Jun 29, 2011

The Fourth of July weekend is here again, and NASCAR fans know that means it is time for night racing in Daytona. Fans are sure to see fireworks on and off the track as drivers go for the win. The NASCAR Nationwide Series will kick off the weekend with the Subway Jalapeno 250 on Friday, and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will race Saturday in the Coke Zero 400.

After the wild races last weekend at Road America and Infineon, revenge will be on many drivers’ minds going into Daytona. But with the two-car drafting type of racing fans have seen at Daytona this year, drivers will need all of the friends they can team up with to get to the front. Brian Vickers and Tony Stewart will have no issues working together if needed, but don’t look for Juan Pablo Montoya to team up with Kasey Kahne or Brad Keselowskiand or Joey Logano and Robby Gordon to work together after their run-ins last weekend.

Trevor Bayne, who became the youngest driver to win the Daytona 500 in February, will return to Daytona to attempt the difficult “Daytona Sweep.” The last driver to win both Daytona Cup races in the same year was Bobby Allison in 1982. But in order for him to attempt the sweep, he must first qualify for the race. Bayne’s Wood Brother’s team has slipped outside of the top 35 in owner points because they haven’t attempted every race this season and as a result the young driver is not guaranteed a spot in the field.

It is definitely crunch time for teams, with only 10 races remaining before the 12-driver Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup field is set. There are many drivers who find themselves on the outside looking in. As of now, Denny Hamlin, who is currently 11th, would grab the first Wild Card spot in the Chase with his victory at Michigan. There are two other drivers outside the top 10 with victories this season, Keselowski and Regan Smith, but both are outside the top 20 so they are not eligible for the Wild Card spots. Keselowski is currently 22nd, 12 points outside the top 20 and Smith is 28th, 59 points out of the top 20. There are many drivers who need victories to find their way into the top 12, as the Chase gets closer these teams will be willing to do whatever it takes to win.