Sometimes, racing has one of those weekends that can only be described as bizarre. NASCAR went down to Daytona in the hopes of having another year of a great tradition, racing on the most famous track the series competes at. Instead, what it got was a weekend that saw fireworks in the sky, but also Mother Nature decided to play it's own havoc on the race.
It began Friday, when qualifying ended shortly after it began. It continued Saturday, where the rain delayed the start, eventually pushing the race to a Sunday afternoon.
Then on Sunday, slight rain in the afternoon put a halt on the initial start, then after it began it rained the first time. Sunday's race had two wrecks that took out over half the field in chaotic style, and everyone wondered if the race would have any highlights. Then, after 113 laps, it rained again...and kept raining, and eventually poured a Niagara Falls amount down on the track and everyone still in attendance.
That left NASCAR to decide the weekend was over, declaring a winner. And that winner was behind the wheel of a car that stayed away from all the trouble, kept the nose clean, and had a fast car all day long.
After signing a new contract both with his team and his sponsors, Aric Almirola put the No. 43 Ford in victory lane for the first time since 1999, and the first time at Daytona since 1984, when team owner Richard Petty went to victory lane for the 200th time in his career. It certainly will be a win everyone will remember this season.
As for our writers, it was a tough go. Only one writer broke into the top-10 this week, while a few others wouldn't see the finish, even if it wasn't the full distance. Here's where everyone stands after a shortened Coke Zero 400:
Kara Martin (672) Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 14th - 3
Sal Sigala Jr. (647) Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 14th - 5
Ryan O'Hara (618) Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 14th - 4
Rob Tiongson (614) Jeff Gordon finished 12th - 2
Patti Rodisch (609) Matt Kenseth finished 20th - 2
Billy Fellin (569) Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 14th - 1
Dustin Parks (566) Jeff Gordon finished 12th - 2
Rob Blount (548) Kevin Harvick finished 39th - 1
Michael Hirshbein (542) Kyle Busch finished 28th - 1
Aaron Rosser (529) Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 14th - 1
Misan Akuya (528) Denny Hamlin finished 6th - 1
James Broomhead (468) NO PICK SENT - 2
Next Race: In the hopes that the weather is a little better, NASCAR is leaving the beaches of Florida and heading north, as in way north. Instead of feet in the sand, more feet will be on the fishing boats. Even the trophy has a unique look to the area, with it's big claws and meaty look. Next up on the schedule, a part of the country more known for lobsters and Super Bowl rings than the roar of engines.
New Hampshire Motor Speedway is the contrast from what Daytona provided, as it doesn't have the high banks and is not over two miles in length. It's just under half that size, and in comparison, it's more like Martinsville with it's flat, sweeping corners.
Writers, once again the deadline is critical as I am going out of town this upcoming weekend. Have your picks locked in and submitted by Thursday, July 10, at 10 p.m. ET for the Camping World RV Sales 301.