Storylines for the Coke Zero 400 Weekend Powered By Coca-Cola July 3-5 at Daytona International Speedway
COMPETITION ON THE HIGH BANKS
Earnhardt Jr. eyes the Daytona double: 2014 DAYTONA 500 champion Dale Earnhardt Jr. will attempt to pull off the Daytona double by winning both NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races in the same year.
His Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson pulled off the Daytona double last year. Other drivers to previously to sweep the DAYTONA 500 and the Coke Zero 400 in the same season also Bobby Allison (1982), Fireball Roberts (1962), Cale Yarborough (1968) and LeeRoy Yarbrough (1969).
New qualifying format: The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying for the Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola will feature NASCAR’s new group qualifying format. The first qualifying elimination round will be 25 minutes in duration and includes all cars. The 24 cars that post the fastest single lap from the first qualifying round will advance to the second round. The remaining cars will be sorted based on their times posted in the first round of qualifying in descending order.
The second qualifying elimination round will be 10 minutes in duration and the 12 cars that post the fastest single lap time will advance to the third and final round. The fastest remaining cars earn positions 13th through 24th based on their times posted in qualifying in descending order. The third and final qualifying round will be five minutes in duration and the fastest single lap time will determine positions 1st through 12th in descending order.
There will be a five-minute break between each qualifying round.
Tony Stewart looks to tie David Pearson: Tony Stewart, always one of the pre-race favorites for the mid-summer classic, will be gunning for his fifth Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola on Saturday, July 5, which would tie him alongside NASCAR Hall of Famer David Pearson for most wins in the 400-mile race.
Dash 4 Cash: The Subway Firecracker 250 Powered By Coca-Cola will serve as the qualifier in the “Dash 4 Cash” bonus program where the top four drivers to receive NASCAR Nationwide Series driver championship points in that race will carry the “Dash 4 Cash” designation in the first race of the bonus program at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Introduced in 2009, “Dash 4 Cash” rewards the highest-finishing eligible driver in four designated races with a $100,000 bonus above and beyond the race purse. Fans can also participate via a sweepstakes that culminates with one lucky fan winning $100,000. The July race at New Hampshire followed by the race at Chicagoland Speedway, the event at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the race at Iowa are the “Dash 4 Cash” races for 2014.
Progress continues on DAYTONA Rising: DAYTONA Rising is a $400 million reimagining of an American icon – Daytona International Speedway. Five expanded and redesigned entrances, or “injectors,” will lead fans to a series of escalators and elevators, transporting them to three different concourse levels. Each level features spacious social areas, or “neighborhoods,” along the nearly mile-long frontstretch. At the conclusion of the redevelopment, Daytona International Speedway will have approximately 101,000 permanent, wider and more comfortable seats, twice as many restrooms and three times as many concession stands. In addition, the Speedway will feature over 60 luxury suites with track side views and a completely revamped hospitality experience for corporate guests.
Since Budweiser Speedweeks 2014, the project continues to reach milestones such as:
- Installation of the first escalators
- Installation of the wider and more comfortable seats
- Buildout of interior concourses
- Masonry work on the elevator shafts
- Placement of the stadium exterior “skin.”
For Budweiser Speedweeks 2015, 40,000 of the new seats will be available for use and are currently on sale for the 57th annual DAYTONA 500. The entire project is targeted for completion in January 2016, in time for the 58th DAYTONA 500. To learn more about DAYTONA Rising, please visit www.DAYTONARising.com
FOR THE FANS
Coca-Cola Family Track Walk: During the Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola Weekend, the best way to get up close and personal with the Coca-Cola Racing family is literally on the track. To kick off festivities on Friday morning, July 4, some of NASCAR’s top drivers will give up their high-octane 800-horsepower stock cars for comfortable walking shoes as they take part in the Coca-Cola Family Track Walk.
Fans can enjoy some healthy, active fun by walking a mile of the 2.5-mile track alongside Coca-Cola Racing Family drivers Denny Hamlin, Ryan Newman and Austin Dillon. The event is free and open to all Subway Firecracker 250 Powered By Coca-Cola ticket holders.
