As difficult as it is to believe, the 2019 NASCAR Cup Series season is through 17 points-paying races and number 18 of 36 takes the series back to where it all started – Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.
Since July 4, 1959, just before Hawaii became the 50th state, NASCAR has conducted a race around the Fourth of July. But changes to that particular tradition are coming as in 2020 as the race will move to late August, the final regular-season event before the 10-race playoffs begin. Daytona’s July date will move to another historic track, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), has won just about every event at Daytona at least once – the 2007 Daytona 500, 2010 Coke Zero Sugar 400, the non-points Clash in 2009, 2010 and 2013, the non-points Gander RV Duels in 2013 and 2018, and the February 2007 NASCAR Xfinity Series race.
But Harvick would love to win this year’s July race, if for nothing else, to get that first win of 2019 and to guarantee a berth in the 2019 playoffs.
And Daytona in July will be different than Daytona in February.
In February for the Daytona 500, the temperatures are usually warm but not overly hot, and the race is run during the day. For the Coke Zero Sugar 400, the temperatures soar and the race is conducted at night.
What’s going to happen? Nobody really knows, because it’s Daytona and pretty much any driver can win.
But for the final time, Daytona will host a July race. And it should be a great final show.