Aric Almirola was a lap away from winning his first Daytona 500 and putting an end to his multi year losing streak when Austin Dillon came out of nowhere and put him in the wall. Almirola started the season with a junked racecar and a race almost won, while Dillon went on to win it all.
A year has passed since this faithful encounter and Aric Almirola was asked about the incident by Motorsport. Interestingly enough, Almirola admitted that if he came into the same situation again, he would return to the favor to Austin Dillon and take the 500 win forever.
“I don’t necessarily fault him for what he did but, given the same opportunity this year, you can bet your bottom dollar I would return the favor. “You’re going to do whatever it takes.”
Of course Almirola also took time to make clear that he doesn’t hold any ill will towards the Richard Childress Racing driver, but he was also sure to let everyone know he learned his lesson from last year. Hopefully Almirola gets to put this lesson into practice during the 61st annual Daytona 500, but who knows with how Speedweeks has unfolded so far.
Whether Sunday’s Daytona 500 actually comes down to that or not remains to be seen and will depend on if both Almirola and Austin Dillon are both able to stay in the race. It will also depend on the two drivers having excellent drafting partners and being able to stay up front when it counts, which could be very difficult to do twice.