Race: Coke Zero 400 Predictions to Win
Date: Sunday July 5, 2014
Track: Daytona International Speedway
Time: 7:45 pm ET
by Virginia Vroom, NASCAR Handicapper, Predictem.com
Sonoma turned out to be quite an awesome race as expected. It was a lot of good racing, and even when drivers wrecked, they manned up and owed it to the nature of the beast. I really enjoyed watching Kyle Busch race his way back to the front of the pack for a win. Now, he needs to climb into the top 30 in order to secure his spot in the Chase. He needs to average 13th or better in all races before the Chase to become get into the top 30 and become eligible. Honestly, I see him having no issues there, and it’s pretty darn impressive that he has accomplished everything he has in the few short weeks back on the track.
This week, we go back to the regular oval that we are oh so used to and we go back in a big way. This weekend, it’s Daytona time! The Coke Zero 400 brings us back to the beaches for the spectacular 4th of July weekend race. This is a place with an incredible history and absolutely awesome racing. Daytona is a superspeedway that lends itself to ridiculously fast speeds and wrecks that are so unpredictable. There are times when we see a relatively quiet race, but it’s rare that we will go through a race with 43 drivers going upwards of 200 mph in a huge pack inches from each other’s fenders without something pretty major happening. The “big one” is bound to happen, especially during a night race. There’s something about racing under the lights that tends to bring out the worst tempers in some of the drivers.
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Daytona International Speedway is a 2.5-mile asphalt tri-oval. It has 31 degree banking in the turns and 18 degrees through the tri-oval. The backstretch has a minimal 2 degrees of banking. Perhaps more impressive is the 3800 frontstretch and 3000 foot backstretch. Basically, this track is over 4 times bigger than Martinsville, the smallest track on NASCAR’s Sprint Cup circuit. That’s pretty impressive. The interesting thing about Daytona is how it changes from the 500 to the race here in the summer. The track had much more grip back in February. It was cooler and definitely gave the drivers more security than the race this week likely will. The track will be much hotter and slicker in the heat of the Daytona summer night. Look for drivers to try and stay safe and out of trouble. The lead changes and position changes may not be as plentiful until the end of the race just so drivers can try and stay clean and wreck-free.
When we take a look at our potential winners, it’s a pretty much no-brainer this weekend when it comes to racing on a restrictor plate track. Dale Jr. is the one to watch and the one to beat. He’s been more than competitive this season and really has nothing to lose with his spot in the Chase pretty well guaranteed. He’s the defending winner at Talladega and that talent will certainly carry through to this weekend’s race at Daytona. Let’s take a look at all of your potential winners this weekend:
My Pick to Win: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Middle of the Road Pick: Clint Bowyer
Dark Horse Prediction: Ryan Blaney
Bowyer has been running strong and really not letting up in the last few weeks. He had an awesome run this weekend at Sonoma. His competitive streak is definitely picking up. Look for him to be up towards the front for most of the race. Ryan Blaney ran very well at the last Talladega race. He ended up finishing 4th after giving Dale Jr. a huge run for his money. Blaney seems to have a good handle on the restrictor plate tracks for a rookie. This place is generally an equal opportunity track when it comes to winning and wrecking, so we will have to see how Blaney fares. Daytona is also an equal opportunity point-killer. With the unpredictable nature of the race, it never fails that some drivers just get the short end of the stick after being involved in a wreck. Some drivers gain a lot here, but it’s usually the opposite.
Here are your current top 16 after last week’s race:
1. Kevin Harvick
2. Martin Truex Jr.
3. Joey Logano
4. Jimmie Johnson
5. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
6. Brad Keselowski
7. Jamie McMurray
8. Kasey Kahne
9. Matt Kenseth
10. Kurt Busch
11. Jeff Gordon
12. Paul Menard
13. Denny Hamlin
14. Ryan Newman
15. Aric Almirola
16. Clint Bowyer
There was some movement due to unfortunate wrecks by some drivers, but you could tell that the equipment and skill were still there, and that’s what matters most. Drivers are going to have a heck of a time using their skill and equipment to stay up front this weekend and not get involved in the wrecks that are bound to happen. At Daytona, it’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Stay tuned for an exciting night of summertime racing this Sunday at Daytona International Speedway! Another great place to bet the Coca Cola 400 and ALL of your NASCAR wagers is 5Dimes. TONS of different bets to choose from and the lowest odds on the planet!