William Byron raced his way into the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, scoring his first victory in the regular-season finale in overtime at Daytona International Speedway as Matt DiBenedetto claimed the last berth in the 16-driver postseason field.
Byron led 24 of the 164 laps in the Coke Zero Sugar 400, his No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet securing a .119-second margin of victory at the checkered flag.
Hendrick teammate Chase Elliott wrapped up second place in the No. 9 Chevrolet. Denny Hamlin took third place with Martin Truex Jr. fourth and Bubba Wallace finishing out the top-five spots.
Clint Bowyer, who entered the race with a virtual lock on a playoff berth, made it official after Stage 1. That left two spots remaining for Byron and DiBenedetto to seal their postseason eligibility, denying seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson — who wound up as the first driver out of the playoff picture.
An 11-car crash with two laps remaining in regulation snared Johnson’s No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet in the carnage. He continued to finish on the lead lap in 17th-place but wound up just short of the playoff field.
Another pile-up that preceded it forced another red flag with eight laps remaining in regulation, eliminating contenders Kyle and Kurt Busch, Erik Jones, Austin Dillon and others. Rookie Tyler Reddick triggered the melee with a sliding block of Kyle Busch that stacked up the field off Turn 4.
Joey Logano swept Stage 1 and 2, adding two playoff points to his total. His No. 22 Ford was ultimately halted in the same pile-up that claimed Johnson.
THE FRATERNAL ORDER OF THE GO FAST
Not a single player was riding shotgun with William Byron this week. So I will polish this thing up, stow this award back into the closet, and have it all shiny for next week.
THE MOVERS AND THE SHAKERS
The Coke Zero 400 usually really produces some very wide variances in scores for the players because the nature of the beast, aka restrictor plate racing and its ultimate production…….“The Big One”! However, there was a couple of “The Big Ones” at Daytona but it was not so catastrophic this time around. You will see that the single microscopic scores didn’t come in abundance to visit many of the players this time around!
As mentioned in the “Go Fast” paragraph above, none of the players had ultimate leap of faith this weekend and they did not bet the farm on William Byron. So the huge numbers didn’t come to roost in any one player’s buckets, either. However, Amber The Extremely Lucky Cheddar Head, Jim, aka Chiefy, and Carole, aka Rudy, were riding with MTJ, Martin Truex, Jr., at Daytona and racked up a very cool 42 points for their evening.
Slotting themselves into the second best scoring group Saturday night was the the very unlikely quartet that includes Dan The Numbers Cruncher, Snoopy Dawn, Carlton The Doorman, and Leon The Benevolent and Most Humble Sheriff. All four players were overtly cheering to victory the three time Daytona 500 Champ, The Delivernator! Throughout the 400 mile race Denny Hamlin was up in the front pack, continually keeping himself in a position to snatch victory from his fellow drivers.
Meanwhile, Jeremy The Coach sat all alone in his Chameleon filled apartment cheering for Bowman The Showman to slip through and log another come from behind victory. That was not to happen Saturday night, but Alex Bowman did reel off a 7th place finish for The Coach, while allowing him to add 30 points to his 3rd segment totals.
Checking in as the fourth best score for the evening was the tandem of Bernie The Bay Area Bandit and Edie The Las Vegas Super Star. I must blow the whistle now! Whenever these two ladies band together you just never know what the heck will happen! At least one of them is very sneaky and always warrants watching! Sorry for the digression, but I felt that it was well worth mentioning at this point! Nevertheless, these two ladies banded together in their support for Freaky Fast Kevin Harvick. This was not one of Harvick’s best outings this year, he could only muster a 20th place finish. So when the checkered flag fell at Daytona La Bandita and The Vegas Super Star tucked away 17 points into their totals
Rounding out the top five scorers is the only player that I have not written about so far. Linda The Cookie Mom did not have a particularly splendid Saturday evening! Although she is in the top five scorers, she was only able to deposit a single digit, five (5) myopic points to her totals. In any other time over the last fifteen years a pick of Kyle Busch would be a guarantee that you were going to be among the highest scorers for any particular race. However, in 2020 ol Rowdy cannot seem to fine the location of Victory Lane and any race track! He continues to draw a goose egg in the wins department this year. This week ol Rowdy could only muster up a 33rd place finish!
Speaking of The Cookie Mom’s fall from grace at Daytona, she happens to be the biggest mover of the week! The Cookie Mom did so poorly this week with her Rowdy pick that she dropped like a hot potato in the standings! She plummeted six (6) spots to crash land in 8th place this week. The NTSB was notified of her extremely hard landing and after their investigation noted that there was no known major injuries in that crash site, just extremely bruised egos!
Once again Amber The Extremely Lucky Cheddar Head seems to be doing exceptionally well. The luck of this lady just seems, at times, too good to be true! Just when we all thought that she may have began to run out of rabbit’s foots, three leaf clovers, and the like, she busts off another high moving weekend. The Cheddar Head stepped up four (4) spots at Daytona with her choice of MTJ, landing her squarely in 2nd place this week!
Likewise Jim, aka Chiefy, rose to the occasion at Daytona. Ol Chiefy steeped up his game and his position on the scoring pylon three (3) places to hold down the 6th place.
The. very unlikely duo of Jeremy The Coach and Edie The Las Vegas Super Star hold down the fourth highest movers. Both of these players dropped two (2) spots to now reside in the 5th and 10th places, respectively.
Lastly, there is a threesome that just picked up and moved next door. Snoopy Dawn, her roommate Carlton The Doorman, as well as Carole, aka Rudy, all climbed up one position in the leaderboard this week. These three hard chargers now rest in 3rd, 4th, and 9th, respectively.
STRAIGHT FROM THE CRAPPER
With her single digit score of just five (5) points this week, Linda The Cookie Mom wins this award, hands down! The Redneck Fantasy League gladly presents The Crappiest Pick of The Week to none other than Linda The Cookie Mom!
Equally as triumphant this week is our resident accountant, Dan The Numbers Cruncher. It appears that The Numbers Dude, who has been the occupant of The Outhouse for the last couple of weeks, may have taken a likening to that facility because he does not seem wiling nor capable of extricating himself from said abode! So once again he is looking up to all of the rest of the fantasy league.
Next week NASCAR rolls in Darlington, SC, for it traditional Labor Day. weekend Southern 500. That will be the last race on our 2nd segment page, and currently The Cheddar Head has a 17 point lead of the field in that segment.
Does anybody in the fantasy league wish for an early exit for Denny Hamlin at Darlington? (I am asking for a friend!)
TIL NEXT TIME, PULL YOUR BELTS TIGHT AND LET’S GO RACIN’!