Several looking for first restrictor plate
NASCAR returns to Daytona Beach, Florida this week.
By Dominic Aragon
July 1, 2014
When the green flag drops on Saturday night’s Coke Zero 400 at Daytona, several Cup veterans will be aiming to capture their first points-paying checkered flag at a restrictor plate track.
Kurt Busch, Carl Edwards, and Kasey Kahne, all established drivers on the circuit, have yet to win a regular season race at Daytona or Talladega.
Coming into Daytona, Busch’s No. 41 team has posted four finishes of 13th or better, and has climbed one spot in points in that four race span.
“We’ve found some consistency, which is a good thing, but we need to take that next step,” said Busch, who finished 12th Saturday at Kentucky.
“We’ve visited four very different tracks the last four weeks and come back with decent finishes inside the top-15, but I think we’d love to start seeing more of those top-5 finishes or wins. We are working on it and finding new things each week, so hopefully that breakthrough is right around the corner.”
Photo by NASCAR Via Getty Images
Danica Patrick leads the field at Talladega in May. Patrick's teammate, Kurt Busch, is winless at Daytona and Talladega in his 54 points-paying races.
Busch, who has finished second in the Daytona 500 three times, is 0-for-54 at restrictor plate tracks.
Edwards enters Daytona sixth in points, with two wins and a ticket punched to the post-season.
Edwards has posted a career-best two second place finishes at Daytona, including runner-up to Trevor Bayne in the 2011 Daytona 500.
Although he is 0-for-39 at the restrictor plate tracks, Edwards will likely have a shot at a good finish, if not the win, Saturday night. Plus, Edwards snapped his dry spell of not winning at a road course event this season last week at Sonoma.
For Kahne, the Hendrick Motorsports driver heads into Daytona on the outside looking in. Sitting 15th in the point standings, eight points back of the Chase cutoff, Kahne has scored three consecutive top-ten finishes, including an eighth place run Saturday at Kentucky.
“We battled hard,” Kahne said. “I had to fight we had some damage when [Jamie McMurray] stopped when another car was spinning. I couldn’t get stopped I hit him, the No. 43 [of Aric Almirola] hit him, just too many cars in one spot on the road.
“We had a bad pit stop at the end that put us 18th and got back to eighth so I was really happy with the speed of our Great Clips Chevy just too many errors if you want to run up front.”
Although he’s won a Daytona twin qualifier, Kahne’s best finish at Daytona is a second place effort at the 2010 July race.
Kahne is 0-for-42 at the restrictor plate races, and remains winless 17 races into 2014, but a win Saturday will ensure his spot in the Chase.