Daytona Beach brought a lot of surprises in the qualifying when rain prevents more than one round taking place. Then the main race was post phoned due to the bad weather and so it was Sunday when eventually the race took place.
In the end it was victory for Aric Almirola which was the first time that the No. 43 had been in the victory lane for 15 years. The Richard Petty Motorsports team had double celebrations when they were also celebrating the 30th anniversary of Petty’s 200th career win.
Almirola explained afterwards that the 43 car is famous and to be able to drive it was a great honour for him and although it took two and a half years to get it in to the victory lane, it was worth it.
Petty was not actually present to celebrate as he had already left during one of the many rain delays. However, he was contacted by telephone and asked about his thoughts on the victory. He explained that he had never given up, despite the problems that the team had been going through. He said that they may not have overcome everything but this is just a start.
There were two huge accidents during the race, one of which took out most of the main runners including Kyle Busch, Greg Biffle, Kasey Kahne, Carl Edwards, Jamie McMurray, Kevin Harvick, Toby Stewart and Jimmie Johnson. The wreck was started by Kahne and Biffle and ended up with Busch being flipped over. In the end there were only seven cars that avoiding being involved in a crash which included the winner, who is now the only driver to win at Daytona in the no 43 car apart from Petty.
The race was stopped with Almirola in the lead and it was always assumed that it would resume as there were still 48 laps left but the track was so wet that it was decided that it would not carry on. Following Almirola in first place were Brian Vickers, Kurt Busch, Casey Mears and Austin Dillon. In eighth place came Danica Patrick despite a pit lane mistake and Dale Earnhardt Jr was 14th.
There have now been eleven winners this season with winners qualifying for one of the 16 spots in the Chase at the end of the season which will determine the winner of the Sprint Cup Championship.