“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.
“We had a good No. 43 Smithfield/Waffle House Ford Fusion,” said Almirola. “It didn’t take off as great as other cars did, but the handling got better and better as our runs continued. To go from being a lap down to finishing in the Top 15 is tough, but my team worked hard and put in a great effort. This definitely gives us a motivational boost going into Michigan next week.”
“Bristol is an animal of its own. It’s a very unique racetrack. When we race there, the speeds are lower, and the baking holds the car to make the grip. So the downforce package isn’t as much of a factor when we go to Bristol as it is in other places. But, I think we took good notes away from the spring race there, and I’m looking forward to going back in our No. 43 Smithfield/Waffle House Ford.