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Wild card Daytona is anyone's race to win

July 03, 2014, Staff report, NASCAR Wire Service,

Being in the right place at the right time has put many drivers in Daytona's Victory Lane

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Daytona. Sonoma. Talladega. Watkins Glen. Those four tracks, scattered across the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regular season schedule, offer a unique opportunity under the new 'win-and-in' rules for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. 

They're all wild cards, with an almost unending list of potential winners.

That theory especially holds true at Daytona and Talladega – the series' two restrictor plate tracks – which boast an abundance of surprise winners (see: Trevor Bayne and David Ragan).


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Tony Stewart explains, as the series heads to Daytona for the Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola (7:30 p.m. ET on TNT).

"Someone described racing on the superspeedways as being a combination of a science project and the luck of a casino, and it's exactly that way," Stewart said. "You do everything in your power to take care of the science or technology side. You do everything you can to build the fastest car. If you don't have the luck to go with it -- even if you don't have any drama with getting the car touched, nothing happens to the car -- if you're just in the wrong spot at the wrong time, it can take you out of the opportunity to take the best race car in the field and win." 

Right place, right time. That's how Bayne won the 2011 Daytona 500. And how Ragan nabbed the July Daytona victory a few months later. 

This year, maybe more than any, it's exponentially more important to be in the right place at the right time. It will likely mean a spot in NASCAR's playoffs.

A win could belong to Ragan -- a winner at both Daytona and Talladega -- come Saturday night. 

"It's been good to me over the years," said Ragan. "I go with an open attitude. I know that anything can happen. I know that you can get in a wreck early of someone else's making. But I also know that if you play your cards right and you have a good strategy, you have a shot to win."


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