At Daytona Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida  on February 24, 2017. CIA Stock Photo

Daytona Xfinity – Powershare QQQ 300 Race Report 2.25.17

February 27, 2017

Richard Petty Motorsports
Powershare QQQ 300 Race Report
Daytona International Speedway

Powershare QQQ 300 Results:
1: Ryan Reed
23: Aric Almirola, No. 98 Fresh From Florida Ford
Aric Almirola piloted the No. 98 Fresh From Florida Ford for Biagi DenBeste Racing to kick off the 2017 season of the NASCAR XFINITY Series. Almirola started the Powershare QQQ 300 from the 22nd position but quickly raced his way to the Top 15 by Lap 3 at his home track, Daytona International Speedway. Lap 5 brought out the first of ten cautions for the night. Almirola was happy with how his car was handling, and the No. 98 crew decided to stay out under the caution.

Lap 19 saw the second caution, and the No. 98 Ford won the race off pit road after taking two tires and fuel. Almirola was caught in a 20-car incident on Lap 24, which caused minor damage to the right-rear of the No. 98 Fresh From Florida Ford. The team pitted for four tires and some repairs before the red flag waved on Lap 25. Thankfully, the damage didn’t hurt the car’s speed, and after one more caution, Almirola ended Stage One in the 16th position. Restarting third on Lap 34, Almirola fought a tight car but decided not to pit during the next caution. Almirola ran in the Top 15 for the remainder of Stage Two and started the final stage from the 12th position.

After the Lap 65 restart, Almirola swiftly made his way to the Top Five and was able to consistently run in the Top 10 for the next 35 laps. On Lap 103, an issue with Almirola’s left-front wheel hub caused steering issues for the No. 98 Ford. Almirola brought the Fresh From Florida Ford down pit road when a caution came out, so Almirola headed back on track to stay on the lead lap. During the caution, Almirola brought the No. 98 back down pit road two more times. Unfortunately, the crew determined that the issue could not be fixed. Almirola had to drive his Fresh From Florida Ford to the garage ending his race. Scored with a 23rd-place finish, Almirola looks forward to another good run with the No. 98 crew at Atlanta Motor Speedway next weekend.

“I thought for sure we were going to put a Ford Mustang in Victory Lane, especially our Fresh from Florida Mustang because it was strong,” said Almirola. “I put myself in a position I wanted to be in, and I was kind of content right there just to chill and get ready for the end of the race, but we had some sort of mechanical failure right there. I had to bail out of the draft. Something in the front-end, but I’m not sure what really happened. I couldn’t drive it anymore. It wouldn’t even go in a straight line, so I don’t know. We failed a part or a piece. It’s disappointing. I thought we had a really good shot to win. Every time we come to these races with Biagi we have fun and we run up front, and today was no different, but unfortunately something happened.”


Daytona – Can-AM Duel Race Report

February 27, 2017

Richard Petty Motorsports
Can-Am Duel Race Report
Daytona International Speedway

Starting Position for the Daytona 500:
15: Aric Almirola, No. 43 Smithfield Ford

After rain cancelled today’s scheduled practice, Aric Almirola and the No. 43 team looked to use the Can-Am Duel as a test run for Sunday’s Daytona 500. Almirola started the Duel 16th in his No. 43 Smithfield Ford and worked with his spotter early in the race to find the best lane, settling into the Top 15 for the first 20 laps. During Lap 20, Almirola broke into the Top 10 and continued to race his way up before the Competition Caution at Lap 25. Running seventh, Almirola fought a bouncy left front and looked to Crew Chief Drew Blickensderfer on a strategy for the team’s pit stop.

During the scheduled Competition Caution, Almirola and the team decided against working on the left front and pitted for two tires and a wedge adjustment. On the restart, Almirola was shuffled to the middle line with no help but quickly made his way to the top line and shot to the third position by Lap 39.

Lap 49 brought another caution, and despite the previous two tire stop making the No. 43 Smithfield Ford tight, the crew decided not to pit, keeping Almirola out front in sixth. Almirola stuck with the middle line and was scored with an eighth-place finish. The team will start 15th for the 59th Annual Daytona 500 on Sunday, and Almirola hopes to continue his consistency from the Duel and move through the field.

“It was a good run for us,” said Almirola. “I think that our Smithfield Ford Fusion had good speed in it. We mixed it up there a bit. I thought we had better car; I just couldn’t make the moves when I wanted to. We’ll find some more speed in our car. All in all, it was a decent race for us, and I think we have good momentum heading into the Daytona 500. We have good speed in our car. Our car drove well. We’ll just tune on it and find some more speed.”

At Richmond International Raceway in Richmond, Virginia on April 29, 2016. CIA Stock Photo

Fresh From Florida Returns with Almirola & RPM 2017

January 26, 2017

Fresh From Florida Campaign Returns with Aric Almirola and Richard Petty Motorsports

Almirola to Run Six Races in Fresh From Florida backed Ford in Monster Energy NASCAR Cup and XFINITY Series

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (January 24, 2017) – Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM) announced today that the “Fresh From Florida” campaign will return for their fourth season with Aric Almirola and RPM. Through the partnership, Almirola, who is Fresh From Florida himself, will drive the No. 43 Fresh From Florida Ford at Talladega Superspeedway (May 7) and the No. 98 Fresh From Florida Ford at Daytona International Speedway for both NASCAR XFINITY races, as well as Atlanta Motor Speedway (March 4), Talladega Superspeedway (May 6) and Charlotte Motor Speedway (May 27).

