After weeks of writing about it, it finally happened. A longshot, Aric Almirola, won a 2014 Sprint Cup race, chaining the Chase landscape and making for a memorable and rain-shorterend weekend. Here’s the Bert Convy inspired breakdown.
Win: Richard Petty
The No. 43 car hadn’t won in 15 years and 543 races. Even if Richard Petty left early, this is huge win for the King.
Aric Almirola secures a Chase spot when he wouldn’t have received one otherwise. In Almirola’s last five starts prior to Sunday’s win, he finished 12th, 22nd, 31st, 23rd and 39th.
Now Almirola has momentum and a puncher’s chance. Dream with me.
- Chicago, New Hampshire and Daytona are the first three Chase tracks. Chicago is big and fast, not like Daytona, but still fast. Dover is a short and speedy like Bristol where Almirola finished third earlier this year.
- Charlotte is big and fast; Talladega is anyone’s best guess; then it’s another short track in Martinsville.
- At this point, it’s house money and and a Disney inspired movie theme.
None of this happens under the old points system. Just ask David Ragan, who won this race three years ago and lost his ride at the end of that year.
Lose: Greg Biffle
Almirola became the 11th different driver to win a race. That bumps Biffle to 17th in points and on the outside of the Chase looking in at Almirola, who has 38 fewer points and one far more important victory after avoiding this mess.
And to keep the Richard Petty Motorsprots karma going, consider this: what if Marcos Ambrose wins at Watkins Glen? Ambrose was favored at the first road race of the year. RPM could have two drivers in the Chase while Kasey Kahne and Tony Stewart are racing for fun in the fall.
Two massive wrecks and one improbable win are the type of thing that makes for great TV on a holiday weekend.
Too bad the weather stunk. Qualifying was even worse, to the point Nascar may have to adjust on the fly for Talladega qualifying.
In the end, Nascar has to feel great about Richard Petty finding his way to victory lane again. The wild car win should make for a wild run between now and Richmond.