Aric Almirola drives to NASCAR Coke Zero 400 victory in iconic No. 43
Almirola survives rain-shortened race at Daytona International Speedway on 30th anniversary of Richard Petty’s 200th career victory in car No. 43.
Seattle Times news services
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — After the weather had put its final soggy stamp on the weekend at Daytona International Speedway, Aric Almirola drove one of NASCAR’s iconic cars to victory in the Coke Zero 400.
Almirola, driver of Richard Petty Motorsports’ No. 43 Ford, was declared the winner Sunday after rain stopped the crash-marred race after 112 of a scheduled 160 laps. It brought a halt to a race that had already been postponed from Saturday night, also due to rain.
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. Enumclaw’s Kasey Kahne, Greg Biffle of Vancouver, Wash., Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick, Jamie McMurray, Carl Edwards 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.
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.”
• Juan Pablo Montoya won the IndyCar race at Pocono Raceway, the highlight of a triumphant return to open wheel racing after seven years in NASCAR.
Helio Castroneves was second to make it a 1-2 finish for team owner Roger Penske.
• John Force raced to his 140th career victory, beating Ron Capps in the Funny Car final in Norwalk, Ohio.
Antron Brown won in Top Fuel, Erica Enders-Stevens in Pro Stock and Andrew Hines in Pro Stock Motorcycle.