Drivers, Start. Your Engines!

There’s nothing like a weekend filled with 200+ MPH racing, engines revving, tires screeching, ice-cold Coke Zero and the Coca-Cola Racing Family members. I have to admit that Daytona wasn’t on my list of cities when I envisioned a summer road trip, but it’s definitely on the list now.

Working over Fourth of July weekend at the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway was a blast. I had the opportunity to join Danica Patrick and the Coke Zero team to help cool down fans with ice-cold, refreshing Coke Zero as part of the summer’s biggest program, Share a Coke. Fans were surprised at the sight of one of their favorite Coca-Cola Racing Family member carrying a bucket filled with Coke Zero into their campgrounds inviting them to toast and Share a Coke Zero.  Sharing a Coke Zero with Danica really made their race weekend all the more spectacular – and mine too!

Coke Zero 400 at Daytona

I celebrated Fourth of July with the rest of the United States; I was able to participate in the Coca-Cola Family Track Walk. Families and fans got out and active with some of their favorite Coca-Cola drivers. They experienced the track from the ultimate vantage point for a 1-mile walk on one of the sport’s most iconic tracks. I am still in awe that cars drive on 31-degree banks – it doesn’t sound like much until you hit the track in your best walking shoes and try to journey around those turns. I can go ahead and tell you, good luck.

The Coca-Cola Family Track Walk also hosted some of NASCAR’s top drivers, who gave up their high-octane, 800-horsepower stock cars for comfortable walking shoes as they took the mobile stage. Emcee Motor Mouth Mike provided great entertainment and hosted the drivers as they shared their race day preparations, tips for active living and signed a few autographs.

Coke Zero 400 at Daytona

After the Coca-Cola Family Track Walk, I made sure to stop by the Share a Coke kiosk to customize a mini can of Coca-Cola with my name on it and one to share with my friend, Dave. The Coke Zero 400 in Daytona marked the launch of the ‘Share a Coke’ cross-country tour which will make over 500-stops where people can customize 7.5-ounce mini cans of Coca-Cola.

Friday’s Nationwide Series race was delayed due to a few sprinkles on the track, but that didn’t stop the show. Cars hit the track after an hour-and-a-half rain delay and held a spectacular race. “Bubba” Wallace Jr. – whose car was decked out in a custom Share a Coke wrap – made it in the top 10, finishing seventh in the race.

Coke Zero 400 at Daytona

Unfortunately, Saturday’s forecast wasn’t as forgiving. After another hour-and–a-half rain delay, the Coke Zero 400 was rescheduled for Sunday morning. Due to the rainy weather, the race was called after 112 laps. But, Aric Almirola still had the opportunity to drive his car into Victory Lane as he took the Coke Zero 400 trophy.

I’d say I’m officially a NASCAR fan. Sharing a Coke Zero with Danica Patrick and watching  great races may be the best way to spend any weekend, whether it’s the Fourth of July or not!

Brittnee Jones, Coca-Cola North America Public Affairs & Communications intern, wrote this story after her experience at the Coke Zero 400.