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NASCAR at Daytona: everything you need to know about racing this weekend

Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Sports

NASCAR at Daytona: everything you need to know about racing this weekend

This weekend, NASCAR makes their final trip (for the forseeable future) to Daytona International Speedway on July 4 weekend for a summer spectacle: the Coke Zero 400.

Here's what we're watching for on Saturday night in the Coke Zero 400 (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. EDT on NBC).



Thursday, July 4
1:05 – 1:55 p.m. – Xfinity practice (NBCSN)
2:05 – 2:55 p.m. – Cup practice (NBCSN, Motor Racing Network)
3:05 – 3:55 p.m. – Final Xfinity practice (NBCSN)
4:05 – 4:55 p.m. – Final Cup practice (NBCSN, MRN)

Friday, July 5
3:35 p.m. – Xfinity qualifying; single car/one lap (NBCSN)
5:05 p.m. – Cup qualifying; single car/one lap (NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
7 p.m. – Xfinity driver introductions
7:30 p.m. – Circle K Firecracker 250; 100 laps/250 miles (NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Saturday, July 6
7:30 p.m. – Coke Zero Sugar 400; 160 laps/400 miles (NBC, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Daytona International Speedway: 2.5-mile tri-oval
Race information: 160 laps, 400 miles
Stage lengths: 50 laps, 50 laps, 60 laps
Defending winner: Erik Jones
Most wins (in July race): David Pearson (5)

All Good Things Come To An End

Well, it's been a good ride.

2019 marks the final season in which the July 4 race weekend will be held at Daytona. The tradition dates back to the early days of NASCAR, and has made for some cool moments. Especially this one, with "The King" Richard Petty and President Ronald Reagan sharing some Kentucky Fried Chicken on Independence Day weekend. It doesn't get much better than that...

The reason for the change is the schedule. Fans, drivers and teams alike have been clammering for a shakeup in the schedule, and they're getting it for 2020. The second Daytona race will be the regular season finale, sure to put on a show as drivers vy for the final playoff spot.

Last Shot At Surprise Winner? 

This weekend also marks the possible final weekend where a surprise winner winds up in Victory Lane.

Daytona and Talladega Superspeedway always present the opportunity for smaller, underfunded teams to be on par with the big bad wolfs of Joe Gibbs Racing, Team Penske and Stewart-Haas Racing. Why? The close quarters aspect of superspeedway racing evens the playing field, as allcars theoretically are on the same wavelength.

Package Tweaks

2019 has been all about the new aerodynamic rules package. But before any of that got started, the Daytona 500 happened. With the old iteration of the package.

This weekend will mark the first time that no restrictor plates will be used at DIS. Other changes specific to Daytona from the other superspeedway race that was held at Talladega earlier this season include:

  • 0.922-inch tapered spacer (replacing the restrictor plate)
  • 9-inch rear spoiler
  • 1-inch bolt-on track bar mount
  • Tapered radiator pan
  • Two-inch splitter overhang
  • Aero ducts

What does that all mean? NASCAR wants to avoid the cars getting airborne at high speeds. They believe these changes will help with that, along with improving the racing.


Next week, NASCAR heads to the bluegrass state in Kentucky Speedway for the Quaker State 400 on Saturday, July 12 at 7:30 p.m. EDT.

11.1.19 Rick Horrow interviews Alex Saratsis

NBC Sports

11.1.19 Rick Horrow interviews Alex Saratsis

Edited by Tanner Simkins

In the latest edition of Rick Horrow's Sports Business Podcast, Rick interviews Senior Director of Operations Alex Saratsis and breaks down the biggest sports business stories of the past week.


1. A new football league unveils its inaugural schedule. The XFL unveiled its 2020 schedule which will serve up a 10-week regular season that starts February 8 at 2 pm with the DC Defenders hosting the Seattle Dragons on ABC, followed by the Los Angeles Wildcats traveling to Houston for a game against the Roughnecks at 5 pm on FOX. According to Cynopsis Sports, the eight-team league is divided into two four-team divisions, East and West. The XFL East features the DC Defenders, New York Guardians, St. Louis BattleHawks, and the Tampa Bay Vipers while the Dallas Renegades, Houston Roughnecks, Los Angeles Wildcats, and Seattle Dragons comprise the XFL West. Overall, ABC and ESPN will combine to televise 22 games during the 2020 XFL season, concluding with the inaugural XFL Championship on April 26. ABC will televise 14 games with most telecasts starting at 2p on Saturdays and both ESPN and ESPN2 will combine to carry eight games, all on Sundays. The XFL season is being broadcast after the end of the NFL season which finishes in early February, but the XFL needs to be careful to not make the same mistakes as the AAF, which collapsed after just three months into its inaugural season in 2019.

