March 13, 2017, Blog, homeslider
Richard Petty Motorsports
Las Vegas 400 Race Report
Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Las Vegas 400 Results:
1: Martin Truex, Jr.
14: Aric Almirola, No. 43 Smithfield Ford
Aric Almirola and the No. 43 Smithfield team competed in their first of a three-race West Coast swing Sunday at the Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway. The team wanted to drastically improve their intermediate program and did so with a 14th-place finish and a lot of information learned for the season.
Almirola started 30th for Sunday’s race, but before the green flag flew, the team made many changes to the car. Crew Chief Drew Blickensderfer, the engineering staff and the crew had a game plan, and when the race started, Almirola was able to move to the front. The car was much better, and by the end of the First Stage, Almirola was near the Top-20.
The Second Stage, another 80-lap run, Almirola was again fast. The team made more adjustments, and it was the best the car raced. Almirola was able to get as high as 15th before running consistently in the 18th or 19th position through the Stage. The only issue was an alternator that failed, and keeping the battery charged became a concern.
As the Smithfield crew began the final Stage and a longer run to the finish, more adjustments to the car were made. The alternator was still a concern, but Almirola was able to report that the battery had enough volts to make it to the end.
A late-race caution created a five-lap shootout. Almirola had fresh tires and was on the Lead Lap- less than 20 cars were at the end. Almirola had a good restart, and then, Brad Keselowski, the leader, ran out of fuel. This caused him to fall back and contact between the 22 and 18 sent the 18 spinning on the last lap. Almirola stayed hard on the gas and diced his way to 14th in a great charge at the end.
The finish placed Almirola 14th in the Championship Standings.
“That was a lot more enjoyable for us,” said Almirola. “We made a lot of progress from last week ,and we learned some things, too. I think everything we can take from today will help us move forward to qualify better and then race inside the Top 10 and gain points throughout the day. In this sport, little things make a huge difference, and today, we gained on that.”