Crews prepare for Coke Zero 400

By Patrick Santomauro, Producer, psantomauro@wkmg.com
Published On: Jul 05 2012 08:44:24 AM EDT
Updated On: Nov 15 2012 01:52:37 PM EST
Coke Zero 400
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -

Racing fans started showing up at Daytona International Speedway on Wednesday night to prepare for a weekend headlined by the Coke Zero 400.

The speedway will host two races on Friday and Saturday -- the Subway Jalapeno 250 and the Coke Zero 400.

The weekend of racing kicks off Thursday with practice runs for both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup series at 2:30 p.m. Fans can start filing into the grandstands as practice begins. NASCAR stars are also expected to talk to fans and the media on Thursday. Jeff Gordon, Daytona 500 champion Matt Kenseth and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. are all expected to be in Daytona Beach for practice runs.

[Related: Full event schedule]

The grandstand will open at 2:00 p.m. on Friday for the Subway Jalapeno 250 qualifying laps. Qualifying for the Coke Zero 400 will follow at around 4:10 p.m. Fans can also get driver autographs during a session beginning at 4:30 p.m. Friday wraps up with the Subway Jalapeno 250, scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m.

On Saturday, racing fans will be treated to a concert by the band "Train" on the pit road stage at 5:00 p.m. The 54th running of the Coke Zero 400 will follow at 7:30 p.m.

[Related: Buy tickets to practice day and both races]

Saturday's race marks the first Sprint Cup event since a fiery crash at Daytona International Speedway during the Daytona 500.

Juan Pablo Montoya crashed into a jet dryer while returning to the race from pit row. The crash broke the jet dryer's fuel tank, spilling fuel onto the road. The fuel caught fire and sent flames shooting into the air.

Since the February 27th crash, NASCAR has required jet dryer drivers to wear fire suits and helmets while driving on any track. Crews at Daytona International Speedway repaved the damaged track at the end of March.

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