Fans who wish to participate can enter at Gate 50 which is located on the backstretch off Midway Boulevard. The track walk starts at 9:00 a.m. and gates will open to fans at 8:30 a.m. Fans who are camping in the infield can enter at the west end of Lake Lloyd.
NASCAR: An American Salute: A long-standing tradition in the sport, NASCAR: An American Salute will conclude during the Coke Zero 400. The platform, which kicks-off during the Memorial Day weekend, rallies teams, tracks, fan and partners to collectively honor active and retired service members and military families.
At Daytona, all active duty military, veterans and their families can enjoy the Troops Welcome Center Presented by Coca-Cola. The center, which will be located in the midway, will be fully equipped with food and beverages, allowing service members to take a break, meet NASCAR drivers, executives and personalities throughout the weekend. Additionally, The NASCAR Foundation will partner with The Armed Forces Foundation on Operation Caring Classroom, an annual education initiative that increases awareness, appreciation and support among children for military families. The NASCAR Foundation will help compile school kits for 1,750 classrooms across the United States.
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.
Among the drivers scheduled to participate in question and answer sessions on the FDOT Main Stage in the Sprint FANZONE on Saturday, July 5 include Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano and Jamie McMurray.
On Friday, the NASCAR Nationwide Series drivers will participate in an autograph session at 5 p.m. near the Goodyear Legends area in the Sprint FANZONE.
For a complete list, click here.
FIRST CLASS ENTERTAINMENT AND HONORARY GUESTS
Medal of Honor recipients: For the sixth straight year, Daytona International Speedway will pay tribute to four Congressional Medal of Honor recipients.
The Medal of Honor recipients, all from the Vietnam War, are:
- Don Jenkins, Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army
- Melvin Morris, Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army
- Gary Littrell, Command Sergeant Major, U.S. Army
- Robert Patterson, Command Sergeant Major, U.S. Army
For complete biographies on the four Congressional Medal of Honor recipients, visit http://www.cmohs.org/
All four Medal of Honor recipients will be recognized during a special luncheon on Friday at the Bill France Room, will attend driver’s meetings and participate in pre-race ceremonies for both the Subway Firecracker 250 Powered By Coca-Cola NASCAR Nationwide Series race on Friday night, July 4 and the Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Saturday night, July 5. During Saturday’s 56th annual Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola, a special salute will take place for the four Medal of Honor recipients during pre-race ceremonies.
Fireworks: Following the checkered flag for the 56th annual Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola, Fireworks By Santore will illuminate the sky of Daytona International Speedway with a 15-minute show shot from 15 different locations located along the backstretch.
It will take seven days and a crew of 10 from Fireworks By Santore to set up the show, which is electronically fired using state-of-the-art digital firing equipment. To put together the largest fireworks show in the Southeast, Fireworks by Santore will utilize:
- Shells ranging in size from 1” to 8”
- 10,000+ lbs of explosive powder
- 11,000 individual explosions
New to the show this year will be Cube Pattern Shells that will produce a 3-D box with the letters U.S.A.
The types of shells range from the more traditional such as Chrysanthemum, Peonies, Dahlias, Willows and Salutes to specialty shells such as Smiley Faces, Star Patterns, Double Rings, 4 Color Changing, Shell of Shells, Crossettes, Strobing Diadems, Twilight Glitters and vibrant new pastel colors.
Other shells that are part of the show include Sweeping Rings, Sweeping Inward, Sweeping Outward, Mushroom, Jelly Fish, Cut Glass, Octopus, Kaleidoscopes, Diamond Screamers and Tourbillions.
The show will begin with red and white fireworks for 30 seconds and the finale will last for approximately one minute, 30 seconds and will have over 2,000 individual pieces. The show uses enough control wire to wrap a lap and a half around the legendary 2.5-mile tri-oval.
Pre-Race Show: Country music singer and songwriter, Lee Brice, whose list of hits include “A Woman Like You,” “Parking Lot Party,” CMA and ACM Song of the Year “I Drive Your Truck,” and “I Don’t Dance,” will perform an hour-long pre-race concert prior to the 56th annual Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Saturday, July 5 at Daytona International Speedway. The performance will begin at 5:30 p.m. along pit road in the tri-oval.
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