VIDEO: Monster Energy, Xfinity Series Return To Daytona With Plenty of Mid-Season Storylines
By Space Coast Daily // June 28, 2017
DALE Jr.’s final NASCAR Series start at Daytona
ABOVE VIDEO: Dale Earnhardt Jr’s first win at Daytona came in the July race, less than six months after Dale Sr. was killed there in a final lap crash in the Daytona 500.
DAYTONA, FLORIDA – Dale Earnhardt Jr. is competing in his final full-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season and will make his final Monster Energy Series start at Daytona International Speedway in the 59th annual Coke Zero 400 on Saturday, July 1.
Earnhardt Jr. has 17 overall wins at Daytona International Speedway, third on the all-time wins list.
The son of seven time NASCAR champion, Dale Earnardt Sr., has won the Coke Zero 400 twice.
He won it in 2005 and did so for the first time back in 2001, just five months after his father was killed in a final lap crash coming out of turn four in the Daytona 500, ultimately won by DEI teammate Michael Waltrip.
Waltrip and Junior were first and second coming out of the final turn and Senior sat third, blocking potential last lap contenders when his car made contact with another car and suddenyl veered up the track and into the wall.
Fans activities around Earnhardt Jr’s final appearance will be plentiful throughout the race weekend.
The “World Center of Racing” will have a number of activities planned for race fans to honor and celebrate one of the most dominating drivers to have competed at the famed 2.5-mile tri-oval.
Highlighting those activities is the #Daletona mosaic, which will be located in the Axalta Injector of the motorsports stadium.
Fans will be able to create a piece of artwork to commemorate Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s final Monster Energy Series start at Daytona by submitting their favorite Earnhardt Jr. and Daytona International Speedway photos on Instagram and Twitter using #Daletona.
Submitted pictures will be printed out and placed onto the 15’ x 5.5’ (width x height) mosaic wall that will be on display in Level 1 of the Axalta Injector.
All the fan pictures in the mosaic will create a piece of artwork celebrating Earnhardt Jr.’s career at Daytona and will be delivered to him following the event.
Race fans on site can also take home a #Daletona-branded keepsake on Saturday by uploading their photo of themselves and their race-day experience at the mosaic in the Axalta Injector.
Among the other activities planned:
- No. 88 logo in the tri-oval grass
- Special video during pre-race ceremonies
- Dale Earnhardt Jr. Daytona highlights display and photo opportunity in the UNOH Fanzone
- Dale Jr. #APPRECI88ION Lap on Lap 88 of the Coke Zero 400 for fans throughout the facility to stand and recognize Earnhardt Jr.
- Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s greatest moments at Daytona bracket challenge at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com/dalejr
ABOVE VIDEO: 2017 DAYTONA 500 champion Kurt Busch will attempt to pull off the Daytona double by winning both Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races in the same year.
Kurt Busch eyes the Daytona double:
2017 DAYTONA 500 champion Kurt Busch will attempt to pull off the Daytona double by winning both Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races in the same year.
Drivers to previously sweep the DAYTONA 500 and the Coke Zero 400 in the same season are Jimmie Johnson (2013), Bobby Allison (1982), Fireball Roberts (1962), Cale Yarborough (1968) and LeeRoy Yarbrough (1969).
The race to make the playoffs:
The race to make NASCAR’s playoffs continues. With a victory in the Coke Zero 400, drivers can secure a berth in the 10-race postseason.
Defending race champion:
Brad Keselowski is the defending champion of the Coke Zero 400.
Keselowski will try to join the back-to-back club of Coke Zero 400 winners including Fireball Roberts (1962-63), A.J. Foyt (1964-65), Cale Yarborough (1967-68), David Pearson (1972-74) and Tony Stewart (2005-06).
Trio chasing history:
DAYTONA 500 champions Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth and Kurt Busch have a couple of pending pieces of history that they could make in this year’s Coke Zero 400.
Each could become the 20th driver to win “The Great American Race” and the Coke Zero 400.
They also could become the 10th driver to post a victory in every Monster Energy Series event at Daytona – the DAYTONA 500, Coke Zero 400, Advance Auto Parts Clash and Can-Am Duel.
ABOVE VIDEO: In this can’t miss video, Richard Petty captured win number 200, his final NASCAR win, in the 1984 400-mile race with President Ronald Reagan in attendance.
Happy Birthday to the ‘King:’
Richard Petty, NASCAR Hall of Famer and seven-time DAYTONA 500 champion, will celebrate his 80th birthday during the Coke Zero 400. Petty’s official birthday is July 2.
At Daytona, in addition to his record seven DAYTONA 500 victories, Petty captured win number 200, his final NASCAR win in the 1984 400-mile race with President Ronald Reagan in attendance.
Recently, Richard Petty Motorsports put the No. 43 back in Gatorade Victory Lane in the 2014 Coke Zero 400 with driver Aric Almirola.
During the race weekend, Petty’s 1974 DAYTONA 500-winning Dodge Charger will be on display in the UNOH Fanzone.
Stay tuned to Space Coast Daily and Space Coast Daily Sports Talk all week for all of your race weekend news and notes.
Space Coast Daily’s Alan Zlotorzynski will be live in Daytona this Saturday for Juniors final run.
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