DriveSmart Sponsors J.J. Yeley in Daytona for NASCAR Cup Series
DriveSmart Sponsors J.J. Yeley in Daytona for NASCAR Cup Series
There’s no better time for a NASCAR race than Fourth of July weekend, and DriveSmart was right in the center of it all in Daytona for the speed and spectacle taking place. DriveSmart had a pretty big stake in this race as they sponsored J.J. Yeley’s #52 Ford Mustang in the Coke Zero Sugar 400. All weekend long, the DriveSmart team was there to meet the crew, officials, fans, and NASCAR teams at this iconic American event.
DriveSmart Joins Rick Ware Racing: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
The race kicked off on Sunday, July 7th, at 1:00 PM at Daytona International Speedway. DriveSmart president Dan Rodd and his team arrived on Independence Day to meet the Rick Ware Racing team and prepare for this installment of the 2019 Monster Energy Nascar Cup Series. Rodd said of the NASCAR racing experience, “The team performed extremely well. The whole pit crew was excellent and J.J. Yeley drove smart; with great talent and professionalism.”
When asked about the work he witnessed behind the scenes, Rodd stated, “Watching the NASCAR officials work was amazing; they’re very rigorous. If a car is touched in any way prior to race time, it must be thoroughly reinspected before it is allowed to perform.” He went on to express his gratitude and joy in being permitted to sit with the crew chief during the race, carry equipment to the pit, and stand in line at the flag ceremony with Yeley.
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NASCAR Daytona: Coke Zero 400
The NASCAR qualifying lineup for Sunday was set by owner points, as inclement weather prevented a qualifying race to take place. Joey Logano and Kyle Busch were awarded the lead at the starting line. J.J. Yeley drew position 37. The main event was also rescheduled from Saturday evening to Sunday afternoon due to the weather.
Race Day: Race Condition
Due to the troublesome weather of the days preceding, the race track had become quite slick. Throughout the race, NASCAR announcers would question the drivers’ decisions to forego the option to change their tires. Nevertheless, each race car driver (and their team) had a strategy for victory.
Daytona Race: NASCAR Race Day
Stage 1: Logano Pulls Ahead Daytona 400
As the green flag came out, Joey Logano pushed out into lead position trailed by Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski. The Ford drivers lead the race for most of stage 1; holding the first nine positions by lap 30. As the train of Fords struggles to control the bottom lane due to tire wear, Logano leads the group to the outside lane. When, in lap 36, a train of Chevrolets begins to close in on the inside lane, Logano moves back down to protect the lead.
By lap 37, Logano realises he and the other Fords need to hit pit road and, on lap 38, all other drivers follow suit. However, not a single one of the race cars changes tires. Denny Hamlin, in the #11 car, nearly wrecks with Kyle Busch while attempting to pit.
The group of Chevrolets holds the lead briefly in lap 38 until the Fords catch up in the outside lane. Lead by Harvick, the whole train of Fords pulls ahead. The team of Chevys keeps control of the inside lane, lead by Chase Elliott. With three laps to go in stage 1, the inside line falls back due to worn tires.
In the final lap, Harvick moves to the inside lane, followed by Logano. Utilizing power from a bump by Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Logano pulls ahead to take first position and win stage 1.
Stage 2: Busch Spins Stenhouse Daytona 400
As the green flag comes out, Stenhouse leads on the outside lane with Elliott falling back after being pushed behind by the Fords. At Lap 58, Stenhouse drops to the inside lane to block Busch at turn four. At this point, Busch connects to the rear of Stenhouse’s car; spinning him backward into the grass. This starts a caution period.
Busch hits wall Lap 76
The car racing continues as Chase Elliott pushes Austin Dillon on the inside lane. Clint Bowyer pushes the #12 car on the outside to pull up even with the bottom lane. At lap 76, Busch connects with the wall on the outside lane, blows a tire, and spins out; resulting in a caution.
During lap 82, Harvick Pushes Keselowski into the outside wall. Harvick grinds against the wall and two other cars are caught up in what amounts to be a minor NASCAR crash. A caution is issued.
As rain approaches the race car track, it is announced that if the race cannot be continued after stage 2, results will be official.
With 5 laps remaining, Bowyer takes the lead with Stenhouse on his bumper. Austin Dillon controls the bottom lane and pulls ahead to take the win at the finish of stage 2.
By Lap 111, Logano pulls even to lead with Dillon and pulls down to side draft him. Denny Hamlin goes to lane three to drop Logano behind. Hamlin takes the lead into turn one.
In lap 118, Dillon comes out from behind Hamlin in attempt to squeeze into the lead, but his tail end catches the nose end of Bowyer’s car as they pull into the front.
The “Big One” Strikes Late at Daytona
As Dillon attempts to move into first position, he connects with Bowyer’s car. Both drivers lose control of their race cars; resulting in half of the cars on the Daytona race track taking serious damage in what turned out to be the largest of the race car crashes in this event.
J.J. Yeley expertly navigated through the wreckage scattered ahead of him. Before the damaged vehicles and debris are cleared from the track, Yeley takes clear advantage of the situation with smart and fast racing. The caution is issued and the pace car comes out.
NASCAR shuts the lights out on the pace car. There are concerns about the storm clouds getting close to the race course. Yeley makes it to 2nd position with two laps to go, but decides to head to the pit lane along with some other drivers for new tires.
Justin Haley is in first position for the restart. Before the green flag goes up, there is a lightning strike seven miles from the track that forces NASCAR to ultimately end the race. Yeley lands in position 12 with the DriveSmart car.
DriveSmart’s Nascar Experience
Everyone on the DriveSmart team was grateful to have Yeley behind the wheel of the DriveSmart car; particularly during the big crash. Few drivers could have avoided as many cars that had suddenly stopped and spread in front of a vehicle moving as fast as Yeley’s Ford.
When asked about Yeley’s decision to pit before the race ended, DriveSmart’s Dan Rodd said, “It was the right move to put the team in the best position for the last 30 laps. The fickle weather made strategic choices more difficult for all the drivers, but, were the race to continue, J.J.Yeley made the best call he could make.”
The NASCAR race Sunday was the final race to be held on Fourth of July weekend at the Daytona International Speedway. The DriveSmart team felt truly honored to be a part of NASCAR history in this regard. Dan Rodd is optimistic about DriveSmart’s future with NASCAR, stating, “This was the starting point to really expand our wings and be a presence at future NASCAR events. It’s a fantastic thing to be a part of. There’s no bigger fan than a NASCAR fan.”
Rodd also extended thanks and appreciation to Rick Ware Racing for having “one of the most beautifully wrapped cars out there…”
If you have a need for speed, NASCAR always has you covered. Watching a NASCAR live race or televised event is the best way to get the high-octane action you need. The NASCAR official site is the best place for race results, information on famous NASCAR drivers, and the NASCAR schedule.
NASCAR fans can also watch a full race, NASCAR highlights, and interviews at NASCAR Youtube. For everything you need in the world of auto racing today, NASCAR is the place for you.
DriveSmart wishes to extend it’s thanks to NASCAR, J.J. Yeley, and Rick Ware Racing. Remember to stay ahead of repair issues on your vehicle before they get out of hand. Repair bills on cars are higher now than they’ve ever been. A reliable protection plan on your car will ensure that your money stays in your pocket. Whether you’re driving on the race track or on the roadways of America, drive safe, drive smooth, and drive smart.