Fans looking for today’s NASCAR race in Daytona will be disappointed to learn that it has been postponed until tomorrow, Sunday, July 7. The Coke Zero Sugar 400 will start on July 7th at 1 p.m. Eastern (weather permitting) on NBC thanks to showers throughout Saturday. The race has a history of having weather challenges due to the Florida summer showers that seem to consistently find Daytona International Speedway.
There were no laps run today, so the race will run in its entirety on Sunday as long as the drivers can get more favorable conditions. According to AccuWeather, Daytona International Airport received 1.75 inches of rain on Saturday.
“Showers and thunderstorms have developed close to the track, and these thunderstorms will continue to be around through the early evening hours of Saturday, at least,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alan Reppert reported.
The race has gone by a number of different names throughout its history including the Pepsi 400 and Firecracker 400. It is a favorite for NASCAR fans given its proximity to the Fourth of July holiday. Sporting News detailed the race rules for this year’s Coke Zero 400.
The Coke Zero Sugar 400 is the lone night race at a superspeedway this season and will feature the same rules package – a one-inch wicker on the car’s rear spoiler and no restrictor plates – as the wreck-filled race at Talladega in April, which finished under caution. Daytona’s 2.5-mile oval, which features 31-degree banking in the turns, is a far narrower track than Talladega, so expect some collisions.
This Year Marks the Final Daytona Race in July as It Will Move to August 29th in 2020
This year marks the final holiday celebration in Daytona as the race will move to be NASCAR’s grand finale beginning in 2020. NASCAR wanted to have the season start and end in Daytona. This means that the Coke Zero 400 will be on August 29th next year.
“The Coke Zero Sugar 400 will continue to be one of the cornerstone events on the NASCAR schedule and will now serve as the final race of the regular season,” Daytona International Speedway President Chip Wile said in a press release. “Daytona International Speedway strives to deliver the most exciting racing for our fans and this date change adds another layer of drama and excitement with a potential walk-off home run moment for a driver to solidify a playoff berth.”
Next year, NASCAR will head to Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Fourth of July weekend. Former NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. expressed disappointment over the calendar change.
“At every race track we go to on the schedule, if you said what fits with July 4th weekend, it’s Daytona,” Earnhardt explained to USA Today. “I don’t know if it’s because it’s always been that way, it’s the beach, it’s just a real nice place to go visit and be in the middle of the summer. There is not a lot of other tracks that can provide what Daytona can provide on a holiday weekend. I’ve never tried to celebrate that weekend anywhere else other than Daytona.”