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Returning Daytona’s July race to a morning start not being considered, NASCAR says

1980 Firecracker 400

1980 Firecracker 400

Getty Images

Don’t count on NASCAR moving the start of the July Sprint Cup race at Daytona International Speedway back to the morning, a series official says.

Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer, said this week on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that “I wouldn’t look to us to go back to a morning race’’ at Daytona in July.

The event, formerly known as the Firecracker 400, started at 10 or 11 a.m. on July 4 to avoid the afternoon heat and showers. It was moved off the July 4 holiday to a Saturday afternoon start in 1988. The event has been run at night since 1998.

O’Donnell was asked on “The Morning Drive’’ earlier this week about the possibility of returning the race to a morning start.

“I don’t think so,’' O’Donnell said. “I think the sport is so big now and there are so many partners that are involved.

“I know it might be easier to look at an 11 a.m. start. It’s our job to look at all factors to grow the sport as much as we can and make it as fan friendly as possible.’'

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