My Week

July 05, 2015

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Who'scomingto Daytona for the Coke Zero 400 with a full tank, who needs a splash, and who's running on fumes? SATURDAY, JULY 4, 2015 SECTION F FUEL FINISH THE TO NEWS-JOURNAL A D A Y T O N A B E A C H S P E C I A L S E C T I O N T hescheduletellsustheseasonisn'thalfwayoveruntilthecheckeredflagfallsnextweekat Kentucky, marking the 18th checkered flag in a 36-race Sprint Cup season. But tradition — which basically means your Uncle Ed and his buddies at the bait shop — dic- tates that the second visit to Daytona International Speedway marks the halfway point of each NASCAR season. And that, of course, means it's time for the mid-season report. The new Chase format, introduced last year, basically took away a lot of what we'd normally know at this point of the season. Just when you think you have the outlook nailed, someone can win a race in late summer and suddenly become part of the 10-race playoffs. Under the old format, Kyle Busch would have no shot at the 2015 championship. Same for a guy like Ryan Newman, too. Not nowadays. Still, though, 17 races into the season, trends have developed, and as expected, major roles are being played by the foursome above: Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, Jimmie Johnson and Junior Earnhardt. Still, surprises are possible (hey, Newman almost won last year's championship without winning a race!), but by and large, we have a decent idea of who's got the juice (or, in this case, Sunoco fuel) to get to the championship finale in Homestead, who needs a bit of the ol' "Gas-n-Go," and who needs to start feathering that throttle in an effort to reach the intended destination. 0002141929

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