Denny Hamlin eyes the Daytona double: 2016 DAYTONA 500 champion Denny Hamlin will attempt to pull off the Daytona double by winning both NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races in the same year. Drivers to previously sweep the DAYTONA 500 and the Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola in the same season are Jimmie Johnson (2013), Bobby Allison (1982), Fireball Roberts (1962), Cale Yarborough (1968) and LeeRoy Yarbrough (1969).
The race to make the Chase: The race to make the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup continues. With a victory in the Coke Zero 400, drivers can secure a berth in the 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup.
Stewart’s final Sprint Cup start at Daytona: Four-time Coke Zero 400 champion Tony Stewart is competing in his final full-time NASCAR season and will make his final Sprint Cup Series start at Daytona International Speedway in the Coke Zero 400. Stewart has 19 overall wins at DIS, second on the all-time-wins list. Stewart enters Daytona riding high after his road course victory last weekend in Sonoma, which snapped an 84-race losing skid. In order to race for a fourth NASCAR Sprint Cup title in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, Stewart needed to win a race this season and finish inside the top 30 points. Stewart currently sits nine points out of 30th.
Defending race champion: Dale Earnhardt Jr. is the defending champion of the Coke Zero 400. Earnhardt Jr. will try to join the back-to-back club of Coke Zero 400 champions including Fireball Roberts (1962-63), A.J. Foyt (1964-65), Cale Yarborough (1967-68), David Pearson (1972-74) and Tony Stewart (2005-06).
This will be the first Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in the new motorsports stadium, which was unveiled during Speedweeks 2016 after a $400 million renovation. Among the new amenities are:
o All-new wider and more comfortable seats with armrests, cup holders, and improved sightlines
o Spacious concourses
o Escalators and elevators
o Free Wi-Fi throughout the concourses, Midway, Sprint FANZONE and campgrounds
o Twice as many restrooms and three times as many concessions and merchandise stands
o Three new large video display boards in addition to two existing video boards
Tickets start at $40: Bring the family to celebrate the Fourth of July holiday with DIS featuring the biggest fireworks show in the Southeast.
o Tickets for the Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola start at $80 and tickets for the Subway Firecracker 250 Powered By Coca-Cola NASCAR XFINITY Series race begin at $40.
o Special kid’s pricing:
- Reserved seating for kids 12 and under is $20 on Saturday and $10 on Friday
- Kids 12 and under receive free admission to Sprint FANZONE and infield all weekend
Fireworks and entertainment: Fireworks by Santore in Flagler County will illuminate the sky with the largest fireworks show in the Southeast on Saturday night. In addition, there will be a pre-race concert by multi-platinum country music duo Montgomery Gentry prior to Saturday’s Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola.
Sprint FANZONE: The fan interactive area located in the infield of Daytona International Speedway will be a busy place for fans during the race weekend. Many of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers will participate in question and answer sessions and the NASCAR XFINITY Series drivers and the Congressional Medal of Honor recipients will participate in an autograph session.
Montgomery Gentry performs: Montgomery Gentry, the multi-platinum country music duo comprised of Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry, will perform a 60-minute pre-race concert prior to the Coke Zero 400. Montgomery Gentry returns to Daytona International Speedway after having recently participated in the inaugural Country 500 – The Great American Music Fest on Memorial Day weekend. The country music duo has released 11 albums, three of which have gone platinum: Tattoos & Scars, My Town and You Do Your Thing. Their most recent album, Folks Like Us, was released in June 2015.
Honorary Pace Car driver Jaguars Linebacker Telvin Smith: Telvin Smith, linebacker for the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars, will serve as Honorary Pace Car Driver for the Coke Zero 400. Smith will lead the field around the 2.5-mile tri-oval in a Toyota Camry Pace Car prior to the start of the race. Smith played college football at Florida State University before being chosen by the Jaguars in the fifth round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Smith will also participate in a question-and-answer session in Sprint FANZONE, pre-race ceremonies and attend the drivers’ meeting. In 2015, Smith started all 14 games he played in, tallying 128 tackles (99 solo) and returned one interception 26 yards for a touchdown; he also owns the NFL’s longest active streak of 16 straight games with six-plus tackles. In his two-year NFL career, Smith has started 24 games and his 227 total tackles are the most ever by a Jaguars player in their first two seasons. In 2014 his 99 tackles were ranked third among NFL rookies and he was one of only two rookies to record multiple sacks and an interception.
Congressional Medal of Honor recipients: During the Coke Zero 400 Weekend, Daytona International Speedway will continue the renewed tradition of honoring Congressional Medal of Honor recipients. Being recognized this year are Staff Sergeant Ty Carter, U.S. Army (Afghanistan); Command Sergeant Major Gary Littrell, U.S. Army (Vietnam) and Captain Florent Groberg, U.S. Army (Afghanistan). Over the course of the Fourth of July weekend these three recipients will also be honored at a luncheon, attend the drivers’ meetings, participate in pre-race ceremonies for both Friday night’s Subway Firecracker 250 Powered By Coca-Cola NASCAR XFINITY Series race and Saturday night’s Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. In addition, they will participate in an autograph session in Sprint FANZONE prior to Saturday night’s race. This will be the eighth straight year that DIS has recognized Congressional Medal of Honor recipients during the Coke Zero 400 Weekend, a practice that was originally started by Bill France Sr. in the 1970s.