The NASCAR Cup Series ended their regular season with a bang at Daytona International Speedway. The Coke Zero Sugar 400 played host to the regular-season finale for the second year. With 15 drivers already locked in, 15 others were hoping to get the last spot with a win. The final lap would see a crazy finish as Ryan Blaney was able to get ahead.
NASCAR Cup Series Recap | Ryan Blaney wins at Daytona
Coke Zero Sugar 400 Stage 1
With Kyle Larson being sent to the back William Byron took his spot and the race was underway. The race would stay clean all the way to the competition caution. The race stayed green throughout the rest of the first stage as Chase Elliott earned the stage win.
Coke Zero Sugar 400 Stage 2
After a brief stage break, the drivers were right back at it again to continue the race. A log jam started by Corey Lajoie would cause Aric Almirola and Alex Bowman to go spinning to bring out the first for cause caution. Both would continue with cosmetic damage. Joey Logano led the field at the green and white checkered flag to end stage 2.
Coke Zero Sugar 400 Stage 3
The race went back green for the final stage. The Fords all pitted with about 38 to go to play the strategy game. In a surprising twist, the Rick Ware Racing cars all wrecked with each other in the middle of the pit cycle. The Fords restarted in front of the Toyotas and Chevys. Chase Elliott found himself in the lead and when he mistimed a block on Matt DiBenedetto the wreck took out many contenders. A few green flag laps later Martin Truex Jr. would be turned around and collect some other drivers including Tyler Reddick who was still in a points battle with Austin Dillon. The race was red-flagged to save the laps remaining. On the final lap, Ryan Blaney was trying to hold off the field. Kevin Harvick and Daniel Suarez both had runs, but then Kurt Busch made a mistake and turned the 99 into the 4 causing another big one and the caution to end the race. Ryan Blaney won his second straight race. Austin Dillon was involved in the wreck giving Tyler Reddick the final spot in the NASCAR Cup Playoffs.
Final Coke Zero Sugar 400 Thoughts
I love this pack racing. You had guys who typically don’t lead laps up towards the front all night with a chance to win. A nerve-racking race for the fans and the drivers. If NASCAR keeps the playoffs like they have it Daytona should be the regular-season finale like it is. Onto the playoffs for 16 drivers.
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