DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The rain and the wrecks kept on coming at Daytona International Speedway in Sunday’s 56th running of the Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola.
When the carnage from two major contender-claiming incidents was over, it was Aric Almirola who not only survived but claimed his first career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory and took the giant step of punching his ticket into the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Running the iconic No. 43 with the U.S. Air Force on the hood for July 4 weekend, Almirola’s win came on the 30th anniversary of team owner Richard Petty’s 200th Cup victory.
“I’m more concerned with getting my first win than what happened 30 years ago,” admitted Almirola during the race’s third red-flag delay for a thunderstorm that eventually halted the race with 48 scheduled laps remaining.