NASCAR: Severe Weather Moving in Ahead of Regular Season Finale at Daytona

by Nick Geddes

The thunderstorms that delayed Friday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Daytona International Speedway have returned. Track officials released a statement Saturday afternoon saying that severe weather including lightning is in the area.

NASCAR has advised fans to seek shelter as gates will remain closed. They were scheduled to open at 2:30 p.m. ET. The Daytona 500 Champions Walk of Fame Ceremony featuring 2022 winner Austin Cindric and Team Penske has been canceled.

The Cup Series regular season is set to conclude Saturday night at Daytona with the Coke Zero Sugar 400. Qualifying was canceled Friday due to inclement weather. The severe weather has been in the forecast all week and though it’s arrived, things are looking up as we approach the 7 p.m. ET start time. Rain is expected to subside by the late afternoon and not return until late into the night.

Green flag for Friday’s Wawa 250 Powered by Coca-Cola didn’t wave until nearly 11 p.m. ET — delayed by inclement weather. Jeremy Clements would take the checkered flag deep into the night to score the upset victory.

Big Storylines for NASCAR Cup Series’ Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona

Whenever the race begins, fans will be treated to the true Daytona experience: chaos and high stakes. The placement as the final race of the regular season means the importance is as high as any race this season. It certainly is for a handful of drivers still looking to race their way into the playoffs.

Two playoff spots are up for grabs after Kurt Busch withdrew his medical waiver to remain eligible for the playoffs. He’s missed five consecutive races with concussion-like symptoms. Ryan Blaney and Martin Truex Jr., both winless on the season, are the biggest beneficiaries. Blaney holds a 25-point lead over Truex Jr. and won this race last season. It’s that simple this time around for both: win and you’re in.

The same can be said for drivers such as Erik Jones, Aric Almirola and Bubba Wallace. Wallace is a trendy pick to win, having finished as the runner-up in his last two starts at Daytona.