As one of the NASCAR season’s most anticipated events, the Coke Zero 400 powered by Coca-Cola will take place this Fourth of July weekend at Daytona International Speedway.

Whether you’re a loyal racing fan wanting to brush up on your race knowledge, or a novice to the NASCAR scene, check out these facts to get ready for a weekend of fun, racing and, of course, ice-cold Coca-Cola.  

What it’s all about: NASCAR stands for the National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing, and was born in 1948.

The evolution of an institution: The first Coke Zero 400 was held in 1959, and was originally a 250-mile race named the Firecracker 250. The Coke Zero 400 became a 400-mile race in 1963.

Tying the knot: Coca-Cola became the official sparkling beverage of NASCAR in 1998.

Racing after dark: The inaugural nighttime running of the Coke Zero 400 was in 1998. 

Sunset during the 2016 Coke Zero 400.

Harold Hinson Photography

A race fit for a president: President Ronald Reagan attended the Coke Zero 400 in 1984 and witnessed racing legend Richard Petty win his 200th and final NASCAR victory. This was the first time a sitting U.S. president ever attended a NASCAR race.

Happy birthday to the ‘King’: The same NASCAR Hall of Famer – and Coca-Cola friend – Richard Petty will celebrate his 80th birthday on July 2 at this year’s Coke Zero 400.

The race to make the playoffs: With a victory in the Coke Zero 400, drivers can secure a spot in the NASCAR Playoffs.  

One big happy family: The Coca-Cola Racing Family came together in 1998. Today racing family drivers include: Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin, Ryan Newman, Danica Patrick, Bubba Wallace, Daniel Suarez and this year’s Coca-Cola 600 winner Austin Dillon. 

DIS
Coca-Cola Racing Family member, Joey Logano, shares a Coke with a fan prior to the 2014 Coke Zero 400.

Harold Hinson Photography

All ages welcome: The youngest driver to win a Coke Zero 400 title is Kyle Busch, who won in 2008 when he was 23 years old. The oldest driver to win the race is Bobby Allison, who won in 1987 at 49 years old.

Almost too close to call: The closest winning margin in a Coke Zero 400 was .005 seconds in 2007 by driver Jamie McMurray. Thank you modern-era computer scoring!

More than racing: The race has taken place on or around July 4 at Daytona International Speedway for several decades and has long been an event that celebrates America’s Armed Forces. 

COKE ZERO 400
Pre-race ceremonies from the 2012 Coke Zero 400

Harold Hinson Photography

Honoring our heroes: Three Medal of Honor recipients will be honored at this year’s race: Captain Thomas Kelly, U.S. Navy (Vietnam), Command Sergeant Major Gary Littrell, U.S. Army (Vietnam) and Colonel Walter Joseph March, U.S. Army (Vietnam).

Now that you have all the facts, be sure to tune into NBC by 7 p.m. EST on Saturday, July 1 to watch the race!