Magic Mile Notebook: Coke Zero 400 At Daytona International Speedway

(Press Release from New Hampshire Motor Speedway)

Aric Almirola celebrates victory at Daytona International Speedway in 2014 (Photo: Courtesy New Hampshire Motor Speedway)

Aric Almirola celebrates victory at Daytona International Speedway in 2014 (Photo: Courtesy New Hampshire Motor Speedway)


Super Bowl Champion to Lead NASCAR Field to Green on July 19

On July 19, Super Bowl champion Rob Ninkovich and two-time American League All-Star Rico Petrocelli will celebrate the speedway’s 25th Anniversary by serving honorary roles during pre-race festivities for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series New Hampshire 301. Following the “Star Spangled Banner”, Ninkovich will lead the field to the green flag as the Official Pace Car Driver. Petrocelli will deliver the invocation before the national anthem. Both New England favorites will be recognized at the drivers’ meeting and participate in driver introductions.

Speedway Gets Even SAFER

NASCAR race weekend preparations are well underway at NHMS, as track crews have begun installation of an additional 1,850 feet of SAFER barrier in turns 2, 4 and the backstretch. In 2003, NHMS installed 2,820 feet of SAFER barrier in all four turns. The additional barrier puts 4,670 feet of SAFER Barrier around the Magic Mile.
Photos of installation can be downloaded here
Password: Nhmsmedia


The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns to action on Sunday night at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla.:

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Next Race: Coke Zero 400 powered by Coca-Cola
The Place: Daytona International Speedway
The Date: Sunday, July 5
The Time: 7:45 p.m.
TV: NBC, 7 p.m.
Radio: SiriusXM Ch. 90
Distance: 400 miles (160 laps)

NASCAR Debuts On NBC With The Coke Zero 400
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series makes its triumphant return to NBC on Sunday, July 5 with the broadcast of the Coke Zero 400 presented by Coca-Cola.

Coverage starts with the pre-race show at 7 p.m. and the race broadcast begins at 7:45 p.m.

Rick Allen (play-by-play), 21-time NSCS winner Jeff Burton (analyst) and Daytona 500-winning crew chief Steve Letarte (analyst) will commentate from the booth, while Dave Burns, Mike Massaro, Marty Snider and Kelli Stavast will report from pit road.

Krista Voda will host the pre-race show with NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Jarrett and eight-time NSCS winner Kyle Petty providing analysis.

Click here to learn more about NASCAR on NBC.

How Sweep It Is: Logano Looks To Follow-Up Daytona 500 Win With A Summer Checkered
Sweep dreams.

That’s what Joey Logano will be hoping for this weekend when he tries to become just the sixth driver to sweep the Daytona 500 and the Daytona July race in the same season.

The five drivers to accomplish the feat are Jimmie Johnson (2013), Bobby Allison (1982), LeeRoy Yarborough (1969), Cale Yarborough (1968) and Fireball Roberts (1962).

Gordon To Make Final Start At NASCAR’s Most Famous Track
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series visits its first repeat track of the season this Sunday for the Coke Zero 400 powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway.

Now, the Jeff Gordon farewell tour truly begins as he makes his final start at NASCAR’s most famous track.

Gordon leads active drivers with six wins, 13 top fives, 20 top 10s, four Coors Light Pole Awards and 710 laps led at Daytona.

Gordon’s first Daytona win came 20 years ago on July 1, 1995. That season, he captured his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.

Kyle Busch Lands In Chase Contention With Sonoma Win
A mere four months have passed since Kyle Busch broke his leg and foot in a NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Daytona International Speedway.

And he already has a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win.

Busch passed Jimmie Johnson for the lead on Lap 106 of 110 and held off his brother Kurt Busch for the checkered flag. The 1-2 finish was the first ever by the Busch brothers.

