Coke Zero Sugar 400

Date: Aug. 26, 2023
Event: Coke Zero Sugar 400 (Round 26 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway (2.5-mile oval)
Format: 160 laps, broken into three stages (40 laps/40 laps/80 laps)
Note: Race extended three laps past its scheduled 160-lap distance due to a green-white-checkered finish.

Race Winner: Chris Buescher of RFK Racing (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: Martin Truex Jr., of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner: Brad Keselowski of RFK Racing (Ford)

SHR Race Finish:
● Aric Almirola (Started 2nd, Finished 3rd/ Running, completed 163 of 163 laps)

SHR Regular-Season Points:
● Aric Almirola (23rd with 447 points, 437 out of first)

SHR Notes:
● Almirola earned his first top-five and third top-10 of the season. It was his fourth top-five and fifth top-10 in 24 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Daytona.
● This was Almirola’s best finish so far this year. His previous best was sixth, earned April 16 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.
● Almirola led once for three laps to increase his laps-led total at Daytona to 48.

Race Notes:
● Chris Buescher won the Coke Zero Sugar 400 to score his fifth career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his third of the season and his first at Daytona. His margin over second-place Brad Keselowski was .098 of a second.
● This was Ford’s 726th all-time NASCAR Cup Series victory and its fifth of the season.
● This was Ford’s 41st NASCAR Cup Series victory at Daytona. Ford won its first race at Daytona on Feb. 24, 1963 with Tiny Lund.
● There were three caution periods for a total of 18 laps.
● Twenty-five of the 39 drivers in the race finished on the lead lap.
● Martin Truex Jr., won the NASCAR Cup Series regular-season championship.

Sound Bites:
“I’m just dejected. It was such an amazing racecar. Drew (Blickensderfer, crew chief) and all these guys brought an incredible Smithfield Ford Mustang and we should’ve won the race. I’m just disappointed. Congrats to RFK. Congrats to Chris Buescher and Brad (Keselowski). I mean, they executed the end of that race flawlessly and they did a great job, but I thought we certainly had a car capable of getting up there and trying to win. Restarting on the third row of a green-white-checker, it’s really hard to materialize a run and make something happen and they did a good job.” – Aric Almirola, driver of the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang

Next Up:
The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Cook Out Southern 500 on Sunday, Sept. 3 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway. The first race in the 10-race NASCAR Playoffs starts at 6 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by USA and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.