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Perseverance pays off for Almirola

Updated: June 16, 2010, 3:15 PM ET
By Marty Smith | ESPN.com

Aric Almirola idles in standstill traffic on I-485 in Charlotte, N.C., slightly bewildered by the volume of vehicles around him, en route to a television studio south of town to rap about his Truck series win at Michigan International Speedway.

He's on the phone in his car, in a driving rain, recalling the past year, one that included countless forced smiles and uncomfortable handshakes and baseless conversations with uninterested race car owners, and excruciating pride-stripping parades ...

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