Chase Elliott, who is the Most Popular Driver in NASCAR, talks with media about racing at Daytona International Speedway and the NASCAR playoffs.
The Daytona Beach News-Journal
The NASCAR Cup Series hits the track at Daytona International Speedway Saturday night as the regular-season comes to a close and the 16-driver playoff field is set.
Here’s all the information you need to get ready for the Coke Zero Sugar 400:
START TIME: 7:30 p.m. ET.
TV: NBC. Pre-race broadcast begins at 7 p.m. ET.
RACE DISTANCE: 160 laps around the 2.5-mile oval for a total of 400 miles.
STAGE LENGTHS (laps per stage): Stage 1: 50, Stage 2: 50, Stage 3: 60.
PLAYOFFS: There are 16 playoff positions and 14 are spoken for heading into Saturday night’s race. There are three drivers on the bubble, battling for two playoff positions based on points. Matt DiBenedetto, in 15th, leads William Byron by five points and seven-time Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson by nine points. If the race is won by a driver who has not already qualified for the playoffs, only one playoff berth will remain available by points.
LAST TIME: Denny Hamlin kicked off the 2020 season by winning the Daytona 500 in February after leading 79 laps as the race finished under caution in overtime. It was the first of six wins this season for Hamlin. And one year ago, Justin Haley, who won Saturday night’s Xfinity Series race, led one lap of the 2019 Coke Zero Sugar 400 before rain hit the area and suspended the race after 127 laps, leaving Haley the winner.
QUALIFYING: There was no practice or qualifying at Daytona this weekend. The lineup was determined by using NASCAR’s new competition-based formula, which takes into account finishing position from the previous race (weighted 50%), ranking in team owner points (35%) and the fastest lap from the previous race (15%).
LINEUP: The math rewarded points leader Kevin Harvick, who will start on the pole after placing first in all of the above categrories. The Stewart-Haas Racing driver has seven wins this season to lead the series. Martin Truex Jr. will join him on the front row after runner-up finishes last weekend in both races of the doubleheader at Dover International Speedway.
Here is the lineup for the Coke Zero Sugar 400:
Row 1: Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr.
Row 2: Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski
Row 3: Aric Almirola, William Byron
Row 4: Jimmie Johnson, Alex Bowman
Row 5: Ryan Blaney, Denny Hamlin
Row 6: Kyle Busch, Austin Dillon
Row 7: Kurt Busch, Clint Bowyer
Row 8: Matt DiBenedetto, Cole Custer
Row 9: Chris Buescher, Tyler Reddick
Row 10: Matt Kenseth, Erik Jones
Row 11: Bubba Wallace, Ryan Newman
Row 12: Christopher Bell, John Hunter Nemechek
Row 13: Corey LaJoie, Michael McDowell
Row 14: Chase Elliott, Ryan Preece
Row 15: Ty Dillon, Daniel Suarez
Row 16: Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Brennan Poole
Row 17: JJ Yeley, Quin Houff
Row 18: Timmy Hill, Ross Chastain
Row 19: Joey Gase, James Davison
Row 20: Josh Bilicki, Brendan Gaughan