Aric Almirola and the No. 43 Smithfield Ford team head to Richmond International Raceway with one more opportunity to make it into The Chase. Inside of the Top 30 in the Championship Point Standings, Almirola is eligible to compete in The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship but must win to move on. Richmond is the last opportunity to win a race before the sport’s playoffs begin.
“This definitely wasn’t how we pictured our night ending,” said Almirola. “We’ve had a great time this weekend honoring the 1979 season, and I really wanted to get STP a solid finish with such an awesome car. But, we had a Top-20 finish within reach there at the end. I thought I’d be given more room trying to make that pass, but that’s just racing sometimes.
“It’s really fun to run a throwback scheme with STP. It’s an iconic sponsor in the sport, and Richard Petty and STP have done great things together. They created a brand for the No. 43 car with that Petty blue and day-glow red. Having the opportunity to go run that scheme at Darlington will be very special.
“This 2017 rules package has been a tough one for us to wrap our arms around,” said Almirola. “We struggled with handling from the start of the weekend in race trim. We just always seemed to be too loose. But, we’ll continue working with the package and comparing notes with other races we’ve run with it and keep working to find a way it works for our team.
“I’m looking forward to another opportunity to race this new 2017 aero package at Michigan this weekend. It’ll be beneficial for us to get more time with it to see how we can make it work best for our team moving into next season. Michigan itself is an interesting track to race at because it’s a predominantly bottom-lane track. It hasn’t widened out much with the repave they did a few years ago. You can run two-wide there, but the bottom is very much preferred.