NASCAR Pre-Race Media: Coke Zero Sugar 400 (7 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN) Track Trends

TRACK: Daytona International Speedway. DISTANCE: 160 Laps — STAGE 1: 50 Laps, STAGE 2: 50 Laps, FINAL STAGE: 60 Laps, MILES (400 Miles)

Track History/Trends

  • Top drivers: Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney, Ryan Newman, Austin Dillon, Chase Elliott
  • Trending Down: Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick, Matt DiBenedetto, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Kurt Busch.
  • The youngest Daytona summer race winner is Justin Haley (07/07/2019 – 20 years, 2 months, 9 days); all-time track record – Trevor Bayne (02/20/2011 – 20 years, 0 months, 1 day). The oldest Daytona summer race winner is Bobby Allison (07/04/1987 – 49 years, 7 months, 1 day); all-time track record – Bobby Allison (02/14/1988 – 50 years, 5 months, 23 days).
  • Five drivers have posted consecutive summer race wins at Daytona International Speedway: Fireball Roberts (1962-1963), A.J. Foyt (1964-1965), Cale Yarborough (1967-1968) David Pearson (1972 – 1974) and Tony Stewart (2005-2006).
  • NASCAR Hall of Famer David Pearson leads the series in summer race victories at Daytona with five wins (1961, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1978).
  • Winning at one of NASCAR’s most prestigious tracks, Daytona International Speedway, is a major accomplishment too. So, it is not all that surprising that the top 10 series winningest drivers at Daytona are all also in the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
  • Since the ‘Win and Your In’ format to the Playoffs was initiated in 2016, Erik Jones’ 2018 summer race win and William Byron last year are the only summer race at Daytona to catapult a driver into the postseason – the other three winners were either not eligible for the Playoffs due to not competing for a championship in the series (Haley in 2019) or the drivers had already previously won in the same season (Keselowski in 2016 and Stenhouse in 2017).
  • For the Coke Zero Sugar 400, three of the last four winners have earned their first career Cup victories. The other was just his second. For the Daytona 500, Denny Hamlin has won three of the last six years but the other three winners were Austin Dillon (2nd career win), Kurt Busch (1st career restrictor plate win) and Michael McDowell (1st career Cup win).
  • A total of 21 drivers have posted their first NASCAR Cup Series win at Daytona; 11 of the 21 drivers posted their first win in the summer race – the most recent was the 2019 July race with winner Justin Haley and Spire Motorsports and last year with William Byron. Does that bode well for Saturday night for someone on the outside looking in?
  • In the third iteration of the Playoff championship format from 2014-Present – Only one driver outside the Playoff cutoff has raced their way into the Playoffs in the regular season finale through points or last-minute wins.
    • From 2014 to 2018 – the drivers that won or were inside the top 16 that were expected to make the Playoffs did, no drivers raced their way into the Playoffs in the regular season finale on points or wins.
    • In 2019, heading into the regular season finale at Indianapolis, Ryan Newman was tied with Daniel Suarez for the 16th and final transfer position to the Playoffs. Newman finished eighth in the regular season finale to Suarez’s 11th, earning the final transfer spot into the postseason.
  • This seems like an annual topic of conversation but the “Big 3” in NASCAR are typically the only ones to beat during Daytona Speedweeks. Since 2005, they’ve won 46 times in NASCAR Cup Series action alone at Daytona. That’s a 73-percent success rate. In February though, the “Big 3” were 0-for-3 on the oval with Stewart-Haas, RCR and Front Row Motorsports winning the Duels and the ‘500.

Track Comparison

While it’s a superspeedway, it differs from Talladega. It’s .16 miles shorter and not as wide either. The most you can get is 3 wide on this track but even that gets hairy. The race looks like Talladega though in terms of a pack race with similar strategy. It’s more about handling and drafting help rather than outright speed.

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