Dale Earnhardt Jr. emerged as the winner of the Coke Zero 400 early Monday morning after a long and dramatic weekend at Daytona. Much of the weekend’s NASCAR festivities were marred with rain, including the Sprint Cup race, which was delayed three hours and concluded at 2:41 a.m. ET.
The race saw nine caution flags and four multi-car crashes, with 43 of the 160 laps being run under yellow flags. Earnhardt Jr. dominated the night, leading a total of 96 laps in his No. 88 Chevy before taking the win under a green white checker flag. It was his fourth career victory at Daytona and his second of the year, with the first coming in round 1 of the Budweiser Duel in February.
“I had a lot of fun tonight,” Earnhardt said post-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.”
Earnhardt’s win was somewhat overshadowed by Austin Dillon’s huge wreck, which happened as the cars crossed the finish line on the final lap. Dillon’s No. 3 Chevy caught air and was tossed up into the catch fence, injuring five fans and raising questions about safety in NASCAR.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Kentucky Speedway next weekend for the NSCS Quaker State 400 presented by Advance Auto Parts. It will the second night race in a row for the Sprint Cup Series, with the race scheduled to go green at 7:30 p.m. ET.