Restrictor plate racing can be described as a style where even the teams that aren’t expected to do well can actually steal a victory. It’s a form of racing where trust is more about who is racing in front, behind, and beside rather than at the wheel.
These days, determining who is a place ace has become a challenge, as each year it’s expanding to different teams, different drivers, and even different strategies.
Saturday night’s strategy was one word…survive.
When many of the heavy favorites fell out in the melee during the second stage, the cream of the crop suddenly was slashed quite a bit. The favorites heading in suddenly were left with wrecked vehicles and the teams that were just hanging on for solid days now could steal some thunder and possibly a victory.
When it was said and done, a driver who just saw his first victory two months ago, used his experience then to time out the winning move to get his second.
Ford is now 3-for-3 at plate tracks, because Ricky Stenhouse Jr. took another fast car, one he requested, to victory lane. His playoff future in 2017 is solidified, and when it comes time for the final plate race in the Playoffs, he’s gone from being not a factor to the man to beat.
As for the participants, nearly the entire field wishes this weekend didn’t happen. With the exception of the two at the top, everyone else had a subpar race, including many DNF’s. Take a look at the new standings after a long, hot, and grueling Coke Zero 400:
Rob Tiongson (600) Clint Bowyer finished 2nd –  7
Ashley Hobbs (583) Clint Bowyer finished 2nd –  13
Misan Akuya (564) Jamie McMurray finished 14th –  15
Ashley Hull (529) Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 32nd –  12
Penny Whitecotton (528) Kevin Harvick finished 33rd –  6
Billy Fellin (524) Chase Elliott finished 22nd –  9
Patti Rodisch (512) Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 32nd –  14
Rob Blount (498) Martin Truex Jr. finished 34th –  3
Sal Sigala Jr. (492) Brad Keselowski finished 31st –  10
Dalton Hastings (487) Jimmie Johnson finished 12th –  3
Ashley McCubbin (476) Jamie McMurray finished 14th –  4
Klarissa Mitchell (476) Jamie McMurray finished 14th –  0
Dustin Parks (462) Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 32nd –  8
Next Race: Hoping to bounce back from a rough week thanks to what has always been a tough style of racing to predict, the participants are ready to head to a track that has seen a lot of competition, and a lot of testing over the last couple seasons. This place has tested a pair of possible aerodynamic packages to get to where the Gen-6 car is today, with low downforce and a lot of driver input.
Normally known for horsepower on the clay at Churchill Downs, this time it’s the Kentucky Speedway awaiting NASCAR’s finest.
It’s another fine night under the lights, hopefully where the fire is on the track rather than in the parking lot. Last season a few fans had to find a different way to get home from the track when one vehicle caught fire and scorched a few parked nearby. Not exactly how some envisioned their trip to a race.
Hopefully the participants don’t light their own fire. But, the author will provide some ignition in order to have the picks submitted by Thursday, July 6, at 10 p.m. ET for the Quaker State 400.