Playoff Set with Rain Delayed Coke Zero 400

NASCAR Cup Series

It all comes down to this…

It’s the final race of the 2022 Cup Series season. Last week at Watkins Glen, Chase Elliott was named the regular season champion. Currently Elliott and 13 other race winning drivers have secured spots in the playoffs. By the end of the Coke Zero 400 on the high banks of Daytona International Speedway the final two spots will be filled.

On Thursday, 23XL Racing announced that they had removed the medical waiver saved for Kurt Busch when it was revealed that Busch has not been medically cleared to continue racing as of yet. It is currently unknown how long Busch will be out of the number 45 car.

Minor team owner for 23XL, Denny Hamlin has stated that decisions on returning to racing are strictly up to Kurt Busch. Busch signed a multi year contract with 23XL; but Busch’s immediate future is still unclear while he continues to recuperate from a concussion after a qualifying accident at Pocono in early July.

With Kurt Busch unable to driver the number 45 car, Xfinity Series driver for Joe Gibbs Racing, Ty Gibbs has been filling in and will continue to do so until Busch can return. The team has said that while unable to drive, Busch has been a great help with the team and helping Gibbs in the car.

Six Cup Series teams penalized in pre-race inspection at Daytona

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — NASCAR officials penalized six Cup Series teams for multiple failures in Friday’s pre-race inspection at Daytona International Speedway.

Those teams each had one crew member ejected before Saturday’s Coke Zero Sugar 400 (7 p.m. ET, NBC, Peacock, MRN, SiriusXM), the last race in the Cup Series’ regular season.

Thunderstorms and lightening cancelled out any practice and qualifying on Friday afternoon; however, Mother Nature does not stop the pre-race inspection process. Six teams failed the inspection process twice and will lose a crew member for the weekend; as well as, selecting their pit stalls. The drivers will maintain their original starting spots.

The teams that had inspection issues are:
the number three Richard Childress Racing car driven by Austin Dillon
the number 14 Stewart-Haas Racing car driven by Chase Briscoe
the Joe Gibbs Racing number 19 car driven by Martin Truex Jr
the number 41 Stewart-Haas Racing car driven by Cole Custer
The number 43 Petty GMS Motorsports car driven by Erik Jones
The number 78 Live Fast Motorsports car driven by BJ McLeod

After the cancellation of qualifying, the field was set by the NASCAR rule book, putting Kyle Larson on the pole with teammate Chase Elliott alongside on the front row.

The starting lineup for the Coke Zero 400:
Kyle Larson
Chase Elliott
Joey Logano
Daniel Suarez
Christopher Bell
Tyler Reddick
Kevin Harvick
Chris Buescher
Michael McDowell
Alex Bowman
Ross Chastain
Martin Truex Jr
Austin Cindric
Cole Custer
Ryan Blaney
William Byron
Justin Haley
Denny Hamlin
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Austin Dillon
Kyle Busch
Ty Gibbs
Brad Keselowski
Ty Dillon
Chase Briscoe
Aric Almirola
Daniel Hemric
Harrison Burton
Bubba Wallace
Corey LaJoie
Todd Gilliland
Cody Ware
David Ragan
Landon Cassill
BJ McLeod
Noah Gragson

And once again Mother Nature has spoken and rainy skies have delayed the scheduled start of the race. At 8:02pmEDT, NASCAR has called the race and announced that it will take place at 10am on Sunday morning.


After the rains washed out a Saturday night of racing, NASCAR and the Cup Series returns to the high banks of Daytona for an early morning race on Sunday.

Stage one of the race is 35 laps, stage two is 60 laps, and stage three is 65 laps for a total of 160 laps around the 2.5 mile track.

The drivers can run 42 to 45 laps on a single load of fuel. Teams have just six sets of tires in the pits for the race.

Kyle Larson brings the field down for the green flag start of the race on a cloudy humid Sunday morning with Kyle Larson getting out in front initially but a big push from Joey Logano puts Chase Elliott in the lead.

Chase Elliott leads lap number one with Joey Logano in second; Christopher Bell, Kevin Harvick, and Michael McDowell round out the top five.

Lap three, after dropping to seventh, Kyle Larson begins moving back up through the field and is in a battle with Kevin Harvick for fourth.

