Tampa Native Aric Almirola Wins at Daytona


Jul 6, 2014; Daytona Beach, FL, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Aric Almirola (43) celebrates in victory lane after winning the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

Tampa’s own Aric Almirola has his first career Nascar Sprint Cup Series win.

To make it even sweeter, it came at Almirola’s home track and the home of racing, Daytona, as he won a rain shortened Coke Zero 400.

It was the 125th career start in Nascar’s top series for Almirola, who drives the famed No.43 car. His owner is the man who made that number famous, Richard Petty.

"“The 43 car is without a doubt the most famous car in our sport’s history,” Almirola said. “And to have that opportunity to drive that race car has been really special from the day that I stepped foot in it. All I wanted to do from the very first time I drove it was get it to Victory Lane.”"

Entering today, Almirola had only four top-5 finishes in his Sprint Cup career. The 30-year-old has never finished higher than 18th in the standings but due to Nascar’s new rules for the ‘Chase,’ Almirola is almost guaranteed a spot in Nascar’s playoff system, which will featured 16 drivers. Any driver who has a win and finishes in the top 30 in the standings will make the postseason. Almirola is 21st in the standings after today’s results.

The race was scheduled to be run last night but rain postponed it until Sunday. However, the rain and two major on track wrecks, caused three red flags. Only 112 of the 160 scheduled laps were run before the race was called at 2:56 p.m.

Almirola also has one career Nationwide win and two wins in the Camping World Truck Series over his nine year Nascar career.