The three NASCAR races on the road course at Daytona last weekend have to be considered encouraging for the Brickyard 400 later in the year.

The Xfinity and Cup races went down to the final push for the checkers, with pit and tire strategy at a premium.

All three races were exciting, and it was quite a weekend for Joe Gibbs Racing — winning the Truck, Xfinity and Cup races.

I have long been an advocate for running the Brickyard 400 on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, and so I’m anxious to see how the race plays out.

The IMS road course produced a good race last year for the Xfinity teams and should prove to do the same for the Cup Series.

What has become an impressive fact with the increase in the NASCAR schedules in recent years of road courses has been how the regular drivers have stepped up their game.

It wasn’t that long ago NASCAR teams would bring in a driver with road course experience to try and grab a win on a road course.

Undoubtedly, the most impressive drives of the weekend were Ty Gibbs winning in his first Xfinity race start and Christopher Bell winning the Cup race.

Entering Sunday’s race, it was anticipated the race would come down to a shootout between Chase Elliott and Martin Truex Jr.

After both Elliott and Truex had their misfortunes, it was Bell on newer tires that was able to pass Joey Logano for the victory.

The victories by Bell and by Michael McDowell in the Daytona 500 assure those two drivers of a spot in the championship series.

Those victories were unexpected, so the speculation will start on which driver and team fails to make the field of 16 for the championship chase.

At this early stage of the season, it would appear that to earn a spot in the Chase is going to take a victory.

All it will take to shake up the Chase field is for another unexpected winner or two in the remainder of the season.

IN OTHER RACING NEWS

The ARCA Menards Series will be at Five Flags Speedway this weekend along with the Vores Compact Touring Series.

As of Tuesday, Anderson’s Greg VanAlst is not entered for the ARCA race, but former Anderson Speedway McGunegill Engine Performance Late Model champion Zachary Tinkle will look to make his first ARCA start.

There are only 15 entries for the ARCA event, which is disappointing.

I don’t know how many Vores teams will make the trip to Florida, but it will certainly be more than 15 and more likely above 30.

It could be the better race of the weekend at Five Flags.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.

Trending Video

Senior Reporter covering Anderson and Madison County government, politics and auto racing for The Herald Bulletin. Has been working as a journalist in central Indiana since 1977.