Chase Elliott leads the race with Joey Logano in second; Christopher Bell, Kevin Harvick, and Michael McDowell round out the top five. Kyle Larson falls back to ninth.

Lap six, the top nine drivers have gotten single file.

Lap seven, Chase Elliott has led every lap so far with Joey Logano in second.

Lap eight, the top 15 drivers are now single file with Chase Elliott leading the way. Pole sitter Kyle Larson has fallen to 21st.

Lap 10, Chase Elliott continues to lead the race with Joey Logano in second; Christopher Bell, Kevin Harvick, and Michael McDowell round out the top five.

Lap 14, Chase Elliott leads the field of drivers that are hitting speeds of 193mph.

Kyle Larson heads for pit road very slowly with some kind of issue and heads for the garage with no power.

Lap 15, top five are Chase Elliott, Joey Logano, Christopher Bell, Kevin Harvick, and Michael McDowell.

Austin Cindric lost the draft after having to check up when Kyle Larson got slowed on the track.

Lap 19, Chase Elliott continues to lead the race but Erik Jones comes up to challenge for the lead.

Lap 20, the top five are Chase Elliott, Erik Jones, Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin, and Ryan Blaney.

Erik Jones continues to battle with Chase Elliott for the lead with Elliott on the inside lane.

Lap 24, the battle for the lead continues with Chase Elliott and Erik Jones swapping the lead back and forth. Chase Elliott leads the race with Joey Logano in second; Erik Jones, Denny Hamlin, and Christopher Bell round out the top five.

Lap 26, Erik Jones is back out in front with Chase Elliott in second.

Kyle Larson is out of the race with a blown engine.

The top five are Erik Jones, Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott, and Joey Logano.

The top five drivers have all won a race at Daytona.

Lap 30, the caution flag comes out for a multi car incident involving Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney, Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick, Ty Gibbs, and Christopher Bell. Bell is stopped on the track with safety crews on the scene. Denny Hamlin got loose when pushing Erik Jones to start the melee.

After losing the draft, Austin Cindric had just been lapped when the caution flag came out and is the “lucky dog”.

Some of the drivers come down pit road for service. Tyler Reddick is on pit road with the hood up.

Chase Elliott brings the field down for a one lap shootout to the end of stage one. Ryan Blaney is back on the track and running despite a heavily damaged car from the crash. Joey Logano gets out in front for the lead with Chase Elliott in second; Harrison Burton, Martin Truex Jr, and Kyle Busch round out the top five.

Joey Logano and Chase Elliott battle for the lead.

Joey Logano wins stage one.

The top 10 at the end of stage one:
Joey Logano
Chase Elliott
Harrison Burton
Kyle Busch
Martin Truex Jr
Corey LaJoie
Bubba Wallace
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Erik Jones
Michael McDowell

Brad Keselowski’s crew failed to complete repairs before the ”crash clock” ran out and is out of the race.

Drivers who did not pit at the caution come down pit road for service. Kyle Busch will have to restart the race from the back of the field after being charged with running over equipment during his pit stop.

At over 194mph, Justin Haley has run the fastest lap of the race so far.

Corey LaJoie is the race leader with Bubba Wallace in second; Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Erik Jones, and Michael McDowell round out the top five. None of the top five drivers are currently in the playoffs.

Corey LaJoie brings the field down for the green flag start of stage two on lap 40 with Bubba Wallace on the outside. Corey LaJoie and Bubba Wallace battle for the lead with Wallace getting out in front.

Lap 41, Bubba Wallace leads the race with Erik Jones in second. Erik Jones takes the lead with Corey LaJoie in second.

Lap 42, Corey LaJoie takes the lead as he battle with Erik Jones for the top spot.

Lap 43, Corey LaJoie leads the race with Chris Buescher in second; Alex Bowman, Erik Jones, and Bubba Wallace rounding out the top five.

Lap 45, Erik Jones takes the lead with Bubba Wallace in second; Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Corey LaJoie, and Chris Buescher round out the top five.

Lap 47, Erik Jones is the race leader with Bubba Wallace in second; Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Corey LaJoie, and Todd Gilliland round out the top five.

Lap 50, Chris Buescher takes the lead with Corey LaJoie in second.

Lap 51, Erik Jones and Chris Buescher battle for the lead.

Lap 52, Chris Buescher retakes the lead as the battle between Buescher and Erik Jones continues and they swap the lead back and forth.