The partnership will kick off during Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway, perfectly timed for peak season for strawberries, tomatoes, sweet corn and peppers. A Florida native, Almirola knows the importance of agriculture in Florida’s economy.

“I’m excited for another winning season with ‘Fresh From Florida'” said Almirola. “Being from Florida, I understand how important agriculture is for Florida’s economy, not to mention, how delicious the produce is! Eating healthy is very important to me and my family and so is fresh produce. We make meals based on the growing season and are always sure to ask for Fresh From Florida produce. I invite all of you to be a member of this winning team, so ask for Fresh From Florida by name when you shop.”

At Homestead Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida on November 20, 2016. CIA Stock Photo

Homestead-Miami Sprint Series Race Report

November 21, 2016

Richard Petty Motorsports
Ford EcoBoost 400 Race Report
Homestead-Miami Speedway

Homestead-Miami Speedway Race Results:
1: Jimmie Johnson
40: Aric Almirola, No. 43 Smithfield Ford
The 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season came to a close on Sunday night at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In a season that saw highs and lows for the Richard Petty Motorsports teams, both the No. 43 and No. 44 teams looked to end the year strong after a 36 race battle.

Unfortunately, the season for Aric Almirola and the No. 43 Smithfield Ford team ended like much of the rest of the season with the promise of a good finish marred by outside forces. The No. 43 Fusion qualified in the 25th position for Sunday’s race, but something broke in the rear housing and sent Almirola to the garage with less than 100 laps to go. The No. 43 Smithfield Ford returned to the track and finished in the 40th position.

Aric Almirola, No. 43 Smithfield Ford Fusion

The conculsion of Aric Almirola’s double duty weekend came on Sunday night with the final Sprint Cup Series race of season at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Having a tight No. 43 Smithfield Ford in each practice session, Almirola qualified in the 25th position to start the race. He started the first run of the night extremely tight. He got looser on entry and exit as laps went on but remained tight in the center.

Trouble first struck on Lap 65 when Almirola made contact with the wall, causing a right, rear flat tire. He brought the Ford Fusion to pit road under green for four new tires and to pull out the damaged quarter panel. He lost a lap to the leaders but returned to the track with the damage. When the next caution flag fell on Lap 79, the team made two stops on pit road to fix the remaining damage.

The No. 43 Smithfield Ford remained tight through the center and loose on entry and exit with most of Almirola’s feedback focusing on the need for rear grip. But, another issue arose when Almirola reported on Lap 180 that something had broken in the rear-end housing and the steering wheel was no longer aligned. The team tried to fix the No. 43 Smithfield Ford on pit road but had to take it to the garage. Not wanting to give up in the last race of the season, the team fixed the issue and sent Almirola back on track 54 laps down with 35 laps to go in the race. Almirola finished in 40th place.

“I’m disappointed that we ended the season with a 40th-place finish,” said Almirola. “But, things break, and that’s just part of racing. I’m proud of my team for hustling to get us back on track and finish the race even though we couldn’t advance our finishing position at that point. They’ve been resilient all year though. We’ve had a difficult season, but we’ve never stopped working hard to get our team where we need to be. We’ll head home and start getting ready for a great 2017 season.”

At Homestead Miami Speedway in Miami, Florida on {month name} 20, 2016. CIA Stock Photo

Homestead-Miami Xfinity Series Race Report

November 21, 2016

Richard Petty Motorsports
Ford EcoBoost 300 Race Report
Homestead-Miami Speedway

Ford EcoBoost 300 Results:
1: Daniel Suarez
10: Aric Almirola, No. 98 Fresh From Florida Ford

Aric Almirola competed in his tenth NASCAR XFINITY Series race of the 2016 season this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway. One of the fastest cars during the two practice sessions, the No. 98 Fresh From Florida Ford Mustang was loose at times, but had great turn that allowed Aric Almirola to move all over the track. When the green flag dropped, Almirola was in 15th place and quickly started moving forward, getting as high as the ninth position.

When the third caution came on Lap 90, Almirola was in 14th place and providing feedback to the team on the car’s loose conditions. Crew Chief Jon Hanson had made adjustments to the car on the previous pit stop to work on the car’s balance, and Almirola was happy with the improvements. The team called him back down under the Lap 90 caution to give him four new tires, pull out a packer and make a wedge adjustment. Almirola restarted in the 14th position and had his best take off of the night. When the green flag dropped, Almirola shot through the field and was in fourth place within four laps.

He got as high as the third position before the car started turning loose again. Another caution flag came out on Lap 138, and the team made the first gamble of the night from fifth place. With only one set of fresh tires left, Almirola stayed on track to restart in first place. The whole field fanned out on the restart, and Almirola was shuffled back to 12th place. The No. 98 Fresh From Florida Ford team made the same gamble again on the next caution and restarted in first place again. Almirola had the oldest tires of the field and fell back to 18th place, the last car on the lead lap. The team finally got the caution they needed at the end of the race to take advantage of being the only team left with a set of sticker tires. But, with only three laps remaining at the drop of the green flag and restarting in the 16th position, Almriola didn’t have enough laps to get back to the front. He made it up to 10th place when he took the checkers.

“The guys brought me an awesome No. 98 Fresh From Florida Ford this weekend,” said Almirola. “It was fast in practice and fast in the race. We knew that there were a couple cars better than us, so we played the strategy game to try and pull a win out of this. But, there just weren’t enough laps left there at the end to make enough moves with our sticker tires. This team worked hard and should be proud of their hustle there at the end and, really, all season. We scored a win and a handful of Top-10 finishes this year, and that’s definitely something to be proud of.”

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