At Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana on July 24, 2016. CIA Stock Photo

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Race Advance

July 22, 2016

Aric Almirola Heads to The Brickyard with No. 43 Smithfield Ford
Sits 25th in Championship Point Standings

WEEKEND STATISTICS AND NOTES

Aric Almirola will head to Indianapolis Motor Speedway with Smithfield on the hood of the No. 43 Ford for the brand’s first primary sponsorship at the famed track. Almirola returns to Indianapolis with confidence after running in the Top 10 three races in a row. Bad luck has struck the Ford Fusion in recent weeks, and the team hasn’t gotten the finishes deserving of where they’ve run. However, the speed improvements are encouraging for the team heading to the two-and-a-half-mile rectangle. Richard Petty Motorsports has never had the chance to kiss the bricks at the start-finish line, but Almirola will have a good chance to give “The King” Richard Petty an up-close look at the bricks this weekend.

This will be Almirola’s fifth start at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. His best finish of 17th place came in the 2013 season. Almirola was on track to have a strong finish in last year’s race, but contact with another competitor ruined his day. He has a best starting position of fourth place in 2012.

APPEARANCES

Almirola and Petty will partner with Eckrich to honor an Operation Homefront military family on Saturday morning. This is the team’s fifth year working with Eckrich to thank and support military families. Fans and media are invited to watch the special moment.

When: Saturday, July 23, 10:00 – 10:30 AM
Where: USAC – 4910 W 16th Street, Indianapolis, Ind. 46222

ALMIROLA WEEKEND CHATTER

“I think Indianapolis is going to be a challenge. It’s always a challenge with the aerodynamics there. It’s such a big race track and so fast. We go there trying to make the maximum amount of downforce that we can because that’s how you get the most grip. It’s such an aerodynamic-heavy track, and it’ll be a very interesting race for sure. The tire that Goodyear is bringing falls off a lot, so I don’t think we’ll see a lot of track-position gains with two tires and fuel-only pit stops like we’ve seen in the past. A good handling car is going to be key, especially on restarts. I think restarts will continue to be wild and crazy just like we always see at Indy. We’ve had a really fast No. 43 Smithfield Ford Fusion these last few weeks, and I think we’ll get it dialed in pretty quickly in practice and have a great race this weekend.”

At Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida on July 1, 2016. CIA Stock Photo

New Hampshire Motor Speedway Race Advance

July 15, 2016

Aric Almirola Heads to New Hampshire after Strong Showing in Kentucky
No. 43 Smithfield Ford Ready to Take on Circuit’s Next Short Track

WEEKEND STATISTICS AND NOTES

The No. 43 Smithfield Ford was fast at Kentucky Speedway this past weekend. A fuel mileage game that saw Aric Almirola run out of gas coming to the white flag thwarted what would have been a Top-Five finish, but it was the team’s strongest intermediate race of the 2016 season. Finding momentum from Kentucky and the previous weekend in Daytona, Almirola will head to New Hampshire looking to continue running with the leaders. Almirola’s participation in the tire test at New Hampshire earlier this year will prove to be advantageous. The takeaways from the test session will be invaluable as the team carries on the charge to turn around the season and make gains in the Championship Point Standings.
Almirola has 11 starts at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in the Sprint Cup Series. He has scored two Top-10 finishes, with one Top-Five finish. He took the checkered flag in the fifth position in the first race of the 2013 season at the one-mile oval.

ALMIROLA WEEKEND CHATTER

“I think our No. 43 Smithfield Ford team is re-energized after our race last weekend,” said Almirola. “We didn’t get the finish that we wanted because the race came down to fuel mileage but were moving up through the field all night and running in the Top 10. My Crew Chief Trent Owens and our guys have worked hard to get this season headed in a positive direction, and I think we’re definitely getting it turned around. New Hampshire is a decent track for me; I’ve had strong finishes there in the past. We brought our whole road crew to the tire test here earlier this year, and I think our notes from that will really help us this weekend. I’m looking forward to unloading on Friday to see where we stand. Hopefully, we’ll have a good race.”

At Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Kentucky on July 9, 2016. CIA Stock Photo

Kentucky Speedway Race Report

July 11, 2016

Richard Petty Motorsports
Kentucky 400 Race Report
Kentucky Speedway

Kentucky 400 Results:
1: Brad Keselowski
20: Aric Almirola, No. 43 Smithfield Ford
NASCAR made its annual trip to Kentucky Speedway for 400 miles of racing under the lights at the 1.5-mile tri-oval. Due to inclement weather on Friday, qualifying was rained out, and the field was set based on owner points. Aric Almirola started the No. 43 Smithfield Ford in 26th place and had a great run all night, running as high as fourth place until the team unfortunately ran out of gas in the final laps of the race.  Almirola finished in 20th place and one lap down, while Scott finished in 33rd place and 116 laps down.

 

Aric Almirola, No. 43 Smithfield Ford

The No. 43 Smithfield Ford team had a great run at Kentucky Speedway. The team worked hard to get the car handling how it needed to for a strong night. Rolling off in the 26th position after rain cancelled qualifying, Aric Almirola’s initial report was that his rear tires were chattering. Catching a quick caution on Lap 12, Crew Chief Trent Owens fixed the issue with four new tires, left rear wedge and pulling a packer. At the next restart, Almirola jumped 10 spots in only 10 laps to be in 26th place.

The Ford Fusion was fighting loose conditions, but Almirola and Owens kept it under control with trackbar changes from the cockpit and strategic adjustments in the pits. The team got into a groove, and the No. 43 Smithfield Ford continued to move forward. By Lap 100, Almirola was driving into the Top 20.

Almirola charged through the field. With every restart, the No. 43 Smithfield Ford took off great but would quickly turn loose. But, even with a loose car, Almirola was fast.  When the last restart came at Lap 199, Almirola was in the 12th position. Within three laps, Almirola had driven his way up to eighth place. As the laps started to wind down, fuel strategy came into play and Almirola had to save as much as he could. With two laps to go, he was in fourth place, but as often happens in the fuel strategy game, Almirola ran out of fuel. After a quick trip to pit road, Almirola came to the checkers in the 20th position.

“We had a great No. 43 Smithfield Ford Fusion tonight,” said Almirola. “My team found the speed that we’ve been looking for all season, and it was great to be up there running with the leaders and being competitive. It’s unfortunate that it couldn’t come together at the end, but sometimes that just happens in racing. I know that we’ve got the cars we need to have another race like this one, and we’ll keep digging and go to New Hampshire with our heads held high.”

At Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida on July 1, 2016. CIA Stock Photo

Kentucky Speedway Race Advance

July 6, 2016

Aric Almirola Carrys Momentum from Winning Weekend to Kentucky
Scored a XFINITY Series Win and Sprint Cup Series Top-15 Finish in Daytona

WEEKEND STATISTICS AND NOTES

After a great weekend in Daytona for Aric Almirola, he heads to Kentucky Speedway in the No. 43 Smithfield Ford with renewed confidence. Almirola took the No. 98 Fresh From Florida Ford to Victory Lane in the XFINITY Series and recorded at Top-15 finish in the Sprint Cup Series on Saturday night. It was a morale-boosting weekend that will certainly carry over to this visit to the intermediate track. Having participated in the tire test at Kentucky earlier this year, Almirola likes the track’s new, smooth surface. He anticipates that we’ll see great racing action on Saturday night.

With four Sprint Cup Series starts at Kentucky Speedway, Almirola has a best finish of 12th place in 2015. He also started from the 12th position in that race which is his best starting position in Kentucky.

APPEARANCES

Almirola will be giving back to the Cincinnati community on Thursday morning at a local food bank. As part of Smithfield’s Helping Hungry Homes program, Almirola will join with representatives from Smithfield and Kroger to donate 25,000 pounds of protein to the Freestore Foodbank. Fans and media are invited to come and watch the presentation that will take place in front of the store.

