Friday, December 19, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Almirola wins rain-cut NASCAR race at Daytona

By
From page B1 | July 07, 2014 |

NASCAR Daytona Auto Racing

Aric Almirola celebrates after winning the NASCAR Sprint cup Series auto race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla., Sunday, July 6, 2014. (AP Photo/Terry Renna)

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — It had been more than 15 years since the iconic No. 43 drove to Victory Lane.

So waiting through two days of thunderstorms and three red flags was relatively easy for Aric Almirola and his Richard Petty Motorsports team.

Almirola won the rain-delayed and rain-shortened NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Daytona International Speedway on Sunday, putting Petty’s famed blue car back on top for the first time since 1999.

Almirola’s first Cup win came on the same weekend Petty celebrated the 30th anniversary of his 200th career win. The 30-year-old Almirola was just a baby when Petty picked up that milestone victory.

“The 43 car is without a doubt the most famous car in our sport’s history,” Almirola said. “And to have that opportunity to drive that race car has been really special from the day that I stepped foot in it. All I wanted to do from the very first time I drove it was get it to Victory Lane. It took two and a half years I guess, but I finally did it.”

Petty wasn’t around for the festivities, having already left Daytona during one of the many delays. He didn’t miss much considering steady rain put a slight damper on the post-race party.

NASCAR, though, patched through the seven-time NASCAR champion nicknamed “The King” on a conference call afterward and talked about how he never lost faith despite years of struggles as a team owner.

“If you look back at the history of Petty Enterprises and all the turmoil we’ve been through, I never gave up on the thing,” Petty said. “It was one of those deals I said, ‘OK, if I keep working at it long enough, we’re going to be able to overcome all of this.’ Just because we won a race doesn’t mean we’ve overcome it, don’t get me wrong. But it puts in a higher speed track. You know you can do it.

“Everybody’s got to have a start, and I think this will be starting it pretty good.”

The Coke Zero 400 was originally scheduled to go off Saturday night, but steady rain forced it to be postponed a day. When it did finally get started Sunday, it was interrupted several more times.

There were three red flags, two of them because of huge accidents that took out most of the 43-car field and several top contenders. Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick, Jamie McMurray, Carl Edwards, Kasey Kahne, Greg Biffle and Kyle Busch were among those knocked out of contention.

Biffle and Kahne started the second massive wreck, a 25-car fiasco that ended with Busch getting flipped upside-down in his No. 18 Toyota.

“It just felt like a slow carnival ride,” Busch said.

The same could be said for the entire weekend at Daytona. Sprint Cup qualifying was a debacle, and then rain affected the entire, four-day event at NASCAR’s most famous track.

Sunday’s race topped it all, with just seven cars avoiding both crashes.

Not surprisingly, Almirola was among them.

He became the first Cup driver other than Petty to win in the legendary No. 43 at Daytona. The previous time the 43 won was with John Andretti behind the wheel at Martinsville in 1999. So Petty’s renowned car went 543 races without a victory.

Almirola got out of his car and watched the radar with crewmembers during the final red flag, a 56-minute wait that had most drivers believing the race would resume. But when heavy rain soaked parts of the track, officials called it for good with 48 laps remaining.

“I was doing a lot of hardcore praying, hoping the good Lord would open the skies up and let it rain,” Almirola said. “If we would have went back racing, I still think we had enough car to go there.

“I don’t think this was handed to us by any means. Let me be very clear about that. … Those last two restarts, Kurt Busch and Austin Dillon and Brian Vickers, they didn’t just let me go. They saw the rain coming, too, and we were all racing for it.”

Vickers finished second, followed by Kurt Busch, Casey Mears and rookie Austin Dillon. Danica Patrick was eighth despite a late pit-road mistake, and reigning Daytona 500 champion Dale Earnhardt Jr. was 14th.

Almirola became the 11th driver to win this season as they jockey for one of the 16 spots in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.

In his third full season driving for Petty, Almirola went into Daytona with just four career top-five finishes and had never finished higher than 18th in the standings.

But he and teammate Marcos Ambrose have slowly been inching RPM back toward the front, and Almirola had his previous career-best finish of third earlier this season at Bristol.

Many other drivers left Daytona scratching their heads over the decision to not wait out the rain like they had so many other times this weekend.

“It seems early to call a race,” Kurt Busch said. “Maybe we could have run later on today and still finished and everybody could have back home and to work on Monday.”

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Recent Articles

  • Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • .

