The Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway came to an unfortunate end for Dale Earnhardt Jr. when his No. 88 Chevrolet was taken out on the 107th lap by Kevin Harvick and his No. 4 Ford, after the latter driver experienced a tire failure and impacted the wall. This being Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s final year of full-time competition, many had entered the race with higher hopes for the driver, who’s had an impressive 17 career wins at Daytona.
“There was a ton of buildup with this being our last Daytona,” said Earnhardt. “I was going crazy today with all the media talking about this being our last Daytona… We’ll be back next weekend. I know a lot of people thought this was our best shot to win but we’ll have a little more fuel to work hard and try to win at these other race tracks we go to. We’ll work hard to make it happen.”
Earlier in the race, Earnhardt had been two laps down after an impact with the wall about a quarter of the way through the race. But by the time of the accident, Earnhardt had managed to land on the lead lap, and fought his way back into the top five
After the race, which went into overtime following a backstretch collision on lap 162, one Chevrolet driver landed on the podium in third: Paul Menard, No. 22, of Richard Childress Racing. Chevrolet driver Michael McDowell (No. 95) of Leavine Family Racing finished close behind in fourth, and Ryan Newman (No. 31), also of Richard Childress Racing, placed fifth. Two Ford drivers – Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (No. 17, Roush Fenway) and Clint Bowyer (No. 14, Stewart-Haas Racing) claimed first and second.
The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup calendar is the Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway next Saturday.