2. National Women’s Soccer League inks an exclusive deal with Octagon for media rights and marketing consulting. According to Sports Video Group, Octagon will provide comprehensive media rights valuation, sales strategy services, and work directly with NWSL executives to secure and amplify new media distribution opportunities. In addition, Octagon’s Marketing division will assist the league with brand marketing, asset development, sponsorship valuation, and fan engagement insights to help generate increases in overall reach and revenue for the league and its teams. Featuring more than 200 of the world’s best professional soccer players, including U.S. Women’s National Team members and two-time World Cup Champions Megan Rapinoe, Carli Lloyd, and Alex Morgan, as well as international stars Marta, Christine Sinclair, and Sam Kerr, the NWSL is highlighted by 23 current FIFA Women’s World Cup Champions and 58 FIFA Women’s World Cup team members. Budweiser has also launched a campaign focused on finding the NWSL new sponsors as more money is being put into women’s soccer across the globe.

3. The sports world aims to tackle ocean plastic pollution. According to SportTechie, a research expedition embarked from the southwest coast of the U.K., on a two-year mission to sail westward around the world. The crew aboard the S.V. TravelEdge, a 73-foot floating laboratory, will travel 38,000-nautical-miles and cross all five of the world’s major ocean gyres, regions where rotating currents lead to the accumulation of floating plastic waste. The 300 women joining the all-female rotating team will investigate to find solutions to plastic pollution. The “eXXpedition Round The World” is being organized by sailor Emily Penn, who is among a growing group of athletes and people connected to the sports world that is advocating for and taking action to protect the environment. Another goal of Penn’s journey is to create a global network of ambassadors who can advocate helping solve the problem. She has been working with a larger environmental organization called 11th Hour Racing over the last few years to give talks and run workshops for other sailors to learn how they can play a role in tackling plastic pollution. By having athletes tackle environmental problems head-on, they can use their social influence to be advocates for policy and lifestyle change.

10.28.19 Rick Horrow interviews Lexi Thompson


10.28.19 Rick Horrow interviews Lexi Thompson

Edited by Tanner Simkins

In the latest edition of Rick Horrow's Sports Business Podcast, Rick interviews LPGA star Lexi Thompson and breaks down the biggest sports business stories of the past week.


1. Cristiano Ronaldo apparently earns more from Instagram than he does from playing soccer for Juventus. The 34-year-old pockets an annual $47.8 million from paid Instagram posts, according to a study by social media firm Hopper HQ on Buzz Bingo. In contrast, his salary at Juventus is reportedly $34 million, according to Goal.com. Ronaldo’s reported income from Instagram makes him the platform’s highest earner, ahead of Lionel Messi and Kylie Jenner. “Ronaldo is the most followed human on Instagram,“ a marketing executive from Hopper told Business Insider. "Companies are paying almost $1 million for posts to access his insane reach.” A quick check revealed that Ronaldo has 186 million Instagram followers, compared with Messi at 133 million and Kylie Jenner at 149 million. And while companies around the world that have shifted large percentages of their marketing budgets to social media influencers are reconsidering that strategy in light of disappointing ROI, clearly those that invest in Ronaldo consider it money well spent.

2. Formula 1 eyes Miami to host its first-ever Grand Prix after reaching an agreement in principle to host a race at Hard Rock Stadium beginning in 2021. The proposed Formula One Miami Grand Prix would see F1 cars navigating a custom-built track around the stadium. Formula One had initially set its sights on a downtown track location, only to scrap the proposal in favor of Hard Rock Stadium, home to the Miami Dolphins, after local opposition. Concerns remain among residents over noise, traffic and pollution, though organizers insist this new location would reduce disruption compared to a downtown race. According to the Miami Herald, Dolphins and stadium owner Steve Ross will cover all race costs, including an expected $40 million custom track. It takes Formula One a step closer to holding a second U.S. race, a long-held ambition for the global motor racing series’ owners, Liberty Media. Since 2012, the sole F1 stop in the U.S. has been the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. A Miami F1 race would have an estimated annual impact of more than $400 million and 35,000 room nights.

3. Twitter partners with Discovery and Eurosport in Europe for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Twitter will bring Eurosport’s coverage of the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics to users of the social media platform across Europe. The deal, unveiled at international TV market MIPCOM in Cannes, will see Eurosport publish real-time Olympic Games highlights on Twitter to complement its comprehensive coverage of Tokyo 2020. The sports network will provide 3,500 hours of coverage of the Games on its network, on Eurosport.com, and the Eurosport app. The tie-in will also allow Eurosport to offer Olympic Games advertisers dedicated sponsorship opportunities for Twitter content. The coverage will include highlights from Eurosport’s pre-Games Road to Tokyo coverage, extensive event highlight clips, as well as live coverage of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies. Twitter will also sell in-stream sponsorships together with Discovery and Eurosport sales teams. This opens a door for similar sponsorship opportunities through the Olympics and different social media players in North America.