Dale Earnhardt Jr. dominates Daytona to win Coke Zero 400, which ends with horrific crash

CJNtkJRWsAAWxREDale Earnhardt Jr. endured a weekend of rain, a three-hour-plus pre-race delay, and nine caution flags to win the Coke-Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway early Monday morning.

The race ended at 2:41 a.m. and concluded with a large crash featuring Austin Dillon’s No. 3 Chevrolet going airborne and smashing into the catch-fence near Turn 1 after he crossed the start-finish line. Dillon walked away from the wreck, the fourth major crash of the night. After being released from the infield care center, Dillon said he suffered a bruised tailbone and forearm.

Pole-sitter Earnhardt dominated the night, leading 96 laps in his No. 88 Nationwide Stars and Stripes Chevrolet. He also had the convincing support of the fans remaining at the track following the 154-minute rain delay. The delay was a harbinger for the race itself, which included four multi-car crashes and those nine caution flags that covered 43 of the scheduled 160 laps before the green-white checkered finish. It was Earnhardt’s fourth NASCAR Sprint Cup career victory on the 2.5-mile Florida track.

“I had a lot of fun tonight,” a somewhat subdued Earnhardt said after the race. “We have such great motors and good cars. We ran Very fast. I had to block a lot, get a lot of pushes from everybody. I had to run real hard to win this race here. We got shuffled back a few times.”

Driver Paul Menard could have been speaking for everyone at the speedway when he said on his radio during the race that Earnhardt’s No. 88 was “ridiculously” fast. Earnhardt consistently outran the competition on re-start after re-start.

Earnhardt’s crew raced onto the track after the last-lap crash to check on Dillon’s condition. The catch fences at Daytona International Speedway were reinforced following an accident in 2013 during a NASCAR XFINITY Series race.

Denny Hamlin finished third, with Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch rounding out the top five. Harvick leads the Sprint Cup points standings by 63 points over Earnhardt.

Postrace tech is complete. No issues. Earnhardt Johnson KuBusch to R&D. Dillon car also will go to R&D for post-accident analysis.

RACE NOTES:
Average Speed: 134.941 mph.
Time of Race: 02 Hrs, 58 Mins, 58 Secs.
Margin of Victory: 0.122 Seconds.
Caution Flags: 9 for 43 laps.
Lead Changes: 22 among 12 drivers.

Next Up: The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series moves to Kentucky Speedway this week where it will debut its new aerodynamic package in the NSCS Quaker State 400 presented by Advance Auto Parts on Saturday 7:30 p.m. ET.

Coke Zero 400 Race Results
Pos. Car # Driver Laps Status Laps Led Points Bonus Points
1 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr 161 Running 96 48 5
2 48 Jimmie Johnson 161 Running 35 43 1
3 11 Denny Hamlin 161 Running 10 42 1
4 4 Kevin Harvick 161 Running 0 40 0
5 41 Kurt Busch 161 Running 0 39 0
6 24 Jeff Gordon 161 Running 0 38 0
7 3 Austin Dillon 161 Running 8 38 1
8 31 Ryan Newman 161 Running 1 37 1
9 6 Trevor Bayne 161 Running 0 35 0
10 15 Clint Bowyer 161 Running 1 35 1
11 13 Casey Mears 161 Running 0 33 0
12 55 David Ragan 161 Running 0 32 0
13 40 Landon Cassill (i) 161 Running 0 0 0
14 14 Tony Stewart 161 Running 0 30 0
15 1 Jamie McMurray 161 Running 0 29 0
16 27 Paul Menard 161 Running 0 28 0
17 18 Kyle Busch 161 Running 0 27 0
18 51 Justin Allgaier 161 Running 0 26 0
19 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr 161 Running 0 25 0
20 16 Greg Biffle 161 Running 0 24 0
21 47 AJ Allmendinger 161 Running 0 23 0
22 22 Joey Logano 161 Running 0 22 0
23 20 Matt Kenseth 161 Running 1 22 1
24 7 Alex Bowman 161 Running 0 20 0
25 35 Cole Whitt 161 Running 0 19 0
26 83 Matt Dibenedetto # 161 Running 1 19 1
27 34 Brett Moffitt # 161 Running 1 18 1
28 62 Brendan Gaughan (i) 161 Running 0 0 0
29 2 Brad Keselowski 159 Running 0 15 0
30 9 Sam Hornish Jr. 154 Accident 0 14 0
31 98 Josh Wise 154 Running 1 14 1
32 5 Kasey Kahne 149 Running 5 13 1
33 23 J.J. Yeley (i) 139 Running 1 0 0
34 43 Aric Almirola 137 Running 0 10 0
35 10 Danica Patrick 126 Accident 0 9 0
36 26 Jeb Burton # 121 Running 0 8 0
37 46 Michael Annett 110 Running 0 7 0
38 78 Martin Truex Jr. 105 Accident 0 6 0
39 42 Kyle Larson 103 Accident 0 5 0
40 38 David Gilliland 96 Running 0 4 0
41 19 Carl Edwards 85 Accident 0 3 0
42 33 Brian Scott (i) 85 Accident 0 0 0
43 32 Bobby Labonte 2 Accident 0 1 0

