At Petty Museum in Level Cross, North Carolina on April 1, 2017. CIA Stock Photo

New Hampshire Race Advance 9.24.17

September 22, 2017

Almirola and Team Ready for Final Fall Race in New Hampshire
No. 43 Smithfield Team will Lean on Notes from July

WEEKEND STATISTICS AND NOTES

Aric Almirola and the No. 43 Smithfield Ford team will head to New Hampshire for the final fall event at the mile-track. The team has some good finishes at the short track. They struggled with the handling earlier this year but have worked on getting a good setup to unload this weekend.

Almirola has 14 Monster Energy Series starts where he scored one Top-Five (fifth in 2013) and two Top-10 finishes. He also has one XFINITY and five Camping World Truck Series starts where he scored one Top-Five and three Top-10 finishes.

APPEARANCES

Almirola will meet with fans and sign autographs while they check out the newest Berkshire boat at Irwin Marine.

When: Friday, September 22, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Irwin Marine, 958 Union Ave, Laconia, NH 03246

ALMIROLA WEEKEND CHATTER

“New Hampshire Motor Speedway can be a challenge to get a handle on because it’s such a unique racetrack. It’s flat, and the corners are really long. You spend more time in the corners there than you do on the straightaways which is much different than most of the tracks that we go to. So you have to have a car that is turning well, but, at the same time, you have a car that’s driving off of the corner with a lot of rear grip. It can be really hard to find that balance. But, we’ve run well there in the past, and I think we have some good notes from earlier this year, so I look forward to our last fall stop at New Hampshire.”

Chicagoland Speedway

Chicagoland Speedway Race Report 9.17.17

September 20, 2017

Richard Petty Motorsports
Tales of the Turtles 400 Race Report
Chicagoland Speedway

Tales of the Turtles 400 Race Results:
1: Martin Truex Jr.
24: Aric Almirola, No. 43 Smithfield Ford

Aric Almirola and the No. 43 Smithfield Ford team started the Tales of the Turtles 400 from the 21st spot. Tight in the middle of the corners, Almirola complimented how the Fusion handled on the entry of the corners early in the race. The field began green-flag pit stops on Lap 38 with Almirola in the 20th spot and radioing that the car was getting loose as the run went on. Crew Chief Drew Blickensderfer called Almirola down pit road on Lap 40 for four tires and a small chassis adjustment. The adjustment helped, and Almirola worked up to the 18th spot despite going a lap down to the leaders. Almirola gave up the 18th spot at the stage break to pit for four tires and small adjustment.

The Smithfield team started Stage Two from the 20th spot. Unfortunately, the last adjustment made the car really loose. Almirola worked the trackbar and his line on the track to improve the car’s handling until the next pit stop. By Lap 121, the team made a green-flag pit stop for four tires and adjustments to help tighten up the car. A few laps later, Almirola told the crew the car was still loose and thought the track was getting looser as the race went on. He held the 23rd spot at the end of Stage Two.

Blickensderfer called for big changes during the pit stop, and Almirola restarted 25th. He raced as high as 22nd and said the center of the corner was tighter but the car was still loose overall. The team elected to pit early in a green-flag cycle, but the caution came out as Almirola made his way down pit road. The timing worked out, and the team didn’t lose a lap pitting for four tires and adjustments. With all the lead-lap cars pitting, Almirola could take the Wavearound to get one of his three laps back. He restarted 26th. Other cars that took the Wavearound didn’t pit and were forced to pit under green before the end of the race. Almirola raced as high as 22nd in the final run but finished the race 24th.

“I felt like we had a really good car to start off with,” said Almirola. “We were good on the long run. The first few adjustments we made were good, but then, the car just got really loose. We battled the loose condition the rest of the day. We got it better at the end but were stuck laps down at that point. The timing worked for us on the last caution, and Drew made a good call to run to the end.”

