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Joe Gibbs Racing: 2014 Coke Zero 400 weekend preview

Denny Hamlin was almost unbeatable at Daytona in February
Denny Hamlin was almost unbeatable at Daytona in February
NASCAR via Getty Images: Patrick Smith

NASCAR’s Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series make their second visit of the season to Daytona International Speedway in Florida, home of this weekend’s Subway Firecracker 250 for the Nationwide Series on Friday night, July 4th and the Sprint Cup Series’ Coke Zero 400 on Saturday night, July 5th.

Joe Gibbs Racing driver Kyle Busch, who will drive the No. 18 Interstate Batteries All Battery Center Toyota Camry in Saturday night’s race, won the Coke Zero 400 in 2008, and has six top 10 finishes in 19 starts at the 2.5-mile track. Busch has Daytona wins in all three top NASCAR series as well as the ARCA Racing Series, a feat he accomplished in February when he won the Camping World Truck Series race at the track, completing the “quadfecta.” In 21 Nationwide Series starts at Daytona, Busch has one win and nine top 10 finishes, his win coming in July 2007. He’ll be behind the wheel of the No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota Camry Friday night in the Subway Firecracker 250.

Matt Kenseth will be behind the wheel of the No. 20 Home Depot/Husky Tools Toyota Saturday night, going for his third Daytona win and first in the July event. Kenseth has 14 top 10 finishes in 29 starts at Daytona, and has qualified in the top 12 in all three of his Daytona starts with JGR.

Denny Hamlin has yet to get a points win at Daytona International Speedway, but he picked up wins earlier this season in both the Sprint Unlimited and his Budweiser Duel qualifying race. He came up just short of the trifecta in February, finishing a career-best second to Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the Daytona 500. Hamlin will drive the No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota in Saturday night’s main event.

Busch and Elliott Sadler are joined by JGR development driver and Kyle Busch Motorsports Truck Series driver Darrell Wallace Jr. in Friday’s Nationwide Series race. Sadler, in the No. 11 Sport Clips Toyota, has five top 10 finishes in 10 Nationwide Series starts at Daytona, including career-best finishes of third in February 2012 and July 2013. Wallace Jr., driving the No. 20 Share a Coke Toyota, makes his Nationwide Series debut at Daytona with two Truck Series starts under his belt; Wallace finished 12th in February 2013 and 26th this past February.

The Nationwide Series teams qualify for the Subway Firecracker 250 on Friday at 3:10 p.m. ET; the rac goes green that night at 7:30 p.m. ET. Qualifying for the Cup Series Coke Zero 400 takes place Friday at 5:10 p.m. ET, with the race going green Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET. Keep up with the action at

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