The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series returns to Daytona International Speedway and NBC tonight. There has been a different winner in each of the last four restrictor-plate races, dating back to last season. Those winners were: Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Kurt Busch, Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski. Will there be another new name to the list? Will it be Dale Earnhardt Jr., who is competing in his final Cup race at Daytona as a full-time series driver.
Here are the particulars for today’s race:
(All times are Eastern)
START: General Wesley Clark, U.S. Army (retired), will give the command for drivers to start engines at 7:41 p.m. The green flag is scheduled for 7.55 p.m. After one pace lap, the cars will return to pit road. A caravan of seven trucks carrying U.S. flags and five service flags will travel on the track. Cars will then exit pit road and resume two pace laps.
DISTANCE: The race is scheduled for 160 laps (400 miles) around the 2.5-mile speedway.
STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 40. Stage 2 ends on Lap 80.
PRERACE SCHEDULE: The Cup garage opens at 3 p.m. The drivers meeting is at 5:45 p.m. Driver introductions are at 7 p.m.
NATIONAL ANTHEM: The Navy Band Southeast will perform the Anthem at 7:31 p.m.
TV/RADIO: NBC will broadcast the race at 7:30 p.m. Coverage begins with at 5 p.m. with NASCAR America on NBCSN. Motor Racing Network will broadcast the race on radio and at mrn.com. MRN’s coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry MRN’s broadcast.
FORECAST: The wunderground.com site predicts 83 degrees at race time with a 4 percent chance of rain at the start of the race.
LAST YEAR: Brad Keselowski led 115 of 161 laps to win. Kyle Busch placed second. Trevor Bayne was third.
LAST TIME: Kurt Busch took the lead from Kyle Larson on the last lap of the Daytona 500 after Larson ran out of fuel. Ryan Blaney was second. AJ Allmendinger placed third.
STARTING LINEUP: Click here for the row-by-row starting lineup for the Coke Zero 400.
AJ Allmendinger lost the engine on his No. 47 Chevrolet on Lap 33 of Sunday’s Cup race at Sonoma Raceway, not long after winning Stage 1.
Allmendinger was running in 13th when the engine blew, a result of a bad shift. It is his first DNF at Sonoma.
The JTG Daugherty Racing driver, a favorite to contend in road course races, had started the race in fifth and made it to second before drifting back.
Once the race leaders pitted with four and three laps left in the stage, Allmendinger took the lead.
Allmendinger has started in the top five in the last five Sonoma races and not finished better than 14th.
Jamie McMurray also experienced a mechanical issue that caused his engine to shut off and lose oil pressure. He was pushed to the garage.
The NASCAR community paid tribute to World of Outlaws driver Jason Johnson, who died after a sprint car crash Saturday night at Beaver Dam (Wisconsin) Raceway.
Johnson crashed after a restart racing for the lead. Witnesses said that Johnson’s car flipped and went through billboards outside Turn 3, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Johnson won the 2016 Knoxville Nationals. He finished sixth in the points last year in the World of Outlaws.
There has been a different winner in each of the last nine Cup races at Sonoma Raceway, site of today’s Cup race. Those nine winners have been Kasey Kahne, Jimmie Johnson, Kurt Busch, Clint Bowyer, Martin Truex Jr., Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch, Tony Stewart and Kevin Harvick.
Will there be a 10th different winner at the road course?
Here is all the information for today’s race.
(All times are Eastern)
START: Olympic gold medalist Jonny Moseley will give the command to start engines at 3:01 p.m. The green flag is scheduled to wave at 3:13 p.m.
DISTANCE: The race is scheduled for 110 laps (218.9 miles) around the 1.99-mile road course.
STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 25. Stage 2 ends on Lap 50.
PRERACE SCHEDULE: Garage opens at 10:30 a.m. Driver/crew chief meeting is at 1 p.m. Driver introductions are at 2:20 p.m.
NATIONAL ANTHEM: Broadway Under The Stars in Sonoma Valley, Transcendence’s Meggie Cansler will perform the anthem at 2:55 p.m.
TV/RADIO: Fox Sports 1 will broadcast the race beginning at 3 p.m. Coverage begins at 1:30 p.m. Performance Racing Network’s radio broadcast begins at 2 p.m. and also can be heard at goprn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will have PRN’s broadcast.
FORECAST: wunderground.com calls for a high of 80 degrees and a zero percent chance of rain at the start of the race.
LAST TIME: Kevin Harvick led the final 22 laps to win last year’s race. Clint Bowyer placed second. Brad Keselowski finished third.
STARTING LINEUP: Click here for full qualification results.
Here’s a look at who the NBC Sports staff is picking to win today’s Cup race at Sonoma Raceway.
Martin Truex Jr. He probably had the best car at Sonoma last year; his team closes the deal this season.
Kevin Harvick. No one can stop him on an oval or a road course.
William Byron pulls off a shocking win in his first Cup race at Sonoma.
Jamie McMurray seesaws through the field, but gets track position in the closing laps.