Just when you thought it couldn’t get more wild and crazy at Daytona International Speedway, it just did in Sunday’s Coke Zero 400.
What was a rescheduled race due to rain last night has become one of stop-and-go, now under the third red flag of today.
Following a massive 25-car wreck on Lap 98, the race resumed on Lap 104, with Aric Almirola and the legendary No. 43 Ford of Richard Petty Motorsports in the lead.
Almirola remained in the lead when caution was called five laps later on Lap 109, and then NASCAR redflagged the race on Lap 113 when a huge rainstorm enveloped the backstretch with heavy rainfall.
While NASCAR hopes to resume the race once the rain stops and the track is dried, count Almriola as one who doesn’t want the rain to stop, which would lead to his first career Sprint Cup victory and also on the 30th anniversary of team owner Richard Petty’s 200th and last Sprint Cup win in 1984.
“I’m not going to lie,” Almirola told TNT. “I just wish the Good Lord would dump a huge rain shower on us right now.”
The Air Titan track dryers are back on the 2.5-mile high-banked superspeedway.
We’ll be back shortly with more updates as they evolve.
On Monday, the Formula 1 schedule finally allowed teams to be in Europe before heading to Abu Dhabi for this weekend’s season finale.
And as such, that provided a window for now four-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton to return to the Mercedes AMG Petronas factories in Brackley and Brixworth to be celebrated for taking the driver’s title, as Hamilton an Valtteri Bottas delivered Mercedes its fourth straight constructor’s title.
Hamilton was at Brixworth, the home of Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains (HPP) and its highly successful Mercedes-Benz Power Units first before heading to Brackley, where he was welcomed with a “guard of honor” as the entire team came out to greet him.
The champion was overwhelmed at the response and the welcome.
“This a very emotional day. I was not expecting this, thanks everyone for the warm welcome,” he said. “Today is something that I will never forget, turning up at the front gate of the factory and seeing everyone out on the street to welcome me – I’m blown away.
“This has been an incredible year, it’s been an incredible journey together. There’s a huge amount of respect and appreciation I have for everyone. I’ve been in the sport for a long time now, but to see the work ethic in Brixworth and Brackley really inspires me. Every time I come around, I see everyone operating at 100%, which encourages me to bring my best performance.
“Thank you all for helping me achieve my dreams, it would not have been possible without you. This is the best championship year, because we’ve been fighting another team and because we’ve had the difficulties and challenges we’ve had – that just makes it so much greater.”
A social roundup of images and videos are below, all via Hamilton and the Mercedes team on social media.