Richmond International Raceway

Richmond Raceway Race Report 9.9.17

September 13, 2017

Richard Petty Motorsports
Federated Auto Parts 400 Race Report
Richmond Raceway

Federated Auto Parts 400 Race Results:
1: Kyle Larson
17: Aric Almirola, No. 43 Smithfield Ford

The No. 43 Smithfield Ford team and driver Aric Almirola came back from one lap down to finish 17th in Saturday night’s Federated Auto Parts 400 at the Richmond (Va.) Raceway.

Starting in the 23rd position, Almirola reported the car was loose and struggled to roll through the center. The team made adjustments and it helped the car on a short run, but on the longer run, the cars speed fell off. At the end of the first stage, Almirola was 19th.

During the second stage, the race went without a caution, and that didn’t help Almirola. The team fell back as they couldn’t make adjustments under a yellow. As the stage ended, Almirola raced hard to stay on the Lead Lap, but just fell right behind the leader. As the stage ended, Almirola was 26th.

The team then made adjustments to the Smithfield No.43 for the final stage. As the final stage went green, Almirola put himself into position to get the Lucky Dog. He got it on Lap 255. The car was much faster in the final stage and Almirola moved back into the Top-20. Crew Chief Drew Blickensderfer then made a good pit call to get Almirola into the Top-15 as the race came to the end. A final caution came out with three laps left, forcing overtime. Almirola finished 17th in the final run to the checkered.

“We made a nice comeback in the final stage,” said Almirola. “This Smithfield team worked hard tonight. Drew and the guys made the car better on a long run, and with some pit strategy, we were able to get closer to the front. We struggled in the middle of the race, but we got our lap back and made good gains.”

At New Hampshire Speedway in Loudon, New Hamphshire on July 16, 2016. CIA Stock Photo

Richmond Raceway Race Advance 9.9.17

September 8, 2017

Almirola Eyes Consecutive Top-10 Finishes at Richmond
No. 43 Smithfield Ford Team Finished Ninth in the Spring Race

WEEKEND STATISTICS AND NOTES

Aric Almirola had a fast car this past spring at Richmond International Raceway, where he drove through the field multiple times to finish ninth. He eyes a consecutive Top-10 finish at the Virginia short track this weekend. Saturday night’s event is the last chance for teams to qualify for the Playoffs. Sitting 30th in driver point standings after missing five races due to his injury, Almirola and team would have to win on Saturday night to secure a spot in the Playoffs. A similar scenario in 2015 saw Almirola and team battling for the lead late in the race and scoring a fourth-place finish.

Almirola has 11 Monster Energy Cup Series starts at Richmond International Raceway. He scored one Top Five, a fourth in 2015, and four Top-10 finishes. He also has six XFINITY starts under his belt with one Top 10. This spring, he showed good speed and looks to score his fifth Top-10 Monster Energy Series finish at the track.

APPEARANCES

The Barton Malow Foundation, Richmond Flying Squirrels Charities, and Richmond Raceway Cares have partnered for the third annual event to support RVA Field of Dreams Fest. This year’s event will be Rally in the Alley, a pro-celebrity bowling tournament taking place at Richmond Raceway’s (Richmond) historic Old Dominion Building at the Richmond Raceway Complex on September 7. Both Almirola and Richard Petty will participate in the event.

VIP tickets for Rally in the Alley with access to the VIP lounge, meet and greet with pro-celebrity attendees, hors d’oeuvres, and premium drink tickets are $100. General admission tickets are $25 and include access to the event. Tickets for Rally in the Alley to support RVA Field of Dreams Fest are available at the Richmond box office, via phone at 866-455-7223 and online at richmondraceway.com.

When: Thursday, September 7, 6:00 p.m.
Where: Richmond Raceway Complex

Representatives from Paralyzed Veterans of America and Waffle House will join “The King” Richard Petty for a special breakfast and media announcement this Friday at the Waffle House in Sandston, Va. The announcement will detail a new campaign to raise funds for paralyzed veterans.

When: Friday, September 8, 9:30 – 10:00 a.m.
Where: Waffle House, 5414 Williamsburg Road, Sandston, Va. 23150

Petty will be signing autographs at Cabela’s Short Pump on Friday, September 8th. Seventy-five wristbands will be given out in advance.

