Emptying the notebook from Sunday’s Coke Zero Sugar 400

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla — 39 lead changes in 160 laps of racing. That’s more than the Daytona 500 had nearly 7 months prior in 100 miles more of action which had 35. The 7 cautions were the same for each.

The winners?

Both named Austin.

No. 2 and No. 3. were their numbers. They were each duking it out for the win in Sunday’s rain delayed Coke Zero Sugar 400.

Here’s some minor things to empty out the old notebook from this weekend’s race.

  • HMS fails to convert front row sweep again – Hendrick Motorsports is tied with the Wood Brothers for most Daytona wins in the NASCAR Cup Series. Each have 15. Both have also won those 15 races with 7 different drivers. However, HMS’ once dominance prowess has since cooled. They won 11 races between 1995 and 2015. In fact, 7 of those 11 occurred from July 2004 and July 2015. They’ve won this race 6 times.
    • Since 2016 though, they have just 1 win. What’s bizarre is, it’s not like they’ve not shown up down here without speed. They’ve arguably had the fastest cars off the truck. It’s just that they’ve not had race day speed to correlate with race day handling. Hendrick Motorsports teammates Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott shared the front row. It’s was actually the 4th straight HMS pole at Daytona and 12th in the last 16 tries on the high banked 2.5-mile Florida superspeedway. The only 4 poles they didn’t win was Greg Biffle (July 2016), Joey Logano (July 2019), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (February 2020) and Kevin Harvick (Aug. 2020). However, 2 of the 4 weren’t won on speed. Logano’s pole in 2019 was on points. Same for Harvick in 2020 as we didn’t qualify that year. However, they failed to win with having just 1 win in the last 13 Daytona races now. Elliott led the most laps (31) but none of them even scored a top 10.
  • Austin Dillon’s win no fluke – He has 2 top 2 finishes in 3 combined Daytona or Talladega starts this season.
    • 6 of the last 7 winners of the ‘400 all finished 20th or worse in the season opening Daytona 500. The reason it’s not 6-for-6 is because 2019 race winner Justin Haley didn’t race in the Daytona 500 that year.
    • If you go back to Brad Keselowski’s ‘400 win in 2016, the race winners of this summer race finished 20th (Keselowski), 31st (Ricky Stenhouse Jr.), 36th (Erik Jones), X (Justin Haley), 40th (William Byron), 30th (Ryan Blaney) and 25th (Dillon).
  • The season sweep trend continues – Only 5 drivers have ever swept the 2 annual Daytona Cup races. The last 2 occurring in 1982 and 2013. Austin Cindric was 2 spots shy of doing so this year.
  • The summer back-to-back trend continues – Only 5 times too has someone won 2 straight ‘400s. Ryan Blaney doesn’t make it happen this year either.
DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA – AUGUST 28: Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 A SHOC Chevrolet, Harrison Burton, driver of the #21 Dex Imaging Ford, Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, race during the NASCAR Cup Series Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway on August 28, 2022 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)
  • Austin Dillon’s win no fluke – He has 2 top 2 finishes in 3 combined Daytona or Talladega starts this season.
  • The season sweep trend continues – Only 5 drivers have ever swept the 2 annual Daytona Cup races. The last 2 occurring in 1982 and 2013. Austin Cindric was 2 spots shy of doing so this year.
  • The summer back-to-back trend continues – Only 5 times too has someone won 2 straight ‘400s. Ryan Blaney doesn’t make it happen this year either.
  • Only 1 Daytona pole winner has won here since 2011 (Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2016).
  • None of the last 12 points paying Daytona races were won by a series champion.
  • There’s been 13 different winners now in the last 13 Coke Zero Sugar 400’s.
  • Each of the last 14 Daytona winners started 5th on back (Austin Dillon started 21st).
  • In all 3 combined Stage 1s of Daytona/Talladega this year, the race winner didn’t score stage points in either of them.
  • In all 3 Stage 2’s of Daytona/Talladega this year, the race winner was 6th (500), 9th (Talladega), 10th (Coke Zero Sugar 400).
  • RCR may have went 1-2 but there were 7 different teams represented in the top 8 of the final finishing order.
  • Underdogs shined –  Jeremy Clements Racing, MBM Motorsports, Brandonbuilt Motorsports, Alpine Prime Racing and JD Motorsports were each found in the top 6 of the finishing order in the Wawa 250. For the Coke Zero Sugar 400, it was Spire, Beard Motorsports, Rick Ware Racing (2 cars) and Live Fast making up 5 of the top 8 finishers.

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