With the win, Busch is one step closer to a Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup bid. Now, he needs to make his way into the top 30 in driver points at the conclusion of the Sept. 12 race at Richmond International Raceway. Currently 37th in driver points, Busch has 10 races left to close 30th-place Cole Whitt’s 136-point advantage. To eliminate the deficit by the start of the Chase, Busch needs to post an average finish around 14.0 the rest of the regular season. Since his rookie year of 2005, Busch has scored an average finish of 14th or better over the final 10 races of the regular season seven times.

On Sunday, the No. 18 Toyota driver returns to DIS for the first time since his February accident. Busch won the summer event at Daytona in 2008. He finished 28th in this race last season due to a wreck.

Daytona International Speedway … Where The Wild Cards Are
With only 10 races and five spots left in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, winless drivers are running out of time, and opportunities, to punch their tickets to NASCAR’s playoffs.

They get their next chance at the prestigious Daytona International Speedway in Sunday’s Coke Zero 400 powered by Coca-Cola.

Eight drivers still searching for Chase bids have previously visited Victory Lane at “The World Center of Racing,” including Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Trevor Bayne, David Ragan, Jamie McMurray, Ryan Newman, Aric Almirola and Greg Biffle.

Florida’s Finest: Almirola Aims For Coke Zero 400 Repeat
Last season, 30 years after Richard Petty won his 200th race, Aric Almirola piloted the famed Richard Petty Motorsports No. 43 car to Victory Lane for the first win and Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup bid of his career.

Following the race, Almirola said: “It’s real special for me to win here. This is not only the 30th anniversary of this team’s last win at Daytona, it is my hometown and I remember growing up watching Daytona 500s and Firecracker 400s here. To win is real special.”

Almirola’s victory also marked the first by the No. 43 car since John Andretti won at Martinsville Speedway in 1999.

Currently, Almirola sits four points behind Ryan Newman for the final spot on the Chase Grid, but can clinch a berth in NASCAR’s playoffs with a repeat July Daytona win in Sunday’s Coke Zero 400 powered by Coca-Cola.

Tony Stewart (2005-06) is the last driver to win consecutive July Daytona races.

Smoke Signals At Daytona?
NASCAR fans have been waiting for Tony Stewart to contend for a victory all season.

Will this be the weekend they finally see smoke signals?

Stewart boasts four victories at Daytona International Speedway – all in July – and is the active leader in laps led in the July Daytona race (369).

With his experience and the unpredictable nature of the 2.5-mile track, DIS could be the place his gets his first win since 2013 at Dover.

Currently 26th in points, Stewart needs a checkered flag to clinch a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

History Lesson: Daytona, The Home Of The Pearson Slingshot
If you’ve ever wondered why David Pearson was nicknamed the “Silver Fox,” just watch the end of the 1974 Firecracker 400.

Pearson, who won 105 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, was always fast, but it was strategy and guile that made him near impossible to beat. And nowhere was that more evident than at Daytona International Speedway, where the key to winning was the unstoppable “slingshot” move.

The 16th edition of the Fourth of July classic saw familiar names up front throughout the race – there was Pearson and “The King” Richard Petty, Cale Yarborough and Buddy Baker. As the laps ticked off, the race came down to Pearson and Petty, as races tended to do in that era.

All seemed normal as Pearson grabbed the white flag, signifying the final lap of the race. Suddenly, coming out of the tri-oval, Pearson dropped down to the bottom of the track and Petty went speeding by into the lead.

Even the MRN announcers didn’t know what was happening, exclaiming, “whether it’s a just a maneuver on David’s part or whether he has problems, we’ll know in a minute!”

Turns out it was the former.

Pearson knew he was a sitting duck with Petty just car lengths behind him, so he ‘flipped the script.’ By allowing Petty to pass him, Pearson put himself in the right position for a race-winning slingshot move. And true to his champion form, it was executed perfectly coming out of Turn 4 for a “Silver Fox” victory by no more than 10 feet.

Gas ’n go
Martin Truex Jr. will make his 350th career start on Sunday. … Dale Earnhardt Jr. will attempt to win his second consecutive restrictor plate race after taking the checkered flag at Talladega in April.

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