Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Aric Almirola wins Xfinity series race at Daytona

DAYTONA BEACH — Aric Almirola, who grew up in Tampa and graduated from Hillsborough High, has always loved Daytona International Speedway. He watched races there as a youth and two years ago broke through here to win his first Sprint Cup race, the rain-shortened Coke Zero 400.

Daytona was special again for Almirola on Friday night.

By inches. By a photo finish. Under caution.

Almirola won the Xfinity series' Firecracker 250. A multi-car crash occurred as Almirola was coming to the finish line in NASCAR overtime racing. The caution came out as Almirola and Justin Allgaier raced side-by-side. After several minutes, officials determined Almirola was slightly ahead when the caution lights came on.

"I knew it was close," Almirola said. "I knew they wrecked behind us. I was like, 'When are they going to throw the caution.' I knew I was in front of him."

Almirola, 32, has struggled in Sprint Cup this season — he's 26th in points with no top-10 finishes.

"It's so cool," he said of winning. "This is just a special place for me."

He added, "I've been practically beating my head against the wall. My wife has been hiding every sharp object in the house from me. … Coming here this weekend, I thought if any weekend could turn my season around, this would be the one."

This was Almirola's second career win in NASCAR's second-tier series, unless you ask him. "I had a win, but it has an asterisk next to it for me," he said.

In 2007 at Milwaukee, Almirola filled in for Denny Hamlin when Hamlin was late to the race. Hamlin took over and finished the race, but Almirola was given the victory.

"I hated the fact that I got credit for that," Almirola said. "They tried to give me the trophy. I didn't want it. I didn't feel like I deserved to win because I wasn't in the race car when the race was over. But tonight I was."

Aric Almirola wins Xfinity series race at Daytona 07/01/16 [Last modified: Friday, July 1, 2016 11:37pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Lightning takes defenseman Cal Foote with top pick in draft

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Former Avalanche defenseman Adam Foote said his son Cal lived in the locker room.

    Cal Foote, second from left, is welcomed to the Lightning by GM Steve Yzerman, far left.
  2. It's Rays' turn to pound Orioles pitching (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG - Ah, the fantastic four.

    The Rays smashed the reeling Orioles 15-5 on Friday, scoring a season-high in runs, to climb four games above .500 for the first time since July 1, 2015.

    Rays third baseman Evan Longoria scores on a triple by Logan Morrison during the first inning against the Orioles.
  3. Lightning journal: Plans set for 25th anniversary season

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — The Lightning revealed some of its plans for its 25th anniversary season Friday, including a ceremony to honor the 2004 Stanley Cup team.

    John Tortorella, in Tampa in 2014 for the 10-year Stanley Cup win party, will return next season for the team’s anniversary event.
  4. Rays designate catcher Derek Norris for assignment

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — C Derek Norris tied a career-high with three hits in Friday's 15-5 win against the Orioles then was designated for assignment after the game to make room on the 25-man roster for C Wilson Ramos.

    Matt Duffy is expected to resume his baseball activities once the stitches heal.
  5. Lightning picks defenseman Cal Foote

    Blogs

    Cal Foote is the son of former Avs defenseman Adam Foote.