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Preview: Weekend of July 5-6-7, 2019 – NASCAR at Daytona, IMSA at CTMP

Preview: Weekend of July 5-6-7, 2019 – NASCAR at Daytona, IMSA at CTMP

Ever since the Daytona Speedway opened in 1959 there has been a summer race here on or about the July 4th holiday. It was known for a long time as the ‘Firecracker’ 250 or 400 but more recently it has dropped that name to adopt a Pepsi-Cola and later a Coca-Cola sponsorship name. This year it is called the Coke Zero Sugar 400 and the ‘Firecracker’ name has been applied to Friday’s Xfinity race here.

The July Daytona race used to be held in the morning and it ended by lunch time before the heat of the day. Recently, the race has become a night race – presumably at the behest of the television partners. Unfortunately, at this time of year in that part of Florida, it seems as if every day a rain storm develops in the late afternoon or early evening. Hence, it is commonplace for rain to come later in the day; this race is often delayed by rain or even put over to Sunday.

The IMSA race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park is the premier sports car race at this now-venerable race circuit. The track opened in 1961 and in June of that year it hosted the Player’s 200 the first of the long history of important sports car races at this venue. This was the site of the first ever F1 Canadian Grand Prix and it ran here most years until 1977 – before the Grand Prix moved to Montreal. The well-known sports car racer Ron Fellows is a co-owner of the track along with Carlo Fidani, a Toronto-based real estate owner. In the continuing tradition of that original Player’s 200, the grounds will be filled with sports car fans camping out here for the weekend.

Friday, July 5

1. NASCAR Xfinity Circle K Firecracker 250, Daytona Intl. Speedway
• TV: TSN2 at 7:30P
• 2.5 mi lap; 100 laps = 250 mi; Stages: 30/30/40 laps
• Cup driver Kyle Larson won last year’s race here. NXS regulars Elliott Sadler and Christopher Bell were second and third. Sadler is not competing this year.
• Stewart-Haas driver Cole Custer won at Chicagoland last Saturday, his fourth win this year. Cup driver Joey Logano was second and Xfinity regular Michael Annett was third.
• Click HERE for the Xfinity entry list

Saturday, July 6

2. IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge, Canadian Tire Motorsports Park
• direct streaming from internet: imsa.tv at 1:45P
• 2.459 mi/3.957 km lap; 120 minute race length
• Last year this race, then part of the Continental Tire championship, was won by the No. 60 Mustang of Nate Stacy and Kyle Marcelli. The No. 80 Mustang of Martin Barkey/Brett Sandberg was second while the No. 33 Mercedes-AMG of Russell Ward/Damien Faulkner was third.
• Last week the four-hour race at Watkins Glen was won by the No. 35 Mercedes-AMG of J. Cox / D. Murry / J. Bleekemolen, with the No. 82 BMW M4 of J. Clay / D. Jones second and the No. 39 Audi R8 of T. McQuarrie / J. Westphal third. The once dominant Mustangs now seem to be eclipsed by the German makes.
• Click HERE for the IMSA Michelin Pilot entry list

3. NASCAR MENCS, Coke Zero Sugar 400, Daytona Intl. Speedway

• TV: NBC/TSN5 at 7:30P
• 2.5 mi lap; 160 laps = 400 mi; Stages: 50/50/60 laps
• The Joe Gibbs’ driver, Erik Jones, won here a year ago. Martin Truex, driving for Barney Visser/Furniture Row was second and A.J. Almendinger was third. Ryan Preece has replaced Almendinger in the No. 47 car this year.
• Last weekend at Chicagoland, Alex Bowman won his first Cup race in 134 starts. Kyle Larson was a close second and Joey Logano was third
• Click HERE for the NASCAR MENCS entry list

Sunday, July 7

4. IMSA WeatherTech Mobil 1 Sportscar Grand Prix presented by Acura, Canadian Tire Motorsports Park
• TV: Discovery-Velocity at 1:00P
• 2.459 mi/3.957 km lap; 160 minute race length
• Last year’s race was a bit of a surprise when the No. 54 LMP2 car of Jonathan Bennett and Colin Braun won the race by a 3.4-second margin over the No. 10 Cadillac DPi of Renger Van der Zande and Jordan Taylor. The No. 31 Cadillac of Eric Curran and Felipe Nasr was third. In GTLM, the No. 67 Ryan Briscoe/Richard Westbrook Ford GT was the class winner. In GTD the class winner was the No. 33 Mercedes-AMG of Ben Keating/Jeroen Bleekemolen.
• Last weekend’s race at Watkins Glen was a six-hour semi-enduro round. The two Mazda DPi cars finished one-two; the No. 55 (Bomarito/Tinknell/Pla) was the race winner by a 0.35-second margin over the second-place No. 77 Mazda (Jarvis/Nunez/Bernhard). The No. 911 Porsche RSR (Pilet/Tandy) won the GTLM class. The GTD class was won by the No. 96 Acura NSX driven by Farnbacher/Hindman/Marks.
• Click HERE for the IMSA WeatherTech entry list


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