July 18, 2021; Loudon, New Hampshire, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Aric Almirola (10) hugs a lobster after winning Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at the New Hampshire Freeway. Required credit: Brian Fluharty-USA Sports TODAY
Aric Almirola’s disappointing season took a big turn for the better on Sunday when he won the Foxwoods Casino 301 game that was shortened in the dark, due to inclement weather at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway .
The race win, which was shortened from 301 to 293 laps because of dark, was Almirola’s first win of the season and put him in the knockout stages, a spot he was in great danger of missing out on. to the New Hampshire mile.
The final achievement was only his second in the top five all season. He entered the race with a score of 27 and had just five races left before starting a 16-driver, 10-race qualifying.
Almirola also gave Stewart-Haas Motorsports its first win of the season. It was the fourth time in his career.
A year ago, Almirola had 6 top 5 and 18 top 10 to win points in the knockout stage.
In second place was Christopher Bell of Team Penske, who made one of its races when Almirola got stuck in traffic less than 10 laps. Winning margin is 0.69 seconds.
In third is Team Penske’s Brad Keselowski.
His teammate, Joey Logano, who survived the penalty two laps early in the race, finished fourth.
Penske’s Ryan Blaney was fifth while Kevin Harvick, looking for his first win of the season, was sixth after leading a best 66 laps.
Trouble came to the race on June 6 when NASCAR officials allowed the race to continue despite the pouring rain. Both frontman Kyle Busch and runner-up Martin Truex, Jr., – a teammate of Joe Gibbs Racing – filmed on the wet track. Several other cars, including JGR’s Denny Hamlin, returned to the scene.
Busch’s car, starting on a pole, was badly damaged by hitting a wall and he was disqualified from the race.
Officials threw a warning flag and then a red flag to stop the race.
“We started the race in the fog,” said Busch, who finished in second place ahead of his brother Kurt a week ago in Atlanta. “It should never have been green to begin with. But then it just kept getting worse and worse. Last lap (turn) I entered (Turn) 1 and it shoved badly and I was able to control it.
“We talked about it for two rounds where it rained. It makes no sense to say what I mean. It doesn’t do you any good. Was made. We’re going home.”
Truex, who suffered less damage than Busch, said, “I shouted on the radio (to NASCAR officials) that the track was wet. Like wet, wet”.
Denny Hamlin, whose vehicle was slightly damaged, said: “You simply rely on NASCAR to do their job, and that allows anglers to let them know when surfaces are unsafe or there’s debris, rain, whatever it is.”
Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR’s executive vice president and director of track development, said there was fog falling during the races leading to the wreck and it was pouring rain. But, “just as (the starter) was about to turn yellow, we looked down and the car number 18 (Busch) was getting loose. The track slipped away in a hurry. “
The race resumed around 5:30pm East with Chase Elliott leading.
The series will take the next two weekends off before returning to its road course at Watkins Glen on August 8.
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