When: Friday, September 8, 4:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Where: Cabela’s, 5000 Cabela Dr., Short Pump, Va. 23233

Almirola and Petty will also participate in Smithfield’s Grillmaster Challenge prior to the Monster Energy Series race. Pitmaster Tuffy Stone will emcee and help Almirola and Petty judge the Smithfield Grill Master Challenge. The 2017 competition will feature three fans as competitors who will be chosen at random. They will be given 90 minutes to prepare their own signature dish featuring Smithfield products. Petty and Stone will judge the plates based on originality and creativity; oral presentation and visual appearance. The chef of the winning plate will receive a “King” prize pack.

When: Saturday, September 9, 4:45 p.m.
Where: Smithfield Display in the Fanzone

ALMIROLA WEEKEND CHATTER

“I really like racing at Richmond, especially at night. With the Playoff cutoff and racing under the lights, there is just so much energy at that race. We’ve done pretty well at Richmond and finished ninth in the spring. We had a really fast car in April, so hopefully, we can come back and be a little better and get a Top-Five finish or even a win. We’ll be in Smithfield’s backyard, so we’re definitely looking to put on a good show for all of their guests at the track.”

At Darlington Raceway in Darlington, South Carolina on September 3, 2017. CIA Stock Photo

Darlington Raceway Race Report

September 8, 2017

Richard Petty Motorsports
Bojangles Southern 500 Race Report
Darlington Raceway

Bojangles Southern 500 Race Results:
1: Denny Hamlin
20: Aric Almirola, No. 43 STP Ford

Aric Almirola kicked off the Official NASCAR Throwback weekend by debuting a Richard Petty-like mustache and 1984 replica firesuit. The No. 43 STP Ford team threw back to Petty’s 1984 200th victory with a “Petty Blue” and Dayglo Orange Ford Fusion. The team felt pretty good about their car and secured a 15th-place starting spot. Unfortunately, the car was too tight to start the race, and Almirola fell to 20th before the first caution allowed the team to make a pit stop and adjustments. The adjustments freed up the car, and another caution on Lap 40 gave the team an opportunity to continue working on the handling. A quick pit stop captured the 18th spot on the restart. By the end of Stage One, Almirola was in 23rd, one lap down. The car was too loose to end the stage and struggled with the brakes for most of the first stage. The team made another stop with adjustments during the break.

The No. 43 STP Ford restarted 23rd and was much better this run. Another quick caution saw the team come down pit road for fresh Goodyear tires. The field saw green-flag racing for 25 laps, and Almirola earned the free pass at the Lap 156 caution. Knowing they had to start at the tail-end of the field, Crew Chief Drew Blickensderfer called for a longer pit stop with bigger chassis adjustments. The adjustments worked as Almirola posted the best times he had all day. He worked up to 22nd before the end of the stage. The team made another four-tire stop with a small adjustment.

Almirola restarted the final stage in the 17th spot. Unfortunately, the team saw a lugnut lying on the brake caliper and worked to see if it would be a problem. Luckily, the yellow flag came out just three laps later and allowed the team to pit and ensure there were no further issues. They restarted 24th. Almirola still posted good lap times and methodically worked his way up to 19th in the next 36 green-flag laps. The field then began green-flag pit stops, and Almirola came down pit road for a four-tire stop and slight changes to help the car’s handling. He drove into the 16th spot when the caution was called on Lap 260. With just over 100 laps left, the team pit once again and continued to tweak the handling and keep up with the changing racetrack.

Unfortunately, the car got really loose, and Almirola earned a “Darlington stripe”. The team elected to make a scheduled green-flag pit stop for four tires and to make sure there wasn’t any damage. By Lap 316, Almirola held the 20th spot but radioed that he had to pump the brakes to get them to work. Blickensderfer kept Almirola on track until the checkered flag dropped to try to pick up a few spots on fuel strategy. They salvaged a 20th-place finish.

“We were just really loose, and we couldn’t make any ground,” said Almirola. “I thought at times during the race we had a decent car. I thought we had maybe a 15th-place car, but the longer the run, we’d just get really loose. We’ll learn from it and keep on going.”

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