“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.
“So far this season, we have seen improvement in our intermediate track program. I’m looking forward to seeing more improvement this weekend. It’ll be interesting to see how the cars handle on the new service and with a new configuration. It will be important for us to unload with a fast car, so we can tweak it to the new track. I always like going to Texas. It’s a fun place and a fun race track.
It was another popular return of the STP color scheme to the No. 43 at the Martinsville (Va.) Speedway on Sunday afternoon. Aric Almirola raced the famed STP No. 43 to an 18th-place finish in Sunday’s STP 500 at the historic Virginia oval.
The STP 500 will be the true test of the No. 43 team’s short track program. Almirola and team felt good about the program at Phoenix but know that Martinsville is a different beast. Hard on the car and its brakes, the No. 43 STP team is ready to take the paper-clip shaped track.
The No. 43 Smithfield Ford was good off the truck in California, but a mishap in qualifying gave Almirola the 31st starting spot for the Auto Club 400. When the green flag dropped, Almirola jumped up 10 spots to 21st. The car was tight in the middle of the corner in the first run. Almirola came in for a green-flag pit stop on Lap 32 and pit for four tires and a wedge adjustment.