Sports

Almirola Wins Rain-Shortened Coke Zero 400 at Daytona

MARK LONG, AP Sports Writer
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DAYTONA BEACH, FL - JULY 06:  Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 United States Air Force Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 after the race was called for weather at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)

DAYTONA BEACH, FL – JULY 06: Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 United States Air Force Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 after the race was called for weather at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) —Tampa native Aric Almirola has won the rain-delayed and rain-shortened NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Daytona International Speedway, putting Richard Petty’s famed No. 43 in Victory Lane for the first time since 1999.

Almirola’s unexpected win came on the same weekend Petty celebrated the 30th anniversary of his 200th win.

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.

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.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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