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Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott will start alongside each other in tonight’s NASCAR Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona, less than a week after the two teammates made contact on the final restart at Watkins Glen.
Larson went hard into Turn 1, skirted up the track and into Elliott. Chase couldn’t recover quick enough to maintain the lead, Larson nosed his No. 5 Chevy to the point and never looked back.
A few days later, following Hendrick Motorsports’ Monday morning team debrief, Larson admitted he should’ve raced Elliott with a little more “respect.”
Must’ve been one heck of a meeting, right?!
“Anyone out there who doesn’t sit in those meetings or isn’t privy to the conversations that go on at HMS, or the standard that we’re supposed to conduct ourselves and the example the boss sets is completely basing their words on assumption rather than facts,” Elliott said Friday afternoon at Daytona.
“That’s the reality of it. Take that for what it is. Unless you sit in those meetings, you don’t know.”
Elliott, the regular season champion, admitted he’s never played poker. Frankly, I ain’t buying it!
Now, on to the Coke Zero Sugar 400, which is set to go green in less than hour. However …
8 p.m. | Coke Zero Sugar 400 Moved To Sunday morning
The NASCAR regular season finale at Daytona has been officially moved to Sunday morning due to weather.
Rain in Daytona Beach has persisted most of the day, with the track under a lightning or weather delay since about 2 p.m. The jet dryers attempted to dry the track multiple times, but never made much progress.
Sunday’s race is set to start at 10 a.m. on CNBC. Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott will lead the field to green.
For updates for Sunday’s race, check out this link.
7 p.m. | Jet dryers out at Daytona as rain continues
The rain continues to fall at Daytona International Speedway, but it’s down to a drizzle as the jet dryers continue work on the track.
The race hasn’t officially been delayed yet, but that’s almost assuredly coming. The radar doesn’t look great, if we’re being honest. The chance of rain doesn’t drop below 70% until 10 p.m. in the Daytona Beach area.
Check back for my updates. In the meantime, here’s your Coke Zero Sugar 400 primer:
NASCAR playoff field
With the air (seemingly) cleared between the two teammates, all eyes now turn toward Daytona.
Saturday’s Coke Zero Sugar 400 is set to go green shortly after 7 p.m., will serve as the final race of the regular season and set the 16-driver playoff field.
As it stands right now, Ryan Blaney and Martin Truex Jr. are the last two drivers in and it should stay that was as long as there is no new winner at Daytona.
Unfortunately for them, this place tends to lend itself to a surprise or two. Anyone remember Justin Haley somehow winning this race a few years back?
“I know we’re going to have a fast race car,” said Chris Buescher, who will roll off eighth and is one of those drivers who needs a win to get in. “We’ve got to be smart about it, we’ve got to be clean and take the speed that we know we’ll have and make something out of it.”
Daytona weather and radar
Buescher may be racing more than just the 30 other drivers Saturday night.
Unfortunately, Mother Nature may have the fastest car. Rain postponed Friday’s Xfinity race nearly two hours, and the forecast tonight is iffy at best.
As of Saturday morning, the National Weather Service is calling for an 80% of rain tonight. The question, as always, will be when it comes, and how long it stays.
Par for the course for a summertime race in Daytona, though.
And hey, a little added drama never hurt anyone.
“You never know what to expect here but you know it’s going to be wild and crazy and there will be a lot of crashes,” Truex Jr. said. “Rain in the area. Who knows when it could end. Does it even go the full distance? They brought the last regular season race here for a reason. Right? Drama and craziness and that’s what we’re going to see.”
Coke Zero Sugar 400 starting lineup
1. Kyle Larson
2. Chase Elliott
3. Joey Logano
4. Daniel Suarez
5. Christopher Bell
6. Tyler Reddick
7. Kevin Harvick
8. Chris Buescher
9. Michael McDowell
10. Alex Bowman
11. Erik Jones
12. Ross Chastain
13. Martin Truex Jr.
14. Austin Cindric
15. Cole Custer
16. Ryan Blaney
17. William Byron
18. Justin Haley
19. Denny Hamlin
20. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
21. Austin Dillon
22. Kyle Busch
23. Ty Gibbs
24. Brad Keselowski
25. Ty Dillon
26. Chase Briscoe
27. Aric Almirola
28. Daniel Hemric
29. Harrison Burton
30. Bubba Wallace
31. Corey LaJoie
32. Todd Gilliland
33. Cody Ware
34. David Ragan
35. Landon Cassill
36. BJ McLeod
37. Noah Gragson
When is the NASCAR race and what channel is it on?
For most of the country, tonight’s Coke Zero Sugar 400 will be on NBC.
For those viewers in Central Florida, including Daytona, NBC’s local affiliate, WESH, has decided to air the Tampa Bay Bucs’ third preseason game instead of the race.
The race has instead been bumped to CW18, WKCF.
Other markets choosing the NFL over NASCAR include Baltimore, Harrisburg (Pa.), Phoenix, Tampa, Philadelphia and Washington.
Coverage is set to begin at 7 p.m. on NBC with green flag shortly after. You can also watch on NBC’s streaming app and Peacock.