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.
“Chicagoland Speedway promotes a lot of great racing all over the racetrack. It’s a fun track to race at, and I’m excited to go back there. We’re not in The Chase, but we still have a really great opportunity to go there and try to win the race. Hopefully, we’ll be able to run with the drivers racing in The Chase and mix up the field a bit. We’ve run really well there in the past.
“I couldn’t be more proud of my team tonight,” said Almirola. “It’s really easy to give up when you’re three laps down. But, my team rallied and focused on Trent’s strategy to keep us in this race. Our No. 43 Smithfield Ford didn’t take off how we needed it to, so all of those short runs hurt us there at the end. It all came together though, and we made big moves to bring home a 17th-place finish.