“I would have gave anything to restart 10th instead of ninth, but it is what it is. It was a solid day for us. I’m really proud of Drew and everybody on this Smithfield Ford Fusion team. We worked on it all weekend and got it better and better, and the best we had it was right there in the race.
“When I think of Michigan, there is only one word that comes to mind: speed. We go so fast at Michigan. This will be my first stop at Michigan this year, so I’ll lean on Drew (Blickensderfer) and the team to bring good notes from June. Hopefully, we’ll roll off the truck with a good setup and have a good run on Sunday.
“We were just so loose all weekend,” said Almirola. “Drew made a good call on adjustments at the end of Stage One. There weren’t very many cautions, so everyone was on a few different strategies. That didn’t give us a lot of options to use pit strategy to get track position. We were good on fuel the final run, but the cars around us did a good job saving. We’ll take 21st and get back focused on racing ovals.”
“I like Watkins Glen. It’s definitely my favorite road course on the schedule. It’s much harder to pass at Sonoma. I learned a lot from Marcos (Ambrose) while he was a teammate and feel I can use that to my advantage this weekend. This will be my first road course race of the season, so it will be interesting to see how things have changed since last year.
“I didn’t see what happened,” said Almirola. “We had passed a bunch of cars on the start, but got into Turn Three and a big wreck happened in front of us. I had no place to go. It’s just heartbreaking for everyone to have our day end so early.”