You might call it a cautionary win of sorts for Aric Almirola in Friday’s Subway Firecracker 250 at Daytona International Speedway.
A multi-car wreck behind him on Lap 103 – three laps past the scheduled finish – froze the field under caution with NASCAR ruling Almirola was ahead of runner-up Justin Allgaier.
“Yeah baby, we’re going to victory lane tonight,” Almirola said on his radio once NASCAR officials – after about five minutes of video review – awarded him the narrow win.
It was Almirola’s first Xfinity Series win since 2007 at Milwaukee (he started the race and was given credit for the win, even though Denny Hamlin took over and was in the car when it crossed the finish line), his first Xfinity win at Daytona and also his first win of any type since winning the rain-shortened 2014 Coke Zero Sprint Cup race at Daytona.
Making Friday night’s win more special for Almirola is that he grew up about 120 miles away in Tampa, Florida.
“This is so cool,” Almirola said to NBCSN in victory lane. “God, I’m so glad to be back in victory lane here at Daytona. This is such a special place for me.”
HOW ALMIROLA WON: Almirola and Justin Allgaier put on a thrilling run to the finish. However, the GWC finished short, as an eight-car wreck prompted NASCAR to throw the caution, freezing the field and awarding the win to Almirola, who was less than a nose ahead of Allgaier when the caution light flashed.
WHO ALSO HAD A GOOD RACE: Allgaier made a late surge to get back to the front and had there not been the wreck on the final lap, freezing the field, the outcome could have been reversed.
WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Due primarily to being involved in wrecks, among those with rough days included Joe Nemechek, Justin Marks, Ryan Preece, Daniel Suarez, Maro Gosselin, Brandon Jones, Corey LaJoie, Austin Dillon, David Starr and Brennan Poole.
NOTABLE: David Ragan looked like he was headed to the win before being shuffled back and then involved in the wreck that ended the race. Ragan was a replacement driver for Matt Tifft, who underwent successful surgery earlier in the evening to remove a tumor on his brain.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “When you lose ‘em by that little bit, it definitely is frustrating. When you can be disappointed with second, though, it’s still a good day.” – Justin Allgaier.
WHAT’S NEXT: The Alsco 300, July 8, at Kentucky Speedway.