    Solano News

     
    Sondheim’s ‘Woods’ holiday showcase for Missouri Street Theatre

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Groundbreakings, ribbon-cuttings play role in civic life

    By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Frankye Kelly ready to spread holiday cheer

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

     
    Celebrate the magic of Christmas

    By Tony Wade | From Page: A2

     
     
    Safe streets task force work nets 3

    By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

    Santas have busy week at schools

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

     
     
    Solano College approves officers, meeting schedule

    By Susan Winlow | From Page: A4

    Longtime Suisun harbor master to retire

    By Ian Thompson | From Page: A4

     
    Mosquito abatement district board has opening

    By Ian Thompson | From Page: A4

     
    Fairfield police log: Dec. 17, 2014

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

     
    Suisun City police log: Dec. 17, 2014

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

    Police arrest 2nd suspect in Fairfield credit union robbery

    By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A12 | Gallery

     
    .

    US / World

    Digital dilemma: How will US respond to Sony hack?

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

     
    Rubio, other Congressional Cubans step up Obama criticism

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

    Spy’s parents search for son after Cuba-US deal

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

     
    Hope and some fear in Cuba amid thaw with US

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

    Next steps on Cuba: Normalizing could take awhile

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

     
    Sony hacking fallout puts all companies on alert

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

    Sony film took aim at North Korea’s biggest taboo

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

     
    Timeline of the Sony Pictures Entertainment hack

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

    ‘Pretty horrible’ scene; car slams into crowd

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    San Francisco Bay Bridge fasteners not in danger of failing

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    Police: Drunk man shot while entering wrong house

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

     
    CHP, Oakland in tiff over plainclothes officers at protests

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    Local emergencies in Northern California counties after rain

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    California’s top utility regulator defends record

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    Tsarnaev appears in court for 1st time since 2013

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

     
    President signs legislation ending Nazi benefit checks

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

    Feds sue NYC over Rikers Island jail violence

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

     
    2 states challenge Colorado marijuana legalization

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

    ‘Prison Houdini’ set to make his 1st legal escape

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

     
    Top Islamic militants killed; more US troops going to Iraq

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

    Russian sailors leaving France without warship

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

     
    Putin: West wants to defang, declaw Russian bear

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

    Suspected Islamic extremists kidnap 185 in Nigeria

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

     
    European court rules obesity can be a disability

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

    .

    Opinion

    America’s response to the torture report shameful

    By Clive Crook | From Page: A11

     
    Another look at school bonds

    By George Guynn Jr. | From Page: A11

    Editorial Cartoon: Dec. 19, 2014

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

     
    News of the day strikes a chord

    By Bud Stevenson | From Page: A11

     
    .

    Living

    Today in History: Dec. 19, 2014

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Community Calendar: Dec. 19, 2014

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

    Horoscopes: Dec. 19, 2014

    By Holiday Mathis | From Page: D8

     
    Should I use Child Protective Services threat to get back rent?

    By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: D8

    .

    Entertainment

    Week in preview Dec. 19-25, 2014

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

     
    Sweet ‘Night at the Museum’ bids farewell to Robin Williams

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Review: ‘The Hobbit’ wraps with a Middle Earth melee

    By Jake Coyle | From Page: B2 | Gallery

     
    Craig Ferguson to end 10 years as host of ‘Late Late Show’

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

    Eric Idle brings ‘Not the Messiah’ to Carnegie Hall

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

     
    Entertainment calendar Dec. 19, 2014

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: B4

    .

    Sports

    49ers’ Harbaugh mum on reported offer from Michigan

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

     
    49ers’ Aldon Smith hopes to build off tough year

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

    A’s trade All-Star catcher Derek Norris to Padres

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

     
    Warriors beat Thunder 114-109 after Durant injury

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

     
    A’s acquire lefty De La Rosa from Arizona for cash

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

    Raiders defense depleted by injuries

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

     
    Column: Thaw in US-Cuba relations warms up MLB

    By Jim Litke | From Page: B8

    Rivera: Newton ‘probably’ will start vs. Browns

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

     
    Bears bench QB Jay Cutler for Clausen

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

    ‘Hands Up’ players to attend Ferguson Christmas party

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

     
    Celtics trade Rondo to Mavericks

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

    Rodriguez boys open Les Curry Tournament with victory

    By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B8

     
    39 bowl games and a reason to watch every one

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

    Signups for Friday, Dec. 19, 2014

    By Paul Farmer | From Page: B9

     
    This date in sports history for Friday, Dec. 19, 2014

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

    Sports on TV/Local sports for Friday, Dec. 19, 2014

    By Paul Farmer | From Page: B11

     
    .

    Business

    Roomiest Subaru Legacy debuts for 2015

    By Ann M. Job | From Page: C1

     
    Dow industrials have their best day in three years

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

    Ford expands drivers air bag recall nationwide

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

     
    Constantly changing online prices stump shoppers

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

    .

    Obituaries

    Patricia “Pat” Anne Stringfield-Pierre

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

     
    Lisa Dee McHughes

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

    Dominic C. Scolaro

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

     
    Ernest “Ernie” Moretti

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

    Travis Curt Price

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

     
    Jennie Ponce Reyes

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

    .

    Comics