Aric Armirola Wins First Career Sprint Cup Race
With the rain and the wrecks, it was a matter of survival, and in the end, it was Aric Almirola claiming his first career Sprint Cup victory in the rain-shortened Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway.
The race scheduled for Saturday night was postponed until Sunday, but the rain returned, and race officials called it an official race after completing 112 of 160 laps, with Almirola in the lead when the race was halted.
It was the first victory for a number 43 car in a Cup race since 1999, and it also came on the 30th anniversary of team owner Richard Petty’s 200th Cup win, ironically at Daytona.
Almirola is a native of Tampa and said when he was a kid, he sat in the stands dreaming about winning a Daytona 500 or a Firecracker 400, and he can’t believe it finally came true.
Brian Vickers came in second, with Kurt Busch, Casey Mears and Austin Dillon completing the Top 5.
Two big wrecks took out a number of contenders. The first one came on lap 20, with 16 cars involved, including the top six drivers in the points standings. Twenty-six cars were involved in the second big wreck that left Kyle Busch’s car upside down. He indicated he was OK when he radioed to his crew that he was “just hanging out.”
The series moves north next week at New Hampshire on Sunday afternoon.