“This is definitely great momentum for our race team,” said Almirola. “It’s been a challenging year for us, but we’re working hard to get back to scoring consistent Top-10 and Top-15 finishes. I knew going into the race today that my No. 43 Smithfield Ford ran best in the top and middle lanes, but it was a matter of making sure I was in whichever lane was moving fastest at the time.
“Talladega is very stressful, but we get used to it. It’s part of the sport. We go there twice a year, and we know what to expect when we get there. We also go to Daytona twice, but they’re very different tracks. The cars don’t need to handle as well at Talladega; handling really comes into play at Daytona. But, at Talladega, it’s all about having a really fast car and drafting well. The whole weekend leading up to the race is actually pretty relaxed and stress free compared to most weekends.
“I think that Kansas is starting to get back to what it used to be before the repave. Now when we show up, cars are moving all over the track. When they first repaved Kansas, the grove was right there on the bottom, on the white line. It was one groove but still very fast. Now with the weathering of the track and the tires that Goodyear has been bringing, we’ve been moving around a lot.
“Man, what a crazy day in Charlotte,” said Almirola. “We had a lot of work to do before the race to get our No. 43 Smithfield Ford handling how we needed it to. For most of the race, the car was just as loose as it could be and difficult to drive. We found ourselves a couple of laps down because of it. But, my team never gave up and got us back on the lead lap.
One-mile tracks have been good to Aric Almirola and the No. 43 Smithfield Ford team over the past two weeks. With a 17th-place finish in Loudon and a 16th-place finish in Dover, Almirola is carrying momentum heading to Charlotte this weekend. Mile-and-a-half tracks have presented challenges for the No. 43 team throughout season, but the newly-restructured team is settling in and showing progress.