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Why Bucs’ Mike Alstott is Aric Almirola’s favorite Tampa Bay athlete

Tampa’s NASCAR driver went to Bucs games as a kid and enjoyed watching Alstott run over defenders.
Former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Mike Alstott (40) was a favorite athlete of NASCAR's Aric Almirola, who is a Tampa native. [Times]
Published Sep. 5

As a talented NASCAR driver locked into the playoffs, Aric Almirola has his share of fans, including some in his hometown of Tampa.

Which got us thinking: What athletes did Almirola look up to when he was growing up here?

RELATED: Ask Aric Almirola: What was your first car?

The Tampa Bay Times asked him in this week’s installment of Ask Aric — a periodic feature where the NASCAR playoff contender shares his thoughts on racing, the season and his hometown.

Who’s your all-time favorite Tampa Bay athlete?

My favorite Tampa Bay athlete? There’s a lot of them, but if I had to pick one favorite, probably Mike Alstott.

It was fun to go to the Bucs games and watch him play. He got fed the ball a lot, and when he would, they would blow this huge train air horn in the stadium. That was the A-Train, and he would just mow people over. It was so fun.

RELATED: Ask Aric Almirola: What was your favorite Tampa sporting event as a kid?

We’d get inside the 5-yard line, and you knew — everybody in the whole stadium knew, the team, the defense — everybody knew that Mike Alstott was getting the ball, and they could not stop him. He would get the ball, and he’d go in and score. So he was really fun to watch, and I liked him.

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