NASCAR Cup Series is back at Daytona International Speedway for the final regular-season race of the year, the Coke Zero 400. Make sure to catch all the action on August 26, 2023, at 7 pm ET. That’s right, the final race before playoffs is a night race taking place on Saturday night. Here’s a preview of what to expect for the race at Daytona.
And with only one playoff spot left up for grabs, this is certainly a race NASCAR fans don’t want to miss.
COKE ZERO SUGAR 400 RACE PREVIEW
Date: Saturday August 26, 2023
Time: 7 pm ET
Location: Daytona International Speedway
How to Watch: NBC (Channel 12 on DIRECTV)
NASCAR CUP SERIES RACE AT DAYTONA PREVIEW
What does the final regular-season race have in store for drivers and fans? The Coke Zero 400 is the second Cup Series race of the season at Daytona, the first being the most prestigious race in the sport, the Daytona 500, which No. 42 Ricky Stenhouse Jr won back in February.
While the Daytona 500 consists of 200 2.5-mile laps, the Coke Zero 400 only consists of 160 laps. Which means racers cannot use the same strategy for the Coke Zero 400 as the Daytona 500. That’s likely one of the reasons why there has only been one racer to win both races, and that is Kevin Harvick in 2007 and 2010.
CURRENT PLAYOFF PICTURE
After a win in Indianapolis for No. 34 Michael McDowell on August 13th and William Byron’s first road-course win at The Glen this past weekend, racers now only have one more spot to fight for to make it into the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs.
Over the course of the season, 13 different drivers have won races that have provided them with a guaranteed playoff spot. Those racers are listed below, ordered by their regular season point totals leading up to the Coke Zero 400:
- No. 19 Martin Truex Jr. – 3 wins (Wurth 400, Toyota/Save Mart 350 and Crayon 301)
- No. 11 Denny Hamlin – 2 wins (Advent Health 400 and HighPoint.com 400)
- No. 24 William Byron – 5 wins (Pennzoil 400, United Rentals Work United 500, Goodyear 400, Quaker State 400 and Go Bowling at the Glen)
- No. 20 Christopher Bell – 1 win (Food City Dirt Race)
- No. 5 Kyle Larson – 2 wins (Toyota Owners 400 and NOCO 400)
- No. 17 Chris Buescher – 2 wins (Cook Out 400 and FireKeepers Casino 400)
- No. 1 Ross Chastain – 1 win (Ally 400)
- No. 12 Ryan Blaney – 1 win (Coca-Cola 600)
- No. 8 Kyle Busch – 3 wins (Pala Casino 400, Geico 500 and Enjoy Illinois 300)
- No. 45 Tyler Reddick – 1 win (EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix)
- No. 22 Joey Logano – 1 win (Ambetter Health 400)
- No. 47 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – 1 win (Daytona 500)
- No. 34 Michael McDowell – 1 win (Verizon 200)
Alongside these 13 racers are Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick, who may not have won a race yet this year but did accumulate enough regular season points to secure their spots in the playoffs.
With one spot left and an unpredictable race at Daytona ahead, there are a few ways things could play out.
If a racer that has already secured a spot wins at Daytona, 23XI’s Bubba Wallace has a good chance of making it to the playoffs. And since superspeedways are his thing, it’s certainly possible. If he doesn’t perform, Ty Gibbs or Trackhouse Racing’s Daniel Suarez could find themselves in the Round of 16.
In the case an entirely different racer wins the race, that driver would secure the final spot.
DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY SPECS
It would be hard to find someone in the United States who hasn’t heard of the Daytona 500. The Coke Zero Sugar 400, on the other hand, may take place on the same track, but isn’t quite as well known. Here’s an overview of Daytona International Speedway, the track both of these races take place on.
Daytona was built in 1959 by the founder of NASCAR himself, William France Sr. He designed the course with 31-degree and 18-degree banking in the turns, leading to higher speeds and a better entertainment experience for fans. Since its inception, there have been several renovations of the track, namely:
- Lights added to the track in 1998
- Infield renovations in 2004
- “Daytona Rising” redesigned fan seating from 2013-2016
The tri-oval track at Daytona is structured for an exciting race, but safety measures have been put in place to keep the drivers safe. Daytona International Speedway is one of two tracks where restrictor plates are used to slowdown cars during races.
PAST COKE ZERO 400 WINNERS
The Coke Zero 400 marks the final regular-season race in the 2023 Cup Series, and drivers will certainly be fighting to get to Victory Lane.
In 2022, the Coke Zero Sugar 400 was won by No. 3 Austin Dillon. His second career win at Daytona shot him into the playoffs after a tight season. This season, Dillon hasn’t had a huge presence, but it’s possible returning to Daytona will give him the push he needs to break into the playoffs once again.
Behind Dillon in 2022 was Tyler Reddick and Austin Cindric; Reddick’s spot in the playoffs is secured, but Cindric – who also won the Daytona 500 in 2022 – may be able to use his experience on the track to shoot up to the rankings to the playoffs.
DRIVERS COMPETING IN COKE ZERO SUGAR 400
Check out the Entry List for this weekend’s race at Daytona. Racers who have secured playoff spots will be listed in bold.
|Entry||# and Name||Entry||# and Name|
|1||No. 1 Ross Chastain||21||No. 22 Joey Logano|
|2||No. 2 Austin Cindric||22||No. 23 Bubba Wallace|
|3||No. 3 Austin Dillon||23||No. 24 William Byron|
|4||No. 4 Kevin Harvick||24||No. 31 Justin Haley|
|5||No. 5 Kyle Larson||25||No. 34 Michael McDowell|
|6||No. 6 Brad Keselowski||26||No. 36 Riley Herbst|
|7||No. 7 Corey Lajoie||27||No. 38 Todd Gilliland|
|8||No. 8 Kyle Busch||28||No. 41 Ryan Preece|
|9||No. 9 Chase Elliott||29||No. 42 Josh Berry|
|10||No. 10 Aric Almirola||30||No. 43 Erik Jones|
|11||No. 11 Denny Hamlin||31||No. 45 Tyler Reddick|
|12||No. 12 Ryan Blaney||32||No. 47 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.|
|13||No. 13 Chandler Smith||33||No. 48 Alex Bowman|
|14||No. 14 Chase Briscoe||34||No. 51 JJ Yeley|
|15||No. 15 Brennan Poole||35||No. 54 Ty Gibbs|
|16||No. 16 AJ Allmendinger||36||No. 62 Austin Hill|
|17||No. 17 Chris Buscher||37||No. 77 Ty Dillon|
|18||No. 19 Martin Truex Jr.||38||No. 78 BJ McLeod|
|19||No. 20 Christopher Bell||39||No. 99 Daniel Suárez|
|20||No. 21 Harrison Burton|
HOW TO WATCH THE COKE ZERO 400 AT DAYTONA
Catch the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway live on NBC, channel 12 with DIRECTV. And remember, this race isn’t the typical NASCAR Sunday race – instead it is beneath the lights on Saturday, August 26, at 7:00 pm ET.
WATCH NASCAR PLAYOFFS WITH DIRECTV
The NASCAR playoffs are coming up, and DIRECTV has the total Cup Series coverage you want. Besides watching all the races live with your DIRECTV subscription, you can also catch the best pre- and post-race analyses. And with DIRECTV Insider race previews available at your fingertips, you’ll be an expert in no time.
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Frequently Asked Questions
When is the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway?
The Coke Zero 400 takes place on Saturday, Aug 26 at 7pm ET.
What channel is the Daytona NASCAR race on?
Watch the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona on NBC, channel 12 on DIRECTV.
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