Almirola Gets First Truck Win
Dover, Del. – A race short on drama ratcheted up the excitement during the closing laps when Aric Almirola pulled away from the field on a green-white-checkered flag finish to capture Friday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Dover 200.
It was the 26-year-old Almirola’s first victory in 55 career starts in NASCAR’s truck series.
“It’s such a long time coming,” Almirola said. “I’ve raced a lot of NASCAR races. To finally be here in victory lane, what a treat.”
After cutting a right-front tire early in the day in the No. 51 Toyota owned by Billy Ballew, Almirola was forced to overcome a two lap deficit.
But he managed to take advantage of NASCAR’s wave around and free pass procedures to work his way back onto the lead lap.
“It’s all about never giving up,” Almirola said. “You never know when things will come back your way.”
After winning the pole earlier in the day and dominating much of the afternoon, Kyle Busch appeared set to roll to an easy victory.
But a faulty carburetor proved costly on the next-to-last restart when Busch dropped from the lead to fourth.
On the ensuing and final restart, the carburetor issue forced Busch to follow the pace car onto pit road as the green flag waved.
The scramble for the runner-up position on the final lap came down to James Buescher and Justin Lofton, a pair of newcomers to the series.
Buescher overcame a spin earlier in the race to nip Lofton by a few feet at the finish line. Ricky Carmichael edged Bodine to finish fourth.
Almirola, who passed Timothy Peters to take over the lead in the championship standings, is credited with winning a Nationwide Series race at the Milwaukee Mile in 2007.
But Almirola considers that win tainted since he was pulled out of the car during the event in favor of Denny Hamlin who drove the car to victory.
The Milwaukee incident made Friday’s victory at Dover sweeter for Almirola.
“Let me put it this way: that trophy (from Milwaukee) is not at my house on the mantle,” he said. “This one will be tonight.”
– Jeff Hood can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.orgNo Comment