Saturday night, NASCAR drivers will head to Daytona International Speedway for the final race of the Cup Series regular season. This competition is a critical race for William Byron, Jimmie Johnson, Matt DiBenedetto and Erik Jones, considering that it's their final opportunity to make the playoffs. Here's when the battle on the track takes place.
Coverage for the Coke Zero Sugar 400 begins at 7:30 p.m. ET. The race will take place on NBC instead of NBC Sports Network. Viewers can also stream the race on NBC Sports' website. Rick Allen, Steve Letarte, Jeff Burton and Dale Earnhardt Jr. will call the action from the booth. MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will provide the audio call for those unable to watch the race.
This is it.
TONIGHT | 7:30 PM ET | NBC pic.twitter.com/isrWwWmR10— NASCAR (@NASCAR) August 29, 2020
Heading into Saturday's race under the lights, there are 13 drivers that have clinched a spot in the playoffs. Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski, Martin Truex Jr., Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott, Aric Almirola, Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch, Alex Bowman, Austin Dillon and Cole Custer are all in, but only three spots remain. There are several drivers in contention for the final spots, many of which require help or a victory to clinch.
Clint Bowyer, the driver of the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Ford Mustang, is in the best position, considering that he only needs three points. He could secure his spot in the playoffs by winning Stage 1 or 2. DiBenedetto, on the other hand, needs 51 points to clinch. Byron and Johnson both require help or a victory to reach the playoffs.
Of course, several other drivers could leapfrog their peers by winning the race. This scenario is the only path forward for Bubba Wallace, Ryan Newman, Michael McDowell and Corey LaJoie. Of those needing a win or help, Johnson and Byron will have the best starting positions. The seven-time champion starts the race seventh overall while his Hendrick Motorsports teammate will be sixth.
For Johnson, this will be his final time taking part in a race at Daytona International Speedway as a full-time Cup Series driver. He hasn't won at the iconic track since 2013, but he did so in memorable fashion. Johnson started the season with a victory in the Daytona 500 and then traveled to Victory Lane once again in the Coke Zero 400. He will look for a repeat performance on Saturday night with his playoff hopes on the line.