Dwell updates from the Coke Zero 400 NASCAR race, outcomes at Daytona

It’s always the last few laps and the inevitable crashes at Daytona International Speedway that help determine who gets the checkered flag.

But you have to drive all 160 laps of the Coke Zero Sugar 400 (that’s miles) to get there. Sometimes you run beyond that prescribed distance.

In 2021 the last few laps were indeed overshadowed by laps of overtime and on the last lap of overtime Ryan Blaney emerged and won as cars crashing behind him ended the race.

The Daytona summer race, a long-established Fourth of July tradition, is now a late-August thriller. The NASCAR regular season is ending and in 2022 there are two racers – Ryan Blaney and Martin Truex Jr. – in the playoff bubble sitting 15th and 16th in points, knowing that only the top 16 drivers will make the 10-race playoffs with a chance to reach the playoffs 2022 Cup Series Championship.

If a 2022 non-winner other than Blaney or Truex wins Saturday night and automatically advances to the playoffs, Blaney and Truex will settle that final playoff spot using the updated scores. Blaney heads into Saturday with a 25-point lead over Truex.

NBC’s coverage of the Coke Zero Sugar 400 on Saturday begins at 7:00 p.m., with the green flag – weather permitting – scheduled for 7:45 p.m. Check entries as some local partners have diverted coverage to other channels instead of NFL coverage. Heading into Saturday afternoon, the forecast looks ominous, with showers and thunderstorms alternating later in the afternoon and into evening.

NASCAR officials, race teams, and fans are hoping it’s one of those instances where an approaching front fizzles out or is diverted.

Follow the update from the Daytona Beach News-Journal race writers:

WANNA BET?:Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona: NASCAR betting odds show some tempting underdogs

SIGNS OF RESPECT:Daytona Speedway’s Juanita ‘Lightnin’ Epton, who is still on the job at the age of 102, is getting time off work for the honor

KYLE LARSON:After dropping Chase Elliott, a return to Daytona, and yes, there’s a story

7:45 p.m.: Green Flag Time has now come and gone in Daytona

The Coke Zero Sugar 400 was supposed to turn green at 7:45, but as you may have noticed, it didn’t. The queue continues with no official word from NASCAR on how long we will wait tonight.

In the meantime, if you’re looking to expand your Daytona racing knowledge, take a look.

Speedway workers try to clear puddles out of the water

7:20 p.m.: A big, fat “Egal” from Daytona and the Coke Zero Sugar 400

Ignore the 6:45 update. It is raining again.

Nothing hard, just a drizzle. While many of the hundreds of fans gathering in the FanZone have ducked for cover, many are still wandering around without getting overly soaked.

Doesn’t matter. NASCAR and Daytona need zero rain and zero rain long enough to dry the track and a few more hours to do a 400 mile race here.

I hate to say, but if they can’t find a window tonight, Sunday doesn’t exactly look like a winner either.

If you’re looking for a less somber read, have you seen what Jeff Burton said about his memories of superspeedway racing?

Or how about a recap of underdog Jeremy Clements’ insane win at Wawa 25 on Friday night?

6:45 p.m.: Jet dryers will be in Daytona | brought to life Yeeee-ha!

The first chirping birds of spring. The first breath of cool air in autumn.

We all have our favorite hints of better things to come. For race fans on a rainy day, it’s the loud howl of the jet dryer.

NASCAR’s armada of dryers has taken off and begun to work slowly around the track surface, signaling that the weather has improved enough to make an attempt to soak all of the moisture out of the tarmac.

Unfortunately, various shades of green can still be seen on the surrounding radar and the hourly forecast suggests the current rain stop may be short-lived.

As always, we’ll see.

5:35pm: Some rain history for you

A new LED scoring pylon at Daytona International Speedway will issue a weather alert Saturday if heavy rain hits the area ahead of the scheduled time for the Coke Zero Sugar 400.

For all you weather trivia fans out there, here are some Coke Zero 400s that have been hit by rain in the 21st century. . .

• Races delayed by rain that started on Saturday and ended in the late hours of Sunday morning: 2004, 2005, 2010.

• Races shortened by rain: 2014, 2019.

• Races moved from Saturday evening to Sunday afternoon: 2014, 2019.

• The race was moved to Sunday by NBC, then postponed, and ends after midnight on Monday morning: 2015

5 p.m.: Does Coke Zero Sugar 400 start on time?

It’s already raining at Daytona International Speedway, and it’s been raining pretty hard.

In fact, it’s still raining.

And they say it’s going to rain for a while. Hopefully not for much longer, because the Coke Zero Sugar 400 is green-flagged for 7:45 p.m.

It’s not looking good folks. One possible scenario: We could watch a replay of Friday night’s Xfinity Series race — NASCAR waited for the doppler and eventually got into the entire Wawa 250, but only after a three-hour delay to the start.

Current figures say there is a 92 percent chance of prolonged showers at 5:30 a.m., 89 percent at 6 a.m., 72 percent at 7 a.m., and then a nosedive to 71 percent at 8 a.m.

We’ll keep you up to date.

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