OBSERVATIONS: NASCAR Racing Experience 300 at Daytona International Speedway

After the complete chaos experienced with the NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series, there were high hopes for the NASCAR Xfinity Series to deliver an exciting event on Saturday. Oh boy were we wrong.

The majority of the NASCAR Racing Experience 300 at Daytona International Speedway was ran in a single-file line along the top groove of the track, the same thing that we saw in the Gander Outdoor Duels and the Advance Auto Parts Clash.

As the laps counted down, nobody even chose to drop out of line and make a move – even through the final five circuits. The only driver whom tried to make something happen throughout the event – Chase Elliott, the same driver who tried to make a move happen and was met with failure in the Duels, as well. The decision to try and attempt to make things exciting ultimately bit him as he only scored a 10th-place finish after running 20th with 15 laps to go.

Needless to say, it was a boring afternoon of racing.

The resulting style of racing is something that’s probably welcomed by the team owners, as they’ll once be able to take home all the cars without much damage. However, it presented a huge letdown to the fans following the exciting finish last year that saw Tyler Reddick just edge out his teammate Elliott Sadler for the victory.

The only difference between the two seasons in the package is the new composite body. While it may not have meant much in the end, it could be what caused the racing we witnessed today.

However, it doesn’t explain why the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers did the same thing, as well.

Could we be seeing drivers be ultra conservative, and perhaps trapping themselves in a hole with nowhere to go due to the momentum of the single-file lane? That’s quite possible, too,

Either way, it doesn’t give you much hope for Sunday’s Daytona 500 as if the Xfinity drivers didn’t make it exciting for the stages and the checkered, what makes you think they will in the Cup Series now? Maybe it’s best if you just tune in for the closing stages of the Daytona 500 rather than watch the whole thing and end up falling asleep. Or maybe we could be wrong.

No matter the package, though, JR Motorsports has opened the door how they did last year with a one-two finish at Daytona as Michael Annett led the way for Justin Allgaier. It’s an interesting dynamic as just like last year, it’s the JRM driver least expected to visit victory lane of the four teammates (Annett) pacing the championship favorite (Allgaier). We all knew that last year, Reddick used the comfort of having the win in the bank to grow and make the late season charge to take the title.

Will Annett and Travis Mack be able to do the same thing together?


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By Ashley McCubbin

Currently the Executive Editor for Popular Speed, Ashley McCubbin also runs Short Track Musings, while handling media relations for OSCAAR. Currently living in Bradford, Ontario, she spends her weekend at the local short tracks in the area taking photos.