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NASCAR Cup: Coke Zero Sugar 400 postponed until Sunday

DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA – JULY 04: Ricky Stenhouse Jr., driver of the #17 Fifth Third Bank Ford, leads a pack of cars during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 04, 2019 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

By AMANDA VINCENT

Rain at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway on Saturday has forced the postponement of the Coke Zero Sugar 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race from its scheduled 7:30 p.m. ET start to 1 p.m. Sunday. Despite the change, live TV coverage will remain with NBC.

Inclement weather also resulted in the cancellation of pole qualifying Friday. That cancellation came after lightning strikes in the area prevented NASCAR officials from inspecting cars in time for the scheduled qualifying session. The race field was set by car owner points, putting Joey Logano on the pole and Kyle Busch next to him on the front row.

Kyle Larson, William Byron, Brendan Gaughan, Justin Haley and Joey Gase will drop to the back for the green flag. Larson and Byron will fall back from top-15 official starting positions. Gaughan, Haley and Gase already were expected to start outside the top-30. Byron’s drop to the back will come in a backup car after an incident with Brad Keselowski in final practice Thursday. The other four drivers required to fall to the back will do so because of work performed on their car after the allowable time.

The 2019 Coke Zero Sugar 400 will be the final time the race will be contested on July 4 weekend, as it’ll be replaced by the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on the 2020 holiday weekend. The Coke Zero Sugar 400 will be the last race of the 26-race regular season, in late August, next season.

This weekend’s race also will be the first at Daytona without restrictor plates since 1987. Instead, the superspeedway variation of the 2019 aerodynamic rules package used in late April at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, including tapered spacers (somewhat similar to restrictor plates) and a spoiler wicker, will be used. The previous season’s aero package was used in the season-opening Daytona 500 in February.

Less than a week ago, NASCAR announced changes to the stage lengths for the Coke Zero Sugar 400. The 160-lap race distance will be divided into two 50-lap stages and a final 60-lap stage.

Erik Jones is the defending winner of the Coke Zero Sugar 400, his first, and to this point only, Cup Series win. Denny Hamlin is the most recent Daytona winner as the 2019 Daytona 500 champion.

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Posted by on July 7, 2019. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,Monster Energy NASCAR Cup,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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