.

Taking only two tires, Matt Kenseth leads the race off of pit road.

Dale Jr is out of the race.

Clint Bowyer is in the lead and brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 111. Ricky Stenhouse Jr edges out Cling Bowyer to take the lead of the race.

Lap 114 Ricky Stenhouse Jr leads the race as the first several cars are single file.

A number of the drivers are short on fuel.

Brad Keselowski gets into the wall and brings out the caution flag on lap 117. The drivers who were short on fuel can now pit and get fuel.

In his interview, Dale Jr said that everything they did was for the fans.

Ryan Blaney wins the race off of pit road.

Matt Kenseth brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 120 and takes over the lead of the race.

Kasey Kahne spins out and brings out the eleventh caution flag of the race on lap 121.

Matt Kenseth brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 125 and pulls out in front of the field as the drivers get two and three wide through the field.

Ryan Blaney passes Matt Kenseth for the lead of the race on alp 127.

Matt DiBenedetto brings out the caution flag with a flat tire. This is the twelfth caution flag tying the current record for caution flags.

Ryan Blaney brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 132 with Ryan Blaney edging out for the lead of the race.

Ricky Stenhouse challenges Ryan Blaney for the lead and Daniel Suarez makes it a three way battle with Suarez taking the lead of the race.

Kasey Kahne passes Daniel Suarez to take the lead of the race.

On the outside, Daniel Suarez challenges Kasey Kahne for the lead with Daniel Suarez taking the lead as the two drivers swap the lead back and forth with Daniel Suarez coming out on top.

With 20 laps remaining in the race Kasey Kahen retakes the lead of the race.

Fifteen laps to go and Kasey Kahne leads the field with Matt Kenseth in second and Daniel Suarez in third.

Ricky Stenhouse blows past Kasey Kahne to take over the lead of the race with 12 laps remaining in the race.

Ten to go and Ricky Stenhouse Jr is out in front of the field with Ty Dillon in second and Ricky Stenhouse Jr in third.

Nine to go and Ty Dillon challenges Ricky Stenhouse Jr for the lead and takes over the top spot.

Eight to go and Kyle Larson brings out the thirteenth caution flag when he gets airborne. Several other drivers were also involved – Kurt Busch, Danica Patrick, Matt Kenseth, Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Ryan Blaney. Matt DiBenedetto Darrell Wallace Jr, and Michael McDowell.

NASCAR has displayed the red flag stopping the race with six laps remaining in the race.

The cars are moving again and will have just a few laps remaining in the race.

Taking the outside lane, Ty Dillon brings the field down for the green flag restart with only three laps remaining in the race. Of the 40 cars that started the race, 25 of them are still out on the track.

Ty Dillon and David Ragan battle for the lead of the race with David Ragan taking over the lead of the race.

Erik Jones and Denny Hamlin get loose and spin out through the grass briging out the 14th caution flag and an overtime finish.

David Ragan brings the field down for the overtime green/white/checker finish. Ragan and Ty Dillon are side by side with David Ragan edging out Ty Dillon for the lead. The drivers are past the overtime line.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr gets out in front and takes the white flag.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr gets his second Monster Energy Cup Series win and his second restrictor plate win – he earned his first win at Talladega.

TSM350_-_2015_-_Ricky_Stenhouse_Jr_3_-_StierchBy Sarah Stierch – Own work, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=41276824

The unofficial results of the Coke Zero 400:
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Clint Bowyer
Paul Menard
Michael McDowell
Ryan Newman
David Ragan
Brendan Gaughan
AJ Allmendinger
Erik Jones
Chris Buescher
Corey LaJoie
Jimmie Johnson
Matt DiBenedetto
Jamie McMurray
Darrell Wallace Jr
Ty Dillon
Daniel Suarez
Kasey Kahne
Landon Cassill
Kyle Busch
Elliott Sadler
Chase Elliott
Trevor Bayne
Denny Hamlin
Danica Patrick
Ryan Blaney
Matt Kenseth
Kurt Busch
Kyle Larson
Reed Sorenson
Brad Keselowski
Dale Earnhardt Jr
Kevin Harvick
Martin Truex Jr
Joey Logano
Austin Dillon
Jeffrey Earnhardt
DJ Kennington
Cole Whitt
Ryan Sieg


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