Only 1.5 seconds separates the top 30 drivers.

In a battle for a playoff spot, Ryan Blaney is one lap down with a damaged car. Currently he is one point behind Martin Truex Jr.

Lap 55, Erik Jones leads the race with Alex Bowman in second; William Byron, Chris Buescher, and Denny Hamlin round out the top five.

After having to restart the race from the back of the field, Kyle Busch is just outside the top 10 in eleventh.

Lap 57, William Byron and Erik Jones battle for the lead.

Lap 60, Erik Jones is the leader with William Byron in second; Chris Buescher, Alex Bowman, and Corey LaJoie round out the top five. Jones passes Ryan Blaney to put him a second lap down.

With a 60 lap stage, the drivers must make a pit stop at some point in the stage.

Lap 62, Erik Jones leads the race with Alex Bowman in second as they approach slower traffic.

Denny Hamlin takes the lead with Joey Logano in second; Harrison Burton, Kyle Busch, and Daniel Hemric round out the top five.

Lap 67, Denny Hamlin holds on to the lead with Joey Logano in second; Harrison Burton, Kyle Busch, and Justin Haley round out the top five.

After leading 22 laps, Erik Jones has lost the draft and has fallen back in the field. He reports a loose condition in the car as temperatures heat up.

Lap 71 is the leader with Joey Logano in second; Harrison Burton, Kyle Busch, and Justin Haley round out the top five. Ryan Blaney is now three laps down with a flapping hood.

Lap 74, even though he is three laps down, Ryan Blaney is still ahead of Martin Truex Jr in points and is currently in 15th place of the 16 playoffs spots.

Lap 76, the four Toyota drivers come down pit road for their green flag pit stops. Joey Logano is the new leader.

Lap 78, more drivers come down pit road for their pit stops. BJ McLeod is the new leader. Several of the teams took fuel only.

Lap 79, the remainder of the field makes their green flag pit stops.

Lap 80, halfway, Chase Elliott is the new leader with Tyler Reddick in second; Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Kyle Busch, and Harrison Burton round out the top five.

Lap 81, Tyler Reddick leads the race with Kyle Busch in second; Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr, and Bubba Wallace round out the top five.

Lap 83, Tyler Reddick leads the race with Kyle Busch in second, but Chase Elliot is bringing a pack of drivers toward the front.

Lap 84 Chase Elliott takes the lead but Tyler Reddick battles for the spot.

Lap 86, Chase Elliott leads the race on the inside lane with Tyler Reddick in the outside lane. Tyler Reddick retakes the lead.

Lap 86, Kyle Busch gets out in front from the outside lane. Tyler Reddick comes up on the inside to battle for the lead.

Lap 88, Kyle Busch leads the race on the outside lane with Tyler Reddick on the inside in a battle for the lead.

Lap 90, Tyler Reddick leads the race after a push from Chase Elliott.

Lap 91, Kyle Busch is back out in front with the lead.

Lap 93 with only two laps remaining in stage two, drivers care battling aggressively for position…and stage points.

Lap 95, Kyle Busch wins stage two for his second stage win of the season.

The top 10 at the end of stage two:
Kyle Busch
Martin Truex Jr
Denny Hamlin
Joey Logano
Bubba Wallace
Todd Gilliland
Tyler Reddick
Kevin Harvick
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Austin Dillon

Drivers come down pit road for service with Michael McDowell winning the race off of pit road after taking fuel only.

Kyle Busch was caught speeding on pit road and will have to restart the race from the back of the field.

After staying out on the track, Ty Dillon is the new leader with BJ McLeod in second.

Michael McDowell is the leader and brings the field down for the green flag start of stage three on lap 100 and holds on to the lead.

Lap 101, Joey Logano takes the lead.

Denny Hamlin reports a vibration.

Michael McDowell gets turned around and causes a big crash; bringing out the caution flag. Martin Truex Jr, Ross Chastain, Tyler Reddick, Corey LaJoie, William Byron, and Chris Buescher are all involved in the crash. Ross Chastain is out of his car and out of the race from crash damage. The damage to Martin Truex Jr’s car is similar to that of Ryan Blaney.

Joey Logano is the leader of the race.

Laps down, Ty Gibbs gets one of his laps back as the “lucky dog”.

