“We had a great No. 43 Smithfield Ford today,” said Almirola. “It was especially great on restarts, and I was moving through the field pretty well. That loose wheel killed our chances there towards the end, but Drew’s decision to try and make it on fuel from that point on was definitely the best call. We weren’t going to get back on the lead lap, but we wanted to get back as many positions as we could.
With changes in the race shop and on the road, Aric Almirola and the No. 43 Smithfield team have been working hard to get the 2016 season turned around and begin preparations for next year. Coming off of a disappointing finish in Chicago, Almirola went to New Hampshire with high expectations after a strong run at the one-mile oval earlier in the year.
Aric Almirola and the No. 43 Smithfield Ford team continued to show strength on tracks less than a mile-and-a-half on Sunday. Almirola finished 17th in Sunday’s race where track position was at a premium. The pit crew had fast pit stops, Crew Chief Drew Blickensderfer executed a strong race strategy and adjustments late helped Alrmirola pass to the front.
“New Hampshire Motor Speedway can be a challenge to get a handle on because it’s such a unique racetrack. It’s flat, and the corners are really long. You spend more time in the corners there than you do on the straightaways which is much different than most of the tracks that we go to. So you have to have a car that is turning well, but, at the same time, you have a car that’s driving off of the corner with a lot of rear grip.
“It was a tough day for us out there,” said Almirola. “Drew (Blickensderfer) and the team worked hard, but we just couldn’t get it handling how we needed it. Our No. 43 Smithfield Ford would start the run really tight through the corners and then would transition into loose on entry and exit. We made a lot of changes throughout the day, but the car didn’t respond with better handling.