Four Former Daytona Champions Need Coke Zero Sugar 400 Victory to Secure Spot in NASCAR Playoffs - Engine Builder Magazine
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Four Former Daytona Champions Need Coke Zero Sugar 400 Victory to Secure Spot in NASCAR Playoffs

Capturing another Daytona International Speedway Champion’s trophy in the Aug. 28th Coke Zero Sugar 400 will have extra meaning to four former Champions of the iconic 2.5-mile venue.

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The Coke Zero Sugar 400 will serve as the final race of NASCAR’s regular season, and the “last-chance” event to make the 16-driver NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. This marks the second consecutive year that the Coke Zero Sugar 400 has served as the cut off race for the playoffs. For every driver who enters the race outside of the top 16, winning will be pretty much their only option in order to make the championship battle.

There’s a quartet of past Daytona Champion drivers who are currently on the outside of the playoff picture looking in (with just Michigan this weekend and then the Coke Zero Sugar 400 remaining).  To guarantee a spot in the playoffs, they are in a “must-win” situation and will need yet another piece of historic “World Center of Racing” hardware. They include:

  • Austin Dillon (No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet) is the 2018 DAYTONA 500 Champion and 2013 Xfinity Series Champion. In 16 races at DIS, he has one win and three top-five finishes. His most recent victory came a year ago at Texas. He is currently the first driver below the cutline in the NASCAR Cup Series standings, sitting just 28 points behind his teammate, Tyler Reddick, so he still has a chance to make it on points.
Austin Dillon was all smiles after his victory in the 2018 DAYTONA 500.
  • Ricky Stenhouse Jr., (No. 47 JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet) is the 2017 Coke Zero Sugar 400 Winner, 2020 DAYTONA 500 Busch Pole sitter and back-to back NASCAR Xfinity Series Champion in 2012 and 2013. In addition to his triumph at Daytona’s 2.5-mile trioval, he has a pair of top-five results. His Coke Zero Sugar 400 win was his last. His other career triumph came earlier that year at Talladega Superspeedway. He is currently 20th in the NASCAR Cup Series Standings.
  • Erik Jones (No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Chevrolet) is the 2018 Coke Zero Sugar 400 Winner and 2021 Busch Clash victory. He adds another top five result, along with three top 10s. He last visited the winners circle in the 2019 Cook Out Southern 500. He ranks 25th in the NASCAR Cup Series Standings.
  • Ryan Newman (No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford) is the 2008 DAYTONA 500 Winner. Newman’s resume is stellar at DIS with six top-five efforts and 12 top-10s in 39 starts. Phoenix in 2017 was the last time Newman tasted victory. He sits 26th in the NASCAR Cup Series Standings. 

Fans can catch this exciting conclusion to the regular season – the Coke Zero Sugar 400 – by purchasing tickets starting at $49 for adults and $10 for kids 12 and under. Fans who purchase tickets to the race can also purchase access to the UNOH Fanzone for $60. Here, fans can participate in events before the race.

Tickets for the Coke Zero Sugar 400 and the Wawa 250 Powered by Coca-Cola can be purchased online at or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.


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