# – Rookie
(i) Ineligible for driver points in this series

2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Unofficial Point Standings
After Race 17 at Daytona International Speedway
Pos. Car # Driver Points Behind Starts Wins Top 5s Top 10s DNF
1 4 Kevin Harvick 656 Leader 17 2 12 15 0
2 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr 593 -63 17 2 9 11 1
4 22 Joey Logano 589 -67 17 4 10 12 0
5 78 Martin Truex Jr. 581 -75 17 1 9 12 0
6 1 Jamie McMurray 569 -87 17 1 5 14 2
6 48 Jimmie Johnson 526 -130 17 0 2 7 1
7 2 Brad Keselowski 520 -136 17 1 3 9 1
8 41 Kurt Busch 508 -148 14 2 7 9 0
9 20 Matt Kenseth 501 -155 17 1 5 9 1
10 24 Jeff Gordon 500 -156 17 0 2 9 1
11 5 Kasey Kahne 496 -160 17 0 2 6 1
12 11 Denny Hamlin 480 -176 17 1 4 7 1
13 27 Paul Menard 480 -176 17 0 2 4 1
14 31 Ryan Newman 472 -184 17 0 4 10 1
15 15 Clint Bowyer 465 -191 17 0 1 6 0
16 43 Aric Almirola 441 -215 17 0 1 1 1
Points Outside the Top 16
17 19 Carl Edwards 408 -33 17 1 1 2 2
18 42 Kyle Larson 395 -46 16 0 1 5 3
19 16 Greg Biffle 392 -49 17 0 1 2 0
20 10 Danica Patrick 386 -55 17 0 0 2 1
21 3 Austin Dillon 379 -62 17 0 0 2 2
22 13 Casey Mears 378 -63 17 0 0 1 2
23 47 AJ Allmendinger 352 -89 17 0 0 2 3
24 55 David Ragan 336 -105 17 0 1 1 2
25 14 Tony Stewart 331 -110 17 0 0 1 3
26 9 Sam Hornish Jr. 321 -120 17 0 0 2 2
27 6 Trevor Bayne 319 -122 17 0 0 2 1
28 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr 311 -130 17 0 1 1 1
29 51 Justin Allgaier 286 -155 17 0 0 1 3
30 35 Cole Whitt 280 -161 17 0 0 0 1
Points Outside the Top 30
31 38 David Gilliland 267 -13 17 0 0 0 2
32 34 Brett Moffitt # 233 -47 14 0 0 1 0
33 7 Alex Bowman 228 -52 16 0 0 0 2
34 46 Michael Annett 194 -86 17 0 0 0 1
35 98 Josh Wise 185 -95 16 0 0 1 3
36 83 Matt Dibenedetto 182 -98 14 0 0 0 0
37 18 Kyle Busch 152 -128 6 1 1 2 2
38 95 Michael McDowell 11 -269 8 0 0 0 0
39 26 Jeb Burton # 105 -175 13 0 0 0 2
40 33 Alex Kennedy # 67 -213 7 0 0 0 0
41 32 Bobby Labonte 39 -241 3 0 0 0 1
42 55 Brian Vickers 32 -248 2 0 0 0 0
43 55 Michael Waltrip 26 -254 2 0 0 0 0
44 44 Reed Sorenson 22 -258 2 0 0 0 0
45 66 Mike Wallace 8 -272 1 0 0 0 0
46 30 Ron Hornaday Jr. 2 -278 1 0 0 0 1

