Tony Stewart may not have a Daytona 500 victory on his racing resume, but when it comes to NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway in the month of July, Stewart has definitely become the driver to beat. After all, he has four July wins at the track in the past eight seasons. As a matter-of-fact, Stewart heads to Daytona for Saturday night’s Coke Zero 400 as the defending race winner.
Jimmie Johnson is heading into the weekend as the most recent Sprint Cup Series winner at Daytona, having won the Daytona 500 back in February. But there’s one thing Johnson doesn’t have that Stewart has four of — July wins at the track.
Despite not having a Daytona 500 victory under his belt, Stewart is the second-all-time winningest driver at the track. His 19 wins across the July Sprint Cup races, non-points-paying events, Nationwide Series races and events in the now-defunct IROC Series put him second to NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt, who has 34 total victories at the track. Of course, it took Earnhardt awhile to get a Daytona 500 win, too, not doing so until his 20th start in the race.
“We have had a lot of success at restrictor plate tracks, especially Daytona,” Stewart said. “I’m glad we’re halfway decent at it, but it’s still always frustrating when you have to rely on what everybody else does. It’s not what you do. It’s what you do along with somebody else who decides that they’re going to follow you and help you. That’s the part that frustrates you as a driver.”
Frustrating or not, Stewart shouldn’t have a very hard time getting help come Saturday night.
The Coke Zero 400 is slated to take the green flag shortly after 7:30 p.m. ET on Sunday. The race can be seen live on TNT, with pre-race coverage scheduled to get underway at 6:30 p.m. ET.
– Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR