This time, Aric Almirola was able to celebrate.
Almirola took advantage of Kyle Busch's empty fuel tank to win the Dover 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race and get his second official victory in one of NASCAR's national series. The other victory was in name only, as Almirola started Joe Gibbs Racing's Busch Series car at Milwaukee in 2007 but was pulled for Sprint Cup driver Denny Hamlin during the race. Though Almirola was credited with the victory, he had left the track long before Hamlin took the checkered flag.
At Dover International Speedway on Friday, though, Almirola had some fun with a smoky burnout, a reverse victory lap and a wild Victory Lane celebration.
"Put it this way, that trophy's not at my house on a mantle," Almirola said of the Milwaukee race. "This one will be – tonight. It's a dream come true. Track position is so tough here, you have to have a phenomenal truck to do what we did today. I'm not going to take any credit for that. It's a lot of fun when you have a really good truck here. We fought hard today, and it was a good day."
Almirola had fallen two laps down because of a flat tire but rallied to get back in contention. He was one of several drivers to pit for fuel and tires under caution with 54 laps to go.
Busch wasn't one of them, though, as his Kyle Busch Motorsports truck had stopped 30 laps earlier. On the penultimate restart, Busch didn't come up to speed with apparent vapor-lock trouble and slipped back to third. The yellow waved for Austin Dillon's blown engine, giving Busch a chance to reclaim the lead he had held for 172 laps. But as the field was getting the green, Busch's Toyota headed to pit lane.
"Ran out of gas," a frustrated Busch said as he sped out of the track. He finished 16th, with fuel pump issues listed as his reason out.
James Buescher came back from a spin to finish second, passing Justin Lofton on the last lap. Both posted their best career finishes in the Truck series. Ricky Carmichael also had his best career finish in fourth, giving Turner Motorsports second and fourth. Todd Bodine sputtered on the final restart but finished fifth.