For the Daytona 500, double-digit skids will continue for 0-forevers

Aric Almirola drove his No. Ten Ford after a red flag at the Daytona 500. He let his mind wander. 

For the Daytona 500, double-digit skids will continue for 0-forevers

He drove a fast car. He was a solid track position. He had all the necessary skills to win "The Great American Race."

As he waited for NASCAR to begin its season-opening spectacle, all those thoughts ran through his mind. He kept returning to the same idea: When is the best time to do something special? It's his 12th and last attempt.

Almirola said, "I thought for certain, like, "Man, this setting up nicely to have that fairytale ending,"" Almirola remembered.

Almirola finished fifth on Sunday, again coming up short. The bittersweet moment came for Almirola, who was about to embark on his final full-time Cup Series season.

"It's emotional, honestly. He said it, his voice trailing off. "Awe, man. It's an amazing feeling to be at the Daytona 500. As a child, you dream about these things. I can still remember being in the grandstands. It's special. It's hard to lose, but."

Almirola was surrounded by heartbroken friends, including Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. They were four of seven drivers who tried to avoid double-digit crashes in the Daytona 500. Many of them had chances in the end. They all watched Austin Cindric, Team Penske celebrate in victory lane.

Tony Stewart, Fox Sports color analyst, said that every year it doesn’t happen, it causes that intensity to go up the next year." He was 0 for 17 at the Daytona 500 when Tony Stewart retired.

Here are seven of the less-magnificent Daytona Seven:

MARTIN TRUEX JR. (0 for 18)

Truex finished 13th, extending NASCAR's longest active skid during the 500. The 2017 series champion, who had won the Daytona 500's first two stages, was disappointed to finish 13th. He was involved in a five-car collision with 50 laps remaining when Tyler Reddick lost a part and spun in front of him.

KYLE BUSCH (0 to 17)

Busch finished sixth in NASCAR's premier event. He led for 28 laps four times, surpassing Stewart for most laps led in the 500. Despite suffering front-end injuries in an eight-car collision on lap 62, he was still in the overtime mix.

DAVID RAGAN (0 to 16)

Ragan was surprised to finish eighth. It was a big payday for Rick Ware and his two-car team. Ragan was in semi-retirement and drove for Ware. After the 2019 season, Ragan decided to leave NASCAR's full time grind. He's been back every year to compete in 500 races since then.

GREG BIFFLE (0 to 15)

Biffle, 52, agreed to drive for NY Racing. NY Racing spent three months trying to put together a team and it looked like Biffle might be the first car out. However, Biffle started experiencing problems in the first stage. The team pitted, fixed some issues and was able to salvage a 36th place finish.

BRAD KESELOWSKI (0 to 13)

Keselowski came in ninth after he threw three multicar wrecks. One was just before the finish line on the final lap. Keselowski's new venture was met with a difficult end. After 12 seasons at Penske, he left to join Roush Fenway Racing as well as RFK Racing. Keselowski won a qualifying race on Thursday and led six times for a record-setting 67 laps. However, he was unable to win the 500 just two months after his father's death.

RICKY STENHOUSE JR. (0 to 11)

Stenhouse was running fast at the front, with six minutes left when Keselowski gave him an extra push that turned him around and finally got him into the wall. He was 28th.

Stenhouse, along with others, will have another chance in 2023.

David Pearson, Hall of Fame driver, needed 15 attempts to win the Daytona 500. Kurt Busch required 16. Dale Earnhardt, seven-time Cup champion NASCAR driver, won on his 20th attempt. This victory was celebrated by almost everyone in the garage.

Almirola hoped for something similar in the closing laps but got out of his car with a not-so-subtle letdown.

He said, "I believed it. I really did." "I believed that it would happen. It just didn't happen."



 

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