Michael McDowell is out of the race; he reports that they know the bad weather is coming and were racing to beat the weather when the crash happened.

Joey Logano brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 107 and holds on to the lead with Alex Bowman in second.

Tyler Reddick takes the lead.

After Reddick could not block the lane, Joey Logano comes up to take the lead.

Lap 109, Joey Logano leads the race with Alex Bowman in second; Tyler Reddick, Ricky Stenhouse Jr, and Austin Cindric round out the top five.

Tyler Reddick takes the lead.

Lap 111, Tyler Reddick leads the race with Ricky Stenhouse Jr in second.

Lap 113, Tyler Reddick holds on to the lead with Bubba Wallace in second.

With a dark horizon over the beach, the drivers are getting very aggressive in a battle for position. Alex Bowman leads the race.

Lap 115, Alex Bowman leads the race with Ricky Stenhouse Jr in second; Joey Logano, Chase Briscoe, and Cole Custer round out the top five.

Lap 117, Alex Bowman has the lead with Ricky Stenhouse Jr in second; Joey Logano, Chase Briscoe, and Cole Custer round out the top five.

Lap 118, after a second pit road penalty and starting from the back of the field, Kyle Busch has entered the top 10.

Lap 120, Alex Bowman holds on to the lead with Ricky Stenhouse Jr in second; Kyle Busch, Joey Logano, and Bubba Wallace round out the top five.

Lap 123, with another pit stop looming, crews are busy working on making deals for pit stops in groups.

Chris Buescher takes the lead.

The caution flag comes out on lap 124 for a crash when Chase Briscoe’s car spins out. Austin Dillon, Cole Custer, Bubba Wallace, Harrison Burton, Todd Gilliland, Alex Bowman, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr were all involved in the crash. Many of the drivers involved in the crash were in a must win situation.

Joey Logano is the leader with Justin Haley in second; Erik Jones, Daniel Hemric, and Denny Hamlin round out the top five.

Drivers come down pit road for their pit stops; with many taking fuel only.

There is a fire in Martin Truex Jr’s pit. He gets away and the fire is out.

Justin Haley, Erik Jones, and BJ McLeod stay out on the track.

Justin Haley brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 130.

The caution flag comes out after Joey Logano and Erik Jones makes contact. All four of Erik Jones’ tires were flat. Joey Logano is stopped on the track with flat tires and won’t move.

Lap 132, Justin Haley leads the race with Aric Almirola in second; Daniel Suarez, Chris Buescher, and Kyle Busch round out the top five.

Justin Haley brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 134 with Aric Almirola alongside. Justin Haley holds on to the lead.

Daniel Suarez passes Justin Haley for the lead with Aric Almirola in second; Justin Haley, Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin round out the top five.

Lap 136, Denny Hamlin takes the lead with Daniel Suarez in second.

Drivers are three wide across the field.

A massive “the big one” collects most of the field after Denny Hamlin gets into the wall…and the rains come.

Austin Dillon manages to make it through the melee to lead the race. It’s raining but the sun is out with rain in only parts of the track.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr has a flat tire and gets stuck in the grass and mud.

After the big crash Austin Dillon is the leader with Kevin Harvick in second; Cody Ware, Landon Cassill, and Kyle Busch round out the top five.

NASCAR has brought the cars down pit road and the race has been red flagged. The front stretch is drenched moving into the infield but the remainder of the track are dry and under the sun.

Under the “what if” category…should the race be called and Austin Dillon wins the race, he will be in the playoffs. In the battle between Ryan Blaney and Martin Truex Jr, Truex is currently 12 points in front of Blaney and would be the final driver into the playoffs.

Justin Haley reports that the rain was the cause of the big crash which involved Denny Hamlin, Daniel Suarez, Kevin Harvick, Tyler Reddick, Chase Elliott, Aric Almirola, Denny Hamlin, Daniel Hemric, Chris Buescher, Kyle Busch, Harrison Buron, Bubba Wallace, Justin Haley, Ty Dillon, Erik Jones, Ricky Stenhouse Jr, and Cody Ware.

Kevin Harvick also reports that the rain was responsible for the wreck.

After being checked at the infield care center, Denny Hamlin also reports that the rain was the cause of the wreck.

Currently there are just 17 cars on the lead lap.

