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Ask Aric Almirola: What does a NASCAR driver do during a rain delay?

One answer: Snack a lot.
Crew members stand on pit road during a rain delay before a NASCAR Cup Series auto race was postponed to the next day at Daytona International Speedway, Saturday, July 6, 2019, in Daytona Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Crew members stand on pit road during a rain delay before a NASCAR Cup Series auto race was postponed to the next day at Daytona International Speedway, Saturday, July 6, 2019, in Daytona Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Published Jul. 11, 2019

Tampa’s Aric Almirola took part in the usual July 4 traditional festivities last weekend at Daytona International Speedway.

Rain delays and, eventually, a race.

The Hillsborough High alumnus has benefited from showers there before; he got his first NASCAR Cup Series win in 2014 at the rain-shortened July race.

Related: MORE ASK ARIC: On the end of July 4 NASCAR racing at Daytona

But the weather and its unpredictability can lead to some long lulls. So what’s a driver to do? The Tampa Bay Times asked the driver of the No. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford about his rain delay habits in Ask Aric — a periodic feature where the NASCAR playoff contender shares his thoughts on racing, the season and his hometown.

What do you do during a rain delay?

Usually rain delays are consumed by eating. Usually by the time you’re sitting around, you’re bored and stuck inside the motor home or the hauler. You just start snacking.

You start just kind of trying to chill, trying to be calm. But at the same time, you have this weird sense of anxiousness that, like, at some point they’re going to get the track dry, and at some point you’re going to go back racing.

Related: MORE ASK ARIC: What’s it like to be caught up in the big one at the Daytona 500?

It’s weird, because as you get geared up for the race, normally you start getting ready. You start getting yourself hyped up. You start focusing. Your adrenaline level starts to rise. During a rain delay, it’s almost like it starts back over where your adrenaline rises again and you have to get your mind back in to race mode and remember where you are in the field, how many laps are left and what moves you need to make in the scenario that you’re in.

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