2016 saw NASCAR’s 4th of July weekend tradition return to its usual Saturday night spot with the first Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola at the world's only motorsports stadium.
As always, there was plenty of excitement, from Montgomery Gentry’s pre-race concert to the thrilling finish that saw Brad Keselowski capture his first DAYTONA win and the largest fireworks show in the Southeast.
Join us in 2017 for an historic weekend of racing (June 29-July 1), highlighted by the 59th running of the Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola on July 1.
On the end of the Subway Firecracker 250:
“It was close … really close. I knew they had wrecked behind me and I was like, ‘When are they gonna throw the caution?’ because I knew I was ahead. … This is crazy.”
On the magnitude of his Coke Zero 400 win:
“Well, there's a lot of numbers. Let me see if I can get them all right. This is the 250th start, year 50 for Team Penske, 100th Cup win for Team Penske, my 20th win, and we finished first. I like that number the best. But really happy and proud for our team to be in victory lane tonight. It was a good effort for us for sure.”
On winning the Coke Zero 400:
"Well, I think winning a race on the 4th of July weekend and thinking about all the people that support our country and make our country safe, I just am proud to be an American I guess is the most important thing on the 4th of July weekend."
On what it means to win at DAYTONA:
“My family has been coming here for a long time, and I've had zero success here as a driver. I think we've led a lot of laps in XFINITY and Cup and even some in truck and haven't been able to close it out. To do it tonight is a big deal for me personally.”
Telvin Smith, Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker
On driving the pace car:
“I’m very prepared. I was excited to get out in the car, even if I was a little skittish about having all of those other cars behind me. I’m really looking forward to it. It’s my first NASCAR experience and this big for me.”
On his third-place finish in the Coke Zero 400:
“To have a top-three finish today, it's really a great day for us and a great day for Roush Fenway Racing and Ford. For our organization to be on the pole this weekend, to have three cars in the top eight, two in the top five, I think that's kind of a landmark for us as an organization with the struggles we've had to get all three teams running strong on a weekend like this.”
On winning the Coke Zero 400 pole:
“We knew the car had pretty good speed from our practice, but we never had made a mock qualifying run so it was bit of an unknown. We thought for sure that the car would have enough speed to run in the top ten. There’s a lot of pressure to not make any little mistakes. I made two good laps and the car has a lot of speed.”
Command Sergeant Major Gary Littrell, Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient
On what it’s like to be at Daytona:
“It’s always good for me to be back here. I’m here every year and, if the good lord is willing, I’ll be back next year. Being a big NASCAR fan, this mean a lot. But more importantly, what is the Fourth of July? To a lot of people, the Fourth of July is a picnic and a NASCAR race, but to me and hopefully to a lot of others, it goes deeper. This is Independence Day. This is where we are a free country.”
Specialist Ty Carter, Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient
On his experience this weekend:
“The people here treat me like I’m a part of the family. The power of these vehicles are awesome, the drivers are excellent and it’s so interesting to observe the pit crews and learn just how technical and scientific the sport is. I am completely and totally impressed and so privileged that I’m participating in this event.”
Captain Florent Groberg, Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient
On his first NASCAR race:
“I love it. I can see why people are such fans of this sport. You can see why NASCAR says they have the greatest fans in the world. They see a person in a uniform and want to shake their hands. This is America at its best.”
What was your favorite moment from the 2016 Coke Zero 400? Let us know in the comment box below! Tickets to the 2017 Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola are on sale now! Click here or call 1-800-PITSHOP today to guarantee your spot at this Independence Day weekend tradition.