# – Rookie

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2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Owner Standing 
After Race 17 at Daytona International Speedway
Pos. Owner Car # Wins Points Behind Attempts
1 Tony Stewart 4 2 473 Leader 17
2 Rick Hendrick 88 2 432 -41 17
3 Gene Haas 41 2 410 -63 17
4 Jeff Gordon 48 4 407 -66 17
5 Walter Czarnecki 22 1 401 -72 17
6 Barney Visser 78 1 393 -80 17
7 Felix Sabates 1 0 381 -92 17
8 Roger Penske 2 1 372 -101 17
9 Joe Gibbs 20 1 353 -120 17
10 Rick Hendrick 24 0 346 -127 17
11 Linda Hendrick 5 0 345 -128 17
12 J D Gibbs 11 1 343 -130 17
13 Richard Childress 27 0 339 -134 17
14 Richard Childress 31 0 336 -137 17
15 Rob Kauffman 15 0 321 -152 17
16 Richard Petty 43 0 312 -161 17
17 Chip Ganassi 42 0 296 -177 17
18 J D Gibbs 19 1 292 -181 17
19 Jack Roush 16 0 284 -189 17
20 Tony Stewart 10 0 284 -189 17
21 Joe Gibbs 18 1 274 -199 17
22 Richard Childress 3 0 263 -210 17
23 Bob Germain 13 0 261 -212 17
24 Tad Geschickter 47 0 253 -220 17
25 Margaret Haas 14 0 234 -239 17
26 Richard Petty 9 0 230 -243 17
27 John Henry 6 0 224 -249 17
28 John Henry 17 0 208 -265 17
29 Michael Waltrip 55 0 207 -266 17
30 Harry Scott Jr 51 0 204 -269 17
32 Brad Jenkins 38 0 202 -271 17
33 Jerry Freeze 34 0 193 -280 17
34 Tommy Baldwin 7 0 188 -285 17
35 Bob Jenkins 35 0 150 -323 17
35 Michael Hillman 40 0 144 -329 17
36 Joe Falk 33 0 136 -337 17
37 Ron Devine 83 0 134 -339 17
38 Mike Curb 98 0 131 -342 17
39 Harry Scott Jr 46 0 125 -348 17
40 Ron Devine 23 0 123 -350 17
41 Archie St Hilaire 32 0 106 -367 17
42 Bob Leavine 95 0 101 -372 10
43 Anthony Marlowe 26 0 74 -399 17
44 Glen Wood 21 0 60 -413 7
45 Jay Robinson 62 0 47 -426 17
46 Rick Hendrick 25 0 36 -437 3
47 John Cohen 44 0 12 -461 4
48 Jay Robinson 66 0 8 -465 4
49 Curtis Key 30 0 6 -467 7
50 Robby Benton 129 0 0 -473 4
51 Gordon Smith 139 0 0 -473 2

 

2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Manufacturer Standings
After Race 17 at Daytona International Speedway
Pos. Manufacturer Wins Points Behind
1 Chevrolet 11 774 Leader
2 Ford 2 691 -83
3 Toyota 4 674 -100

 

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