The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series continues their summer stretch going into Daytona International Speedway for the running of the Coke Zero 400. The weeks until the Chase for the Sprint Cup continue to decrease, and the drivers and teams know it. This weekend is one of the biggest wild card races heading into the Chase. Here are some things to watch for:
* Can Jimmie Johnson make it three in a row? He has been in a hot streak once again after a so-called "slump," but now he has to keep it going. Daytona is a wild card event, but I'm pretty sure everyone knows what happens when you count the 48 team out.
* Can Tony Stewart keep the ball rolling. He is a second half season driver, and Daytona is right in the middle of the season. He has won their before, as a matter of fact, three times in the July race, one of them being last year.
* Can Tony's unofficial teammate finally break his losing streak? Dale Earnhardt Jr. has been on such a good roll, which is a surprise, considering it has been during the summer, and those races aren't too kind to Earnhardt. Plus, he's driving the 3 car in the Nationwide race, so any kind of win this weekend should put on a big smile on his face.
* Can Jeff Gordon get back to victory lane? He has been oh so close this year, and he usually is hard to beat at these races. Although, he has been in a restrictor plate slump, as he has not won or even finished in the top 10 in the past few years at plate tracks.
* Will Carl Edwards pick it up? He's only three points ahead of Junior and is currently on the bubble in the Chase. Not only will it be interesting to see how Carl does in this wild card event but it will also be interesting to see if any Ford can win it. They have not won a cup event this year.
* Payback at Daytona? Maybe not the place to see it, but a lot of people owe someone something. Maybe no intentional wrecks, but we may see people just simply refusing to work with their enemies.
* Will Kevin Harvick keep a big points lead? It's a wild card race, so that's enough said.
* Will Mark Martin pick up the pace? He is only 30 points to the good in the Chase right now, and has not been on a roll. He also seems to struggle at plate races.
* Will Ryan Newman get up in the Chase? He's not a big Talladega fan, but Daytona is more spread out with the old pavement(not next year though), so maybe he can find the Daytona success like he has before.
* What about Clint Bowyer? He's in a tight battle for the Chase spot. If he can overcome bad luck, he will most likely be able to run right up front with his teammates. And that might just be enough.
There are multiple wild card races every year, however, this may be the biggest one. Every position on the track counts, every lap counts, until the end. One or two positions on the track, can make a huge difference down the road into the Chase. Remember, Kyle Busch last year learned that. Get ready, the battle to the Chase is just warming up.
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