The race itself was a jumble of rain delays, plus a couple of spectacular wrecks. The first one collected 16 cars, although somehow Aric Almirola steered through the carnage undamaged. Many would consider that a lucky break. Later in the race, another massive 26 car pile-up took out many more cars, but this time Almirola was driving out ahead of the melee.
As Almirola led the field of remaining cars to the restart, he suddenly found himself in a position to win. With some skillful driving in the face of more looming bad weather, he held on for the win as the race was called after 112 of the scheduled 160 laps. Aric Almirola had just won his first major NASCAR Sprint Cup race, in a fast and steady car, for a storied brand.
To be in the position to win on that day and in those circumstances required much more than luck. It required countless hours, days, weeks and months of preparation by his race team. They equipped Almirola with the tools to win; he used them to the best of his ability and skillfully navigated treacherous conditions. In consultation with his crew chief, they planned when to pit, what to do and where to run on the track.
The legacy of Richard Petty's famous #43 was there with Aric Almirola on the track. But legacies don't win races; talented drivers and well-prepared teams do. Luck doesn't win them either, but being in the right place (or the wrong one) at a certain moment can definitely affect the probabilities. In that sense, luck can create sudden opportunity; what happens in the next moment and the ultimate result are heavily influenced by the preparation that preceded the moment of truth.
Preparation and skill have a knack for creating "luck". The better-prepared you are, the luckier you tend to get. Yes, it's much more fun to be both lucky and good. Enjoy the Journey!