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Rain pushes Coke Zero 400 to Sunday start

By By The Sports Xchange
Published On: Jul 05 2014 08:42:02 PM CDT
Updated On: Jul 05 2014 08:42:03 PM CDT

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series lost to Mother Nature on Saturday night when rain forced postponement of the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway until 11 a.m. ET Sunday.

Prerace activities are scheduled for 10:45 a.m. The green flag originally was scheduled to drop at 7:57 p.m. Saturday.

NASCAR made repeated attempts to dry the track surface to get the race in later Saturday night, but rain continued to fall, negating progress made by track drying equipment. The call was finally made by NASCAR officials to end track drying attempts when local weather radar at 9 p.m. showed rain continuing throughout the night.

The Coke Zero 400 is the second race of the season at Daytona for the Sprint Cup Series, with the first being the season-opening Daytona 500 on Feb. 23. The Daytona 500 was also delayed by rain but completed on the scheduled day in the evening rather than the afternoon. That race was won by Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Jimmie Johnson is the defending winner of the Coke Zero 400. He swept both races a year ago at the track.

When the Coke Zero takes the green flag on Sunday, David Gilliland will start the race from the pole, with Reed Sorenson alongside on the front row. Gilliland claimed the pole during a qualifying session on Friday that was shortened by rain.

Because of rain washing the rubber laid down on the track during the weekend, a competition caution will be expected around lap 20 of the race.

Landon Cassill and Bobby Labonte will start the race in the second row. It'll be the first race for Labonte since the Daytona 500.

Johnson, the defending champion, will start fifth and Earnhardt seventh.

Rain also affected the NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule at Daytona on Friday, shortening the qualifying session and delaying the start of the race by about 1 1/2 hours.

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