(Daytona Beach, FL) - A disjointed couple of days at Daytona ended with a surprise winner of the Coke Zero 400, as Aric Almirola grabbed his first career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory in the crash-filled, rain-shortened race.
Almirola won for Richard Petty Motorsports, driving the iconic number 43, becoming the first driver to win at Daytona with the famous number since Petty himself won his 200th, and final NASCAR race 30 years ago last week.
The race was called after 112 laps due to a persistent weather system that postponed the race from its' original Saturday night schedule.
Two large crashes shuffled the finishing order, the first one involved 13 cars including Indiana native Tony Stewart and former Pittsboro resident Jeff Gordon. The second "big one" collected 26 cars and caused a brief red flag for clean-up.
Gordon finished 12th and leads the point standings by 27 points over Dale Earnhardt Junior. Ryan Newman ended up 24th, with Stewart's damaged ride limping home 40th.
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