Welcome back to Daytona International Speedway, which is still drying out after a long Saturday of showers and thunderstorms that postponed the Coke Zero Sugar 400.
NASCAR plans to take a race-day mulligan this morning, beginning at 10 am
Firecracker 250, anyone?
Hang with me.
We’ve gotten pretty good at reading the weatherman’s tea leaves around here, and right now we’re looking good (or at least “OK”) until about noon.
Come back here for continued updates as the command to fire engines draws closer.
Saturday’s recap:What happened in the build-up to the rainout of the Coke Zero Sugar 400?
What channel is the race on? NASCAR’s Coke Zero Sugar 400 from Daytona: How to watch on TV, live stream
Xfinity recap:NASCAR Xfinity Series Wawa 250 wrecks its way to early-morning finish
On the call:Jeff Burton high and dry in NBC booth, but still feels the nerves
11:35 am: Kyle Busch leads through end of Stage 2 at Daytona
Stage 2 has ended and we’re through 95 laps of the 160-lap Coke Zero Sugar 400.
Kyle Busch led to the stripe, followed by Martin Truex Jr., Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin and Bubba Wallace. Of the 2022 non-winners looking to crash the playoffs, Todd Gilliland was leading the way, in sixth place overall.
11:30 am: If nothing else, we’re official at Daytona!
We’ve sped past the halfway mark, which was Lap 80 of the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona.
Regardless of whether or not the weather holds out through the Lap 160 finish, it’s an official race.
Nearing the end of Stage 2, with Tyler Reddick looking strong while mixing it up with a bunch of the usual favorites.
Caution on Lap 31 at Daytona; Ryan Blaney damaged; Joey Logano wins Stage 1
It wasn’t a Big One, but it might have huge playoff implications. Ryan Blaney, holding on to a playoff spot based on his points standing, was one of a few drivers wrecked in a Lap 31 incident.
Erik Jones had been trading the lead with Chase Elliott for a few laps but lost speed in Turn 2, creating a chain reaction behind him that damaged the cars of Blaney, Brad Keselowski and Christopher Bell.
Blaney got back on track but was a couple of laps down. If he ends the day behind Martin Truex Jr. on points, he needs a 2022 repeat winner or else he’s out of the playoffs.
Shortly after going back to green, the first stage ended after Lap 35 with Joey Logano up front, followed by Elliott, Harrison Burton, Kyle Busch and Truex.
Kyle Larson is out of the Coke Zero 400
Kyle Larson’s Sunday at Daytona hopes were dashed because of engine problems.
10:05 am: Green flag at Daytona | Hubba-hubba
They’re up to speed and turning official laps in the Coke Zero Sugar 400.
Chase Elliott leads the field off the green.
More details as warranted.
10 am: We’re rolling at Daytona
Engines have cranked, pre-race pace laps under way.
9:45 am: Closing in on the starting command at Daytona
Most folks are taking their time getting back to their grandstand seats, and that always sets up on odd situation.
Driver introductions started at 9:20 and played out as if there’s a full house: Loud and proud, lots of pomp and circumstance.
When the crowd is sparse, it takes on the feel of a rehearsal.
When the engines crank and the green falls, any feel of “rehearsal” will be through the safety net and out the driver’s-side window.
9:20 am | What happens to my Coke Zero Sugar 400 ticket if I can’t go Sunday?
NASCAR officials last night sent out an email reminder that ticketholders to races have the advantage of the “Weather Protection Plan” for regular grandstand tickets.
In the event of a rescheduled race, like Saturday’s Coke Zero Sugar 400, that was rain postponed even before the green flag dropped, fans may exchange regular grandstand tickets that were not used on the new data for a future NASCAR race, according to the release by Russell Branham of NASCAR communications. More information is available at Daytona International Speedway’s website.
8:50 am | If rain falls again, when would Coke Zero Sugar 400 become an official race?
With the Coke Zero Sugar 400 scheduled to crank to life at 10 am, a little math tells us we should easily blow past the halfway mark — thereby making it an official race — before any potential rain arrives, assuming the forecast holds.
This race generally lasts about three hours, give or take, depending on the number of cautions. So, careful out there, fellas, there’s an angry cloud from the west eyeballing Daytona Beach.
If we get two full hours before potential trouble arrives, we’re gonna have us an official playoff field determined today, one way or another.
Which takes us back to that earlier reference to the Firecracker 250, which the name of Daytona’s summertime race from the 1959 inaugural until 1963, when it was lengthened to 400 miles.
Also, back then, the race began late morning, so our whole “Back to the Future” vibe is strong.