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With two NASCAR races, Sheryl Crow and a fireworks extravaganza, Summer Speed Week at Daytona International Speedway will provide its usual hot action.
The two races are the Subway Firecracker 250, a new name, at 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 5, and the Coke Zero 400 at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 6. At the mid-point of the season it's a long way from the mad dash for the championship, but drivers are still hungry for points as they jockey for position and winning at Daytona Beach is always a big deal.
The action actually starts at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, July 4, with the opening of the Spring Fanzone and then the grandstand gates open at 2 p.m. Nationwide and Sprint Cup practice starts at 2:30 p.m.
For star power, Adam Sandler, Kevin James and Shaquille O'Neal, the stars of the upcoming comedy "Grown Ups 2," will serve as Grand Marshals for the Coke Zero 400.
Sandler, James and O'Neal will give the starting command -- "Drivers, start your engines" -- in the Independence Day holiday classic. They also will be introduced at the driver's meeting, participate in pre-race ceremonies and ride in the Grand Marshal cars during the pace laps prior to the green flag of the 160-lap, 400-mile race.
Three-time Daytona 500 champion Bobby Allison will serve as Grand Marshal for the Subway Firecracker 250.
The big name entertainment this year is Sheryl Crow, whose long list of hits include "All I Wanna Do," "Soak Up The Sun" and her latest single, "Easy," will perform a 60-minute concert at about 5:30 p.m. before the Coke Zero 400. However, there is other entertainment throughout the weekend. For the event schedule, visit daytonainternationalspeedway.com/Tickets-Events/Events/2013/Coke-Zero-400/Event-Info.aspx
The summer race weekend at DIS always includes a lot of patriotic activities.
For the fifth consecutive year, DIS will honor four Congressional Medal of Honor recipients. This year's honorees, all U.S. Army veterans of the Vietnam War, are 2nd Lt. Walter J. "Joe" Marm, Sgt. 1st Class Gary Littrell, Spc. 4th Class Robert Patterson and Major Bruce Crandall.
After the Coke Zero 400, Fireworks By Santore will illuminate the sky above DIS with a 15-minute show shot from 15 different locations along the backstretch.
Traffic will be heavy with 100,000 race fans expected. Daytona Beach Police suggest drivers wanting to avoid peak traffic from 3 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Friday and 1 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Saturday, to take roadways, such as Nova Road, Ridgewood Avenue and Atlantic Avenue for routine travel. Motorists on Interstates 4 and 95 and U.S. 92 trying to get to the beach, are urged to use Granada Boulevard (State Road 40) or Dunlawton Avenue (State Road 421). For more traffic information, visit http://www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com/Articles/2013/06/Public-Service-Announcement.aspx
DIS has special ticket offers for the races, including the 88 Experience with Dale Earnhardt Jr., the 48 Experience with Jimmy Johnson and the Kasey Kahne Combo. Some special offers may already be sold out. There also are special sales connected to charities, including one that donates $20 of each adult ticket sold to the Moffitt Cancer Center. For that ticket, go to daytonainternationalspeedway.com/Moffitt. For more ticket information, call (800) 748-7467 or visit daytonainternationalspeedway.com.