As the summer season heats up, so does the action on the track as the Monster Energy Nascar Cup Series makes it’s 2nd trip back to the famous Daytona International Speedway for Saturday nights Coke Zero Sugar 400. This latest installment of the 4th of July weekend tradition boasts alot of new questions as this will be the 1st time the cars will run around the 2.5 mile superspeedway without the use of restrictor plates to slow down the cars. During the off-season, NASCAR mandated the use of tapered spacers and a longer spoiler to try and slow the cars down at Daytona and Talladega. Saturday’s race will also mark the last time NASCAR will be at the famed high bank track in July as the sport announced earlier in the year that Daytona and the world Famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway will be swapping spots in 2020. Indy will be the new 4th of July weekend race and Daytona will become the regular season finale.
Wild Card race.
It’s hard to pick anybody when you talk about racing at Daytona because of the constant side by side battles and that chance for the “Big One” that’s why Daytona and Talladega are always considered wild card races as it tends to even out the playing field.
Nascar lengthens stages.
Nascar announced yesterday that it would lengthens the stages in Saturday’s race. Stage 1&2 will be 10 laps longer. Stage 1 will now end at lap 50 and Stage 2 will end at lap 100 making the final stage a 60 lap sprint to the end. Race is scheduled for 160 laps.
Who to watch for.
1) Chase Elliott
Chase is the most recent superspeedway winner having won earlier in the year at Talladega you can bet he will be eager to get a points paying win at Daytona and put the Elliott name back into victory lane at the famed track.
2) Brad Keselowski
It’s hard not to pick Brad as a favorite, as he’s has been one of the most dominate “Plate” drivers in recent years. His average finish of 19th isn’t bad, but you can bet Brad will want his Miller Lite Ford in victory lane at the end of the night.
4) Any of the Stewart Haas drivers.
The biggest surprise of the season is the fact that none of the SHR drivers have visited victory lane this season. Kevin Harvick has come close so many times this year but hasn’t sealed the deal due to late race issues or troubles on pit road. Clint Bowyer and Daniel Suarez have also had great runs this year but like Harvick, have had late race issues.
Location: Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach Florida
Race time: 7:30 pm EST (NBC, NBCSports App, MRN Radio, SiriusXM Nascar Radio channel 90)
Race Length 400 miles (160 laps)
Stage 1 50 laps (1-50)
Stage 2 50 laps (50-100)
Stage 3 (100-160)