This week's view was smoky in more ways than one. Tony 'Smoke' Stewart led the most laps and won the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona on the Fourth of July. And we had plenty of on track fireworks to celebrate our nation's birthday as well.
Throw in a couple of the now standard, 'big ones', and this race was rockin'. All night long. Even the very best of the best drivers in the world was Kryptonited.
Checkered Flag....Goes to Tony Stewart. He led the most laps, and looked to have the fastest car all night. His pit crew was also the very best on this night. Time after time, they got him out ahead of everyone else. TNT network's Wide Open coverage of the race was outstanding! If NASCAR or any other networks care, or want to improve ratings....THIS is how you do it! Sadly, the ratings for this race won't reflect true appreciation, as the race was televised while millions of race fans were watching fireworks away from their TVs.
Green Flags....Denny Hamlin finished third, and didn't run much lower than that all night. Jimmie Johnson was second and was in the top four most of the race. Kurt Busch was top five most of the night and finished fifth. Marcos Ambrose (6), Brian Vickers (7) had decent finishes as they were also helped by the wreck on the last lap.
Yellow Flags....NASCAR's famous mystery debris caution at the end of the race. "Lets bunch all the cars back up and have a short shootout....and another 'big one'! We'll be sure to make the first half of Sports Center if we do that...again!" I guess we're going to be stuck with that script until someone famous gets hurt.
Black Flags....Did anyone think that Hamlin had two wheels completely under the yellow line? And was not forced down there? And that he improved his postion? Yeah, me too. Wally and KP sure danced around it while wondering if NASCAR would let any driver not named Jr get away with something so blatent. Surprise, they did!
Red Flag.....Blocking. I don't like it anywhere, but it is ridiculous at the plate tracks. Kyle Busch paid a hell of a price with his last lap blocking Saturday night. Carl Edwards paid even more doing the same thing in the last plate race. I'm not sure what NASCAR can do to curb it, but I'll be watching closely to see if Kyle and Carl are gun shy about blocking the next time.