Aric Almirola led Richard Petty Motorsports and the famed No. 43 Smithfield Ford to its second Top-10 finish of the 2017 season Sunday afternoon. A fast car all afternoon, the team overcame a debatable late-race penalty to charge from 22nd to ninth in the final 50 laps. The finish is the second Top-10 in the first nine races of the season.
“Our team has been working really hard, but the results haven’t reflected the work we put into our cars. We’ve made small gains each week and keep working to improve our cars one step at a time. We’ve had some good runs at Richmond and it’s Smithfield’s backyard, so hopefully, we can turn our season around this weekend. We’re going to keep our heads up and focused on improvement, and we will get there.”
Rain hindered much of the weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway and postponed the Food City 500 to Monday afternoon. The field was set by the rulebook due to the rain, and Aric Almirola started 18th in the No. 43 Smithfield Ford. Kyle Larson set a fast pace early in the race and began lapping the field early in the 500-lap race.
“Bristol Motor Speedway has always been one of my favorite tracks, so I’m really excited to be back there this weekend. We’ve been consistent at the short-tracks this year, but I’m ready to end a race in Victory Lane. I feel really good about our chances of doing that here in our No. 43 Smithfield Ford.
“Today was extremely disappointing,” said Almirola. “We had such a good race car all weekend and should have had a much better finish. We got hit from behind on the first lap which really set us back. But this team fought hard, and we got back to where we needed to be.