Cuban-American NASCAR driver makes visit to Cuba

MIAMI (WSVN) - A local NASCAR driver made a special visit to his family’s native country of Cuba.

NASCAR Driver Aric Almirola told the story about how his grandparents and father came to the United States in 1966. The family came on board the Freedom Flights, leaving the Castro regime.

Like other Cuban-natives, the Almirolas had very little money. However, they did have a dream to begin a new life.

“It’s humbling. It really makes me appreciate what my aubela and aubelo decided to do,” said Almirola. “My Aubela pushed my Aubelo to do it, to leave the country and to come here to America and create a better life for their family. I get to benefit from that. It’s amazing.”

Almirola is the first Cuban-American driver and the first to win a cup series race.

He went to Cuba for the first time and learned about his family and history.

He got the chance to meet family he had never before seen or spoken to. However, he said one moment when his great-uncle showed him a NASCAR box with his photo on it stood out from the rest.

“It’s a box with my [photo] on it,” Almirola said. “He just thought that that was so cool that in America, somebody with the last name Almirola would be famous enough to have a piece of merchandise with their name on it, and it’s our name. It’s the Almirola name — my family, my dad, and my grandparents, made that trek and came here to Miami — to America — and what my life turned into because of them.”

Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.