After NASCAR has checked all the data, Austin Dillon is listed as the leader with Kevin Harvick in second; Austin Cindric, Cody Ware, and Kyle Busch round out the top five.

Track drying is going on and should not take a great deal of time provided no more rain occurs.

The heavy rains have arrived.

DIS is eight miles from the beach; broadcast crews spotted a waterspout out over the Atlantic Ocean form the track.

NASCAR has announced that they will do everything possible to get the full 160 lap race in.

At 1:54pmEDT the rains have lightened considerably and officials anticipate track drying started soon.

At 3:30pm track drying continues, but racing is expected to resume shortly after 4pm.

After a rain delay of over three hours, the track is dry and the cars are moving once again!

Harrison Burton is out of the race after the crews could not complete repairs in time under the “crash clock”.

Stewart-Haas Racing has also pulled Kevin Harvick’s car out of the race due to damage.

Only 14 cars remain in the race with just four cars with no crash damage.

Austin Dillon leads the race with Austin Cindric in second; Cody Ware, Martin Truex Jr, and Landon Cassill round out the top five.

With just 10 cars on the lead lap, Austin Dillon brings the field down for the green flag restart with 16 laps remaining in the race from the inside lane. Austin Cindric gets the lead after a push from behind.

Austin Cindric leads the race with Austin Dillon on his bumper; Landon Cassill, Martin Truex Jr, and Kyle Busch round out the top five.

Lap 146, Austin Cindric leads the way with Austin Dillon in tow; Landon Cassill, Martin Truex Jr, and Kyle Busch round out the top five.

Lap 148, 12 to go, Austin Cindric holds on to the lead with Austin Dillon in second; Landon Cassill, Martin Truex Jr, and Noah Gragson round out the top five.

Lap 149, it’s a battle of the Austin’s with Dillon challenging leader Cindric. Tyler Reddick and Noah Gragson have paired up and drafting their way forward.

Lap 151, Austin Cindric holds on to the lead with Austin Dillon in second; Noah Gragson, Tyler Reddick, and Landon Cassill round out the top five. Austin Cindric and Tyler Reddick have already qualfied for the playoffs; Landon Cassill and Noah Gragson are not eligible for the playoffs; leaving Austin Dillon as the only driver in the top five that can advance to the playoffs with a win.

Just seven laps remaining in the race; Daytona 500 winner Austin Cindric leads the race with Austin Dillon in second; Noah Gragson, Tyler Reddick, and Landon Cassill round out the top five.

Cole Custer has a flat tire and drops debris on the track but it is not where the drivers run and the track stays green.

Austin Cindric holds on to the lead with three laps to go.

Austin Dillon takes the lead as Austin Cindric falls away with a possible issue.

Austin Dillon takes the white flag with Tyler Reddick in second; Landon Cassill, Noah Gragson, and David Ragan round out the top five.

Austin Dillon leads the race going into turn four with teammate Tyler Reddick in tow.

Austin Dillon wins the Coke Zero 400 for his first win of the season and a spot in the playoffs.

By just three points, Ryan Blaney secures the final spot in the playoffs!

The unofficial results of the Coke Zero 400:
Austin Dillon
Tyler Reddick
Austin Cindric
Landon Cassill
Noah Gragson
Cody Ware
BJ McLeod
Martin Truex Jr
David Ragan
Kyle Busch
Bubba Wallace
Joey Logano
Ty Gibbs
Alex Bowman
Ryan Blaney
Cole Custer
Erik Jones
Ty Dillon
Harrison Burton
Kevin Harvick
Aric Almirola
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Todd Gilliland
Daniel Suarez
Denny Hamlin
Daniel Hemric
Chris Buescher
Justin Haley
Chase Elliott
Chase Briscoe
Corey LaJoie
Michael McDowell
Ross Chastain
William Byron
Brad Keselowski
Christopher Bell
Kyle Larson


Chase Elliott is the regular season champion and will lead the way into the playoffs.

The 16 playoff drivers are:
Chase Elliott
Kyle Larson
Ross Chastain
Joey Logano
William Byron
Kevin Harvick
Denny Hamlin
Tyler Reddick
Christopher Bell
Chase Briscoe
Kyle Busch
Daniel Suarez
Austin Cindric
Alex Bowman
Austin Dillon
Ryan Blaney


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