Almirola: "I would return the favor" to Austin Dillon for 500 win

shares
comments
Almirola:
By:
Feb 8, 2019, 6:04 PM

Stewart-Haas Racing's Aric Almirola says he would "return the favor" if he was to again fight Austin Dillon for victory in the 2019 NASCAR Cup Series season-opening Daytona 500.

Aric Almirola, Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Fusion, Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, and Austin Dillon, Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Camaro
Aric Almirola, Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Fusion
Austin Dillon, Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Camaro leads as Aric Almirola, Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Fusion wrecks
Aric Almirola, Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Fusion and Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota lead
Race winner Aric Almirola, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Fusion Smithfield Bacon for Life
Aric Almirola, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Fusion Smithfield
Aric Almirola, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Fusion Smithfield

Dillon took Chevrolet and Richard Childress Racing's only win of 2018 in last year's Daytona 500 after a last-lap clash with Almirola in which the SHR driver was tipped into a race-ending spin by his rival. 

Almirola came out in support of Dillon immediately after the race, saying: "He's not driving too aggressively, he's trying to win the Daytona 500 just like I was."

But ahead of this year's Daytona 500, Almirola said he would retaliate given the "same opportunity" in the 2019 race.

“I felt so confident. I knew that if I hit all of my gears perfectly, I would have a shot at it and I did," Almirola said of last year's race. 

"I looked in my mirror and saw everyone racing side-by-side and figured that I was in control of the race and, if I made the right move, I was going to be the winner of the Daytona 500. 

Half a lap away from history

"About halfway down the back straightaway, they [Dillon and Denny Hamlin] were coming with a run and I pulled over to block it. 

"In your head, you know it’s the Daytona 500 and you’re a mile-and-a-half away from winning, so you’re going to do everything you know to try and win that race. 

"I pulled over to block and put a pretty aggressive block on the #3 [Dillon]. I knew that if I blocked high, he was going to go low. 

"As soon as I blocked high I knew I was going to have to immediately block low. When I blocked low, he turned against my back bumper and into the outside wall. 

"I wrecked a mile away from winning the Daytona 500. 

"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.”

Almirola and his fellow Ford drivers will give the new-for-2019 Mustang its Cup series debut at Daytona in the first NASCAR match-up between the Mustang and the Camaro.

Read Also:

Next article
Why NASCAR can't win its war on cheating overnight

Previous article

Why NASCAR can't win its war on cheating overnight

Next article

Joey Logano leads Daytona Clash practice, four cars wreck

Joey Logano leads Daytona Clash practice, four cars wreck
Load comments

About this article

Series NASCAR Cup
Author Tom Errington