The final race of the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series regular season is scheduled for this weekend. Perhaps only fittingly, the season ends right where it began at Daytona International Speedway. Saturday night’s Coke Zero Sugar 400 represents the last chance for any number of drivers to win and claim the final spot in the NASCAR Playoffs. The unpredictability of superspeedway racing gives even the longshots a chance. There will be plenty of position shuffling throughout the evening, but those drivers near the front in the Coke Zero Sugar 400 starting lineup will at least have an early positional advantage.
The following article contains all kinds of vital information to get you set for Saturday’s NASCAR Cup Series action under the lights. Read on for the complete Coke Zero Sugar 400 starting lineup, start time, race facts and NASCAR stats.
NASCAR Cup Series at Daytona International Speedway
62nd Coke Zero Sugar 400
Date: Saturday, August 28, 2021
Start Time: 7 p.m. EST
Track: Daytona International Speedway — Daytona Beach, FL
Pole Sitter: Kyle Larson
Defending Champion: William Byron
Coke Zero Sugar 400 Race Details
Distance: 400 miles
Lap Length: 2.5 miles
Stages: Three (Laps 1-50; 51-100; 101-160)
Coke Zero Sugar 400 Starting Lineup
See below for a breakdown of the qualifying metrics formula.
|Starting Position||Driver||Car Number||Team||Manufacturer|
|1||Kyle Larson||5||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet|
|2||Chase Elliott||9||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet|
|3||William Byron||24||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet|
|4||Ryan Blaney||12||Team Penske||Ford|
|5||Kurt Busch||1||Chip Ganassi Racing||Chevrolet|
|6||Denny Hamlin||11||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota|
|7||Cole Custer||41||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford|
|8||Christopher Bell||20||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota|
|9||Kevin Harvick||4||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford|
|10||Joey Logano||22||Team Penske||Ford|
|11||Brad Keselowski||2||Team Penske||Ford|
|12||Martin Truex Jr.||19||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota|
|13||Kyle Busch||18||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota|
|14||Matt DiBenedetto||21||Wood Brothers Racing||Ford|
|15||Alex Bowman||48||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet|
|16||Ross Chastain||42||Chip Ganassi Racing||Chevrolet|
|17||Daniel Suarez||99||Trackhouse Racing||Chevrolet|
|18||Aric Almirola||10||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford|
|19||Ryan Newman||6||Roush Fenway Racing||Ford|
|20||Tyler Reddick||8||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet|
|21||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||47||JTG Daugherty Racing||Chevrolet|
|22||Chase Briscoe||14||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford|
|23||Austin Dillon||3||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet|
|24||Corey LaJoie||7||Spire Motorsports||Chevrolet|
|25||Bubba Wallace||23||23XI Racing||Toyota|
|26||Chris Buescher||17||Roush Fenway Racing||Ford|
|27||Erik Jones||43||Richard Petty Motorsports||Chevrolet|
|28||Michael McDowell||34||Front Row Motorsports||Ford|
|29||Justin Haley||77||Spire Motorsports||Chevrolet|
|30||Anthony Alfredo||38||Front Row Motorsports||Ford|
|31||Ryan Preece||37||JTG Daugherty Racing||Chevrolet|
|32||B.J. McLeod||78||Live Fast Motorsports||Ford|
|33||Cody Ware||51||Petty Ware Racing||Chevrolet|
|34||Joey Gase||53||Rick Ware Racing||Chevrolet|
|35||Quin Houff||00||StarCom Racing||Chevrolet|
|36||David Starr||13||MBM Motorsports||Toyota|
|37||Josh Bilicki||52||Rick Ware Racing||Chevrolet|
|38||Garrett Smithley||15||Rick Ware Racing||Chevrolet|
|39||Timmy Hill||66||MBM Motorsports||Toyota|
NASCAR Cup Series Qualifying Overview
Following the interruption to racing last season, NASCAR did away with practice and qualifying runs at the majority of races. A combination of grouped draws and a performance-metrics formula was used to determine starting grids. That same formula remains in place for the majority of races on the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season, including this Saturday’s Coke Zero Sugar 400 starting lineup.
So, what exactly is involved in the performance-metrics formula? Well, it draws on a number of factors including individual race performances and season-long results. The following breakdown illustrates the weighted grades associated with each component of NASCAR’s metrics formula:
NASCAR Cup Series Metrics Formula Breakdown
- 35 percent: Team owner points ranking
- 25 percent: Driver’s finishing position from the previous race
- 25 percent: Car owner’s finishing position from the previous race
- 15 percent: Fastest lap from the previous race
Coke Zero Sugar 400 Race History and NASCAR Stats
- The first edition of this race came in 1959 and was won by Hall of Famer, Fireball Roberts. It was a 100-lap, 250-mile event and was named the Firecracker 250 in honor of its taking place on the Fourth of July.
- Like the Daytona 500, the Coke Zero Sugar 400 has been held annualy at Daytona International Speedway since 1959. It has, however, been run under several different title sponsor names.
- From its inception through 2019, the race was run either on or around Independence Day. As part of a schedule revamp following the 2019 season, the second Daytona race was moved to late August and now serves as the final race of the NASCAR Cup Series regular season.
- David Pearson tops the all-time list for total wins in the Coke Zero Sugar 400. He lifted the trophy five different times, including in three consecutive years from 1972-74.
- Cale Yarborough and Tony Stewart sit just behind Pearson on the all-time wins list with four apiece.
- No active NASCAR Cup Series driver has won this race more than once. In fact, only seven current full-time Cup drivers have previously won the Coke Zero Sugar 400.
- In chronological order, those seven drivers with wins are Kyle Busch (2008), Kevin Harvick (2010), Aric Almirola (2014), Brad Keselowski (2016), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (2017), Erik Jones (2018) and William Byron (2020).
- Wood Brothers Racing leads all race teams with nine total victories in this race. However, the most recent came all the way back in 1983.
- Defending champion Hendrick Motorsports sits second on the all-time wins list among race teams with seven victories. Three have come in the last eight years. Roush Fenway Racing ranks third with five all-time wins.
- Chevrolet holds the slimmest of leads over Ford when it comes to manufacturer wins in the Coke Zero Sugar 400. Byron’s 2020 victory broke a tie and gave Chevy a 20-19 advantage over Ford. Toyota, the only other current manufacturer, has just two total wins.