Thursday, January 18, 2018
Sports

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."

Comments

Thursday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYCollege basketballMurray State at Belmont7 p.m.ESPNUJacksonville State at Morehead State7 p.m.CBSSNWomen: Florida at Arkansas7 p.m.SECWomen: Tennessee at Notre Dame7 p.m.ESPNMinnesota at Maryland8:30 p.m.FS1UNC Asheville at Winthrop9 p.m.ESPNUSt...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Australian Open

Australian Open

MELBOURNE, Australia —Maria Sharapova ticked off more items on her "to do" list at the Australian Open, returning to center court and accounting for the only person who has beaten her at a Grand Slam since her comeback from a doping ban. The unseeded...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Sports in brief

BaseballFormer Umpire Harvey, known as ‘god,’ dies at 87Doug Harvey, a Major League Baseball umpire for 31 years whose calls of balls and strikes, fair and foul, safe and out were delivered with such gusto and authority that he was known as "God" to ...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Bruins’ points run reaches 14 games

Bruins’ points run reaches 14 games

BOSTON — David Pastrnak and Ryan Spooner each scored an early goal, Tuukka Rask stopped 21 shots and the Bruins beat the Canadiens 4-1 on Wednesday in Montreal coach Claude Julien’s return to Boston. The surging Bruins have earned at least a point in...
Updated: 7 hours ago

High school scoreboard for Jan. 17

Wednesday’s scoreboardBoys basketballBoca Ciega 62, Clearwater 52Boys soccerPalm Harbor U. 3, Dunedin 0Girls soccerPalm Harbor U. 5, Dunedin 0
Updated: 7 hours ago
Spurs return Leonard to sideline with leg injury

Spurs return Leonard to sideline with leg injury

Kawhi Leonard is headed back to the sidelines, and he’ll stay there until his leg is ready. The Spurs decided Wednesday to shut down their All-Star forward, saying Leonard would be out indefinitely as he continues his recovery from injury. "We didn’t...
Updated: 7 hours ago
QB’s death spurs calls for help

QB’s death spurs calls for help

When Dr. Brian Hainline learned about the apparent suicide of another college athlete, it hit hard. Again. No, he didn’t know Washington State quarterback Tyler Hilinski. But he has heard such stories far too often. The NCAA’s first chief medical off...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Reports: Brady hurts hand

Reports: Brady hurts hand

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Patriots quarterback Tom Brady jammed his right (throwing) hand at practice Wednesday after accidentally being run into by a teammate, reports said.X-rays revealed no structural damage and Brady should be okay for Sunday’s AFC tit...
Updated: 7 hours ago
HomeTeam 25: Boys basketball rankings for Tampa Bay

HomeTeam 25: Boys basketball rankings for Tampa Bay

1. St. Petersburg (11-1)This week: Friday at Osceola; Saturday vs. Oak Hill (Va.) @Berkeley Prep's National HoopfestThe buzz: The Green Devils returned to action last week, beating Palm Harbor University by 33 and Sickles by 10. Guards Serrel Smith a...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Rays spring tickets go on sale Friday

Rays spring tickets go on sale Friday

The Rays will put single game tickets for spring training home games on sale Friday at 10 a.m. via raysbaseball.com.The Rays are playing 14 home games in Port Charlotte, starting with the Feb. 23 opener vs. Pittsburgh. Tickets will be available at th...
Updated: 11 hours ago