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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. [url=http://www.authenticmarinersproshop.com/randy-johnson-mariners-jersey/]Randy Johnson Mariners Jersey[/url] . -- Aric Almirola grew up two hours from Daytona International Speedway, attended countless races as a kid and even "dreamed about what it would be like to have a chance to race at the highest level at this racetrack." He found out Sunday, after two days of thunderstorms, three red-flag stoppages and dozens of wrecked cars. As a bonus, he also accomplished the feat on a milestone anniversary for his car owner, NASCAR legend Richard Petty. Almirola won the delayed and rain-shortened Sprint Cup race at Daytona, putting Pettys famed blue No. 43 back on top for the first time since 1999. The 30-year-old Almirolas first Cup win came on the same weekend Petty celebrated the 30th anniversary of his 200th career victory. "The 43 car is without a doubt the most famous car in our sports history," Almirola said. "And to have that opportunity to drive that race car has been really special from the day that I stepped foot in it. All I wanted to do from the very first time I drove it was get it to Victory Lane. It took 2 1/2 years I guess, but I finally did it." Petty wasnt around for the festivities, having already left Daytona during one of the many delays. The Coke Zero 400 was supposed to start Saturday, but steady rain forced it to be postponed a day. When it did finally get going, it was interrupted several more times. There were seven cautions and three red flags, two of them because of huge accidents that took out most of the 43-car field. Top contenders Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick, Jamie McMurray, Carl Edwards, Kasey Kahne, Greg Biffle and Kyle Busch were among those knocked out. Only seven drivers avoided both crashes. Not surprisingly, Almirola was among them. He became the first Cup driver other than Petty to win in the legendary No. 43 at Daytona. The previous time the 43 won was with John Andretti behind the wheel at Martinsville in 1999. So Pettys renowned car went 543 races without a victory. "Everybody always asks me, How, how much pressure is it to drive The Kings car?" Almirola said. "To be honest with you, theres nobody that can put any more pressure on me than me because I want to win for myself. I know this sounds terrible, but its more about winning so that I can feel a sense of accomplishment more than just winning to give Richard Petty another win. Hes won enough races." Here are five other things to know about the Daytona race: NO SWEEP: Dale Earnhardt Jr. had hoped to become the sixth driver to sweep the season at Daytona. His chances were shot just 20 laps into the race when he was collected in a 16-car accident that caused serious damage to his No. 88 Chevrolet. He fell a lap down during repairs, eventually got back on the lead lap and finished 14th. The Daytona 500 winner was particularly annoyed because hed actually avoided the accident, but got hit from behind. "We were going to be fine on that first wreck, but we got run over," he said. "I cant believe all of the cars we have wrecked today." WILD RIDE: Kyle Busch went for the wildest of rides in a 25-car crash that will be remembered for his car flipping onto its roof. But that wreck was just as unsettling for Jamie McMurray, whose car briefly went airborne. "I have never had a car thats off the ground, and its a crazy feeling, and its a helpless feeling," McMurray said. "I was really lucky that it set back down." As spectacular as the big accidents look, McMurray said they are usually the easiest for drivers. "You see these big wrecks and those are probably the easiest hits you take all year long because everyone is going the same speed, and for the most part, those dont hurt near as bad as if you have a tire issue or something," he said. CHASING THE CHASE: Slots are filling fast in the 16-driver Chase for the Sprint Cup championship, with Almirolas victory likely securing him the latest berth. There are only eight races remaining and, with 11 winners to date, there could effectively only be five remaining spots to fill. NASCAR overhauled the format this year to create a win-and-in system, and several stars have yet to grab the needed victory. Among the winless with two months to go are Matt Kenseth, Tony Stewart, Kasey Kahne and Clint Bowyer. It could lead to one of the most competitive on-track summers in some time. "Obviously the fewer spots there are, the intensity picks up," said second-place finisher Brian Vickers. "You go to every race trying to win and knowing whats at stake if you do, and whats at stake if you dont." DODGED THE BIG ONE: A mistake on pit road likely saved Danica Patricks race at Daytona. Patrick was running eighth when she headed to pit road for a routine stop, but she missed her stall. She had to back up, losing valuable time and dropping to 30th when she got back on track. It turned out to be a blessing when it put Patrick far behind the pack and in position to avoid being collected in a 25-car pileup. She ultimately finished eighth. Still, she wanted a shot to race for the win. "On a normal speedway weekend, you would say eighth is pretty good, lets just go home with a car that is not too badly banged up," she said while she waited out the final rain delay. "But there is a lot less to lose than normal, so it would be fun to go back at it." FORD FACTS: Aric Almirolas victory at Daytona was the third consecutive win for a Ford driver. The streak started last month when Carl Edwards won at Sonoma and continued last week with Brad Keselowskis victory at Kentucky. The last time Ford won three straight Cup races was in 2005, when Greg Biffle won Dover, Edwards won at Pocono and then Biffle won again at Michigan. The win is the seventh of the season for Ford Racing, equaling the most wins for Ford since 2011. It was the third win for Richard Petty Motorsports as a Ford-backed team. [url=http://www.authenticmarinersproshop.com/t-shirts/]Seattle Mariners T-shirts[/url] . Off-Season Game Plan examines a team facing some challenging times as GM Bryan Murray tries to put together a roster for next season. Perhaps the first challenge facing Murray is that its expected he will be moving out Jason Spezza, a premier point producer who is about to enter the final year of his contract. [url=http://www.authenticmarinersproshop.com/adam-lind-mariners-jersey/]Adam Lind Mariners Jersey[/url] . Here are some of the best from Week One and some to watch in Week Two: TOP PERFORMERS Anthony Allen, RB, Saskatchewan (176 YDS, 2 TD, 30 touches vs. Hamilton) - Powerfully-built back burst onto the scene in his CFL debut, after a couple of years in the NFL, playing 21 games with the Baltimore Ravens. 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