Race: Coke Zero Sugar 400
Date: Saturday, August 28th @ 7:00pm
Venue: Daytona International Speedway
2020 Winner: William Byron (2:39:59)
Daytona International Speedway — This track was built in 1959 by William France Sr. It is more open, allowing drivers to really open up as the inaugural Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race of 2020. Lights were introduced in 1998, and the track was most recently repaved in 2010. The track runs 31 degree high banks and is 2.5 miles long. Restrictor plates were used at Daytona and Talladega until the start of 2019. For anyone who does not know, a restrictor plate is a device installed at the intake of an engine, limiting its ultimate power—this limits the car’s top speed. Restrictor plates are more popular on wide tracks where the likelihood of stacking 3-4 wide opens a track up for more accidents. Instead, now they use tapered spacers and larger spoilers, splitters and aero ducts which create added drag for the cars.
Kevin Harvick (seventh selection this year) – Harvick has shown steady improvement here the last three years, averaging a 28th place finish in 2019, 14th place last year, and he was 4th and 6th here at the Daytona 500 and road race. He comes in with back-to-back 14th place finishes, which isn’t bad—but I see him bouncing back into the top 10 here.
William Byron (sixth selection this year) — The winner here last year BARELY lost first place last week to Ryan Blaney and he has averaged a 14thplace finish here the last two years.
High Risk/High Reward
Michael McDowell (fifth selection this year) — Michael has become a de facto dominant force at Daytona. He has averaged an 11th place finish here over the last five years. He will need to harness this, as he has not finished among the top 15 in 11 races; however, he did finish top 10 in both Daytona races to start this season.
Austin Dillon (third selection this year). Austin has a solid track record here as recent as this year, finishing third to start this year. He won here in 2018 and has six top 10s here over the last six years.
The Dark Horse
Cole Custer (fourth selection this year). Cole had three top 12 finishes this season and one of them was the first race of the season at Daytona (the other two were Talladega and Dover). He has since finished among the top 20 ten different times, but none in the last two races.
Fun Fact: Daytona was the first track to host restrictor plates for NASCAR at the Daytona 500 in 1970.
Favorite: Average Finish 13th (34th Percent)
High Risk/High Reward: Average Finish 16th (40th Percent)
Dark Horse: Average Finish 18th (47th Percent)