When: Thursday, July 7, 10:30 – 11:00 AM
Where: Freestore Foodbank – 1250 Tennessee Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45229

Almirola will be stopping by the Ford Display in the Kentucky Speedway Fan Zone on Saturday afternoon. Make sure to be there with your questions for him to answer!

When: Saturday, July 9, 5:00 – 5:15 PM
Where: Kentucky Speedway Fan Zone

ALMIROLA WEEKEND CHATTER

“I think it was good to be part of the test at Kentucky Speedway with the repave. The track is a lot smoother now with much more grip. Kentucky as we know it is gone, and now, it’s resurfaced and reconfigured. So it was good to get some laps on that race track. But, I think that it will have changed quite a bit from when we were there for the test to when we show up this weekend to race. I even think it will change a lot from when we start practicing to when they drop the green flag for the race. The track seems to be faster and have more grip with the more rubber we lay down on the race track. The new surface is slippery and slick. So I think that as we get the track rubbered-in, it will continue to get better. I’m excited to take our No. 43 Smithfield Ford Fusion out there to see how the racing unfolds.”

At Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida on July 2, 2016. CIA Stock Photo

Daytona International Speedway – Coke Zero 400 Race Report

July 6, 2016

Richard Petty Motorsports
Coke Zero 400 Race Report
Daytona International Speedway

Coke Zero 400 Results:
15: Aric Almirola, No. 43 Smithfield Ford

The second stop to Daytona International Speedway saw speed in both Richard Petty Motorsports cars. Brian Scott topped the only practice and raced the No. 44 Safeway/Shore Lodge Ford within the Top-15 during the 400-mile night race, but unfortunately, Scott got caught up in the “Big One”. Coming off a XFINITY Series victory the night before, Aric Almirola raced as high as second in the No. 43 Smithfield Ford. He fell back late in the race due to overheating and didn’t have time or space to work through the field. He finished 15th.

Aric Almirola, No. 43 Smithfield Ford

Aric Almirola was confident going into the Coke Zero 400 on Saturday night. After a win in the XFINITY Series and a strong Sprint Cup Series practice the day before, Almirola had a good feeling about the No. 43 Smithfield Ford. He took the green flag in the 14th position, and the field quickly went three wide with Almirola in the middle. Not long into the race, Almirola reported that a hose had come loose and was hurting his speed. The team took an extended pit stop during the Lap 20 Competition Caution to fix the hose and quick work kept Almirola on the lead lap.

He restarted in the 30th position and within seven laps had driven his way through the field and up to 16th place. Having found success in the XFINITY Series race on the bottom lane, Almirola quickly got to the yellow line and settled in. When green flag stops started to play out, Crew Chief Trent Owens brought the No. 43 Smithfield Ford to pit road on Lap 65 for right-side tires only. Great strategy by the team had Almirola in the eighth position when the stops cycled through.

At the halfway mark, Almirola was in third place. He rode with the leaders until he was shuffled to the back of the field because of big moves in the draft around him. Almirola was patient and strategically worked his way back to the front, making it back to as high as the ninth position. With the typical Daytona melees and shuffles, Almirola found himself in the 17th position at the drop of the green flag for the overtime finish. Pushing the car in front of his as hard as he could to move up in the field, Almirola took the checkered flag in 15th place.

“What a great weekend we had in Daytona,” said Almirola. “I got a win in the XFINITY Series, and we had a really fast No. 43 Smithfield Ford Fusion tonight. My car was handling well, and I could run with the leaders. But, crazy things happen in the draft and before you know it you’ve been shuffled back. That’s why it’s such a wildcard race. I’m proud of my team and how hard they worked to give me a fast Ford Fusion, and I think we’ll bring another fast one to Kentucky next weekend. We tested there earlier this year, and the track is very different with the repave. It’ll be interesting to see how that race unfolds, but I’m looking forward to it.”

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