Race Weekend Central

The Frontstretch 5: Most Recent 1st-Time Winners at Daytona

1. Erik Jones, July 2018

Not everyone loves a winner, but most fans love a first-time winner.  Erik Jones was the most recent driver to visit Victory Lane at Daytona International Speedway, but he’s the latest in a long line of drivers to find their first wins at the World Center of Racing. What Jones does from here remains to be seen, but the sophomore driver is young enough he has plenty of years of racing ahead of him.

2. Aric Almirola, July 2014

Remember that time Aric Almirola won in a Cup race?  Driving for Richard Petty Motorsports, Almirola played the strategy game to a T, taking the win when the skies opened up. The current driver of the No. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford came up a lap short of winning the Daytona 500 earlier this season and has shown signs he’s on the cusp of another victory in the near future.

3. David Ragan, July 2011

After taking himself out of contention earlier that season in the Daytona 500 when he jumped a late restart, Ragan made sure he did everything right when the Cup Series returned in the summer.

4. Trevor Bayne, February 2011

Trevor who?  20-year-old Bayne was a relative unknown on the Cup circuit in 2011, driving a part-time schedule for the Wood Brothers, but he made sure everyone knew his name in the sport’s biggest race. Now sharing the No. 6 Roush Fenway Ford with Matt Kenseth, there’s no telling what the future has in store.

5. Greg Biffle, July 2003

Rookie Biffle won the summer race at Daytona through a fuel strategy call. The Washington native, who hasn’t raced in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series since 2016, won 19 times in his career — but only one restrictor plate race.


About the author

Amy is an 20-year veteran NASCAR writer and a six-time National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) writing award winner, including first place awards for both columns and race coverage. As well as serving as Photo Editor, Amy writes The Big 6 (Mondays) after every NASCAR Cup Series race. She can also be found working on her bi-weekly columns Holding A Pretty Wheel (Tuesdays) and Only Yesterday (Wednesdays). A New Hampshire native whose heart is in North Carolina, Amy’s work credits have extended everywhere from driver Kenny Wallace’s website to Athlon Sports. She can also be heard weekly as a panelist on the Hard Left Turn podcast that can be found on AccessWDUN.com's Around the Track page.

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John W.

Greg Biffle last raced in the Cup Series in 2011? Fact check please.

Skyler Lysek

Biffle’s start was at homestead in 2016. His last win was Michigan in 2013.


And none of these has ever reached anything like stardom, because a win at Daytona is like getting a win in a lottery. It is pure luck with no skill involved. Jones has potential because he has been good at other tracks and works with the organization who does best at developing young drivers. And Biffle had a reasonable journeyman-type career. But thanks Amy for proving my point – plate races prove nothing and mean nothing. If NASCAR must have them, they should be non-points exhibitions with no free pass into the Playoffs. And once a driver causes a wreck, he is parked for the rest of the event.

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