On The Gas, On The Brakes From Daytona

(Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images)

Fireworks, coming together in big packs and lots of smoke. And that is just the party in my back yard. The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series stars would go on to emulate that party in Daytona for their annual 4th of July spectacular at Daytona International Speedway.

On The Gas…

5) JTG Daugherty Racing – It hasn’t been the season this team has wanted, but a great equalizer of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season are those pesky restrictor plates. For Chris Buescher and AJ Allmendinger, those metal plates were friends this weekend at Daytona allowing the pair to settle in to the top ten for a nice holiday surprise.

4) Corey LaJoie – His dad, Former Xfinity champion Randy Lajoie told Corey, just finish where the car allows you. That advice has helped LaJoie finish races and nearly score his first MENCS top top. Avoid the carnage, bring it home in one piece and you’ll have a good day. An 11th, for this rookie was a great day.

3) Brendan Gaughan – With only a handful of races on the Cup schedule and an Xfinity career that may be winding down, making the most of every opportunity is critical. Gaughan gave his Beard Family team a solid 11th place finish in February and topped that off with a 7th place finish.

2) Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – Stenhouse has slowly become one of the best restrictor place racers in the series and showed it again late in the Coke Zero 400 with a strong run under David Ragan to secure his second win of the 2017 campaign.

1) Michael McDowell – Driving for the underfunded Lavine Family Racing team, McDowell continues to help this team thrive and puts them in contention when they show up for these plate races. McDowell brought his No. 95 Ford home with a very popular 4th place finish.

Like some many plate races before, you have the guys that are smiling at the end of the day, and others that want to hide their head in the sandy beaches of Daytona.

On The Brakes…

5) Joe Gibbs Racing – When the best you can show for a weekend is one stage win among the four cars, you may be looking forward to another event. As one of your drivers once said–“At a real race track.” Good thing it’s an odd numbered year for Joe Gibbs Racing heading to Kentucky.

4) Martin Truex Jr. – Even the best in the business occasionally hit a speed bump. For Truex, that speed bump was in the form of a bright yellow No. 22 Ford running in the high line after the 18 spun in front of them.

3) Joey Logano  – Speed bump–Logano was hit from every angle after Kyle Busch blew a tire and spun in front of the field running in the high line and triggering the big one.

2) Danica Patrick – Another solid run going, another crash not of her own doing and she pulls a “Harry Hogg” and kicks the quarter panel of the car on pit road. Now they have to fix all of the corners.

1) Dale Earnhardt Jr. – All of the hype, all of the expctations, and bad luck once again strikes NASCAR’s most popular driver. Earnhardt had a tire go down early, hits the wall, battles back from two laps down and is giving the fans something to enjoy, then boom Harvick blows a tire and triggers a second big one and finishing off Dale’s big night.

With half of the field crashed at Daytona, we can only hope the drivers got it all out of their system as we head to Kentucky where turn three has no friends and doesn’t like to play nice.

Stephen Conley

If it races, I'll write about it, talk about it or shoot it with a camera.

I began pursuing a career in motorsports journalism immediately after attending college at Kent State University. I have hosted multiple Motorsports talk shows, worked in Country Music radio, and now i spend every day on the air in the morning with 1300 and 100.9 WMVO and in the afternoons watching the roadways around Central Ohio for 93.7 WQIO.

The excitement and the fans make everything I put out there worth while, it's been an exciting 15 years having covered everything from the Daytona 500 to the Rolex 24 and you can find me at pretty much any event run at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

What I like to bring is a look behind the scenes, a look at what and who makes the sport grow. From the guy that welds pieces back at the shop to the host in the tv booth.

Everyone has a story and I like to tell it. My main focus here at TPF is looking at the men and women behind the microphone and cameras.

My life long goal is to become a member of MRN or PRN Radio and bring the races to you. I hope that what I share now is enjoyable and gives you a unique look in to the world of motorsports.

See you at a track soon

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