- Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 July 2009 20:33
- Published on Wednesday, 01 July 2009 20:33
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For the 12 drivers currently eligible for the Chase for the Sprint Cup, and those battling for eligibility, the beginning of last Sunday’s race meant one thing: 100 points. That’s the total number of bonus points available to Chase-eligible drivers heading into last weekend’s Lenox Industrial Tools 301. While winning is always the goal, it becomes even more important during the Race to the Chase.
Each victory between now and the beginning of the Chase in September, also at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, means an extra 10 points for a Chase-eligible driver. Once the Chase begins, drivers are seeded according to the number of wins earned in the first 26 races.
That means Kyle Busch and Mark Martin are in the driver’s seat heading into Saturday night’s Coke Zero 400 at Daytona. Both have a series-high three wins in 2009, which means 30 bonus points for each. If the Chase began now, Busch would be seeded first, despite his current position of ninth in the standings. Martin, currently 11th, would be seeded second.
Reigning and three-time champion Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth, the 2003 series champion and reigning Daytona 500 champion, both have two wins. Johnson, third in the current standings, would be seeded third. Kenseth, currently 10th, would jump to fourth in the Chase seeding.
The remaining drivers with wins, all with single victories thus far, would take fourth, fifth, and sixth place in the seedings. That means current points leader Tony Stewart would drop from first to fifth. Second place Jeff Gordon would drop from second to sixth, and fourth place driver Kurt Busch would drop to seventh.
The remainder of the current top-12 drivers are still searching for their first 2009 victory. This Chase for the Sprint Cup is just too convoluted for me. Poor Tony, he has earned the lead with an outstanding performance week after week. Suddenly he is in fifth place. Phooey.
Saturday night’s Coke Zero 400 marks the 25th annivesary of Richard Petty’s historic 200th career win, and Daytona International Speedway will put on a celebration fit for a king to honor one of the landmark moments in NASCAR history.
On July 4, 1984, Richard Petty captured his 200th career win in the Independence Day holiday classic at Daytona International Speedway with President Ronald Reagan in attendance. It was the first time a sitting president of the United States attended a NASCAR race. It was also the final win in «The King's” career.
Race fans will be able to relive the moment as the Speedway and the Daytona 500 Experience motorsports attraction pay tribute to the 25th anniversary of Petty’s historic win with a number of special activities that include:
“Petty pacing the 43 car field of the Coke Zero 400 prior to the waving of the green flag in a replica of the 200th winning No. 43 car. There will be appearances by Petty at various track functions throughout the weekend and a display of race winning Petty cars on loan from the Petty Museum in Randleman, N.C. If you’re going to be in the Daytona area any time this year, a display of Petty’s cars and memorabilia will remain at the tracks Fan Zone for the rest of this year.»
“Richard Petty’s 200th victory is a significant moment in the history of both Daytona International Speedway and NASCAR,” said Robin Braig, Daytona International Speedway president. “It’s one of those records in sports that will never be broken. We’re excited about the activities that we have planned for this weekend. It’s going to be a tribute that race fans are going to want to experience in person.”
“I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate the 25th anniversary of win No. 200 than leading the 43 car field in the Coke Zero 400,» Petty said at the press conference announcing the weekend’s activities. “Winning my 200th on July 4 at Daytona with President Reagan in attendance was a special moment in my career. I told President Reagan, 'We got the president of the United States on the sports page, and the president of the United States got us on the front page.' So it was a pretty good trade off.”