At Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee on August 20, 2016. CIA Stock Photo

Bristol Motor Speedway Night Race Report

August 24, 2016

Richard Petty Motorsports
Bristol Night Race Report
Bristol Motor Speedway

Bristol Night Race Results:

1: Kevin Harvick
14: Aric Almirola, No. 43 Smithfield/Waffle House Ford

Rain postponed the Bristol Night Race after just 32 laps under green-flag conditions on Saturday night. Scheduled for Sunday afternoon, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series didn’t hit the track until the evening as more rain fell in the afternoon. With weather out of the area, the 500-lap race was a battle in itself as the field saw four cautions for multi-car accidents throughout the race.  Aric Almirola drove the No. 43 Smithfield/Waffle House Ford from the 17th starting spot to a 14th-place finish.

Aric Almirola, No. 43 Smithfield/Waffle House Ford

The Tennessee rain made Bristol Motor Speedway’s Sprint Cup Series race a 24-hour event, but that didn’t stop Richard Petty Motorsports and the No. 43 Smithfield/Waffle House Ford team. The first night of racing only allowed for 38 laps of racing before the race was postponed to Sunday afternoon. Aric Almirola rolled off in the 17th position and got hung up on the outside groove that wasn’t working well early in the race. He fell back to 24th place. Finding a hole in the bottom lane, Almirola tucked in and made is way up to the 21st position before rain ended the night.

After rain once again pushed the start back on Sunday afternoon, the race got underway. Almirola restarted in 21st place but fell to the back with a tight-handling Ford Fusion. With wedge and air pressure adjustments during pit stops, Crew Chief Trent Owens made improvements to the handling, and Almirola started to move through the field. Caught by the leader on Lap 138, Almirola went one lap down, and the battle was on to get the free pass and get back on the lead lap.

At a track where it’s hard to stay in the Lucky Dog position as the leader passes cars during the quick, 15-second laps, Almirola fought to keep himself the leader of the lapped cars. On the Lap 309 caution, Almirola was the recipient of the free pass and returned to the lead lap. Knowing he had a strong car that got better as the runs went on, Almirola patiently worked his way up to the Top 15. When the checkers fell after 500 laps, Almirola finished in 14th place.

“We had a good No. 43 Smithfield/Waffle House Ford Fusion,” said Almirola. “It didn’t take off as great as other cars did, but the handling got better and better as our runs continued. To go from being a lap down to finishing in the Top 15 is tough, but my team worked hard and put in a great effort. This definitely gives us a motivational boost going into Michigan next week.”


Bristol Race Advance

August 17, 2016

Aric Almirola Recharged and Ready for Short-Track Racing
No. 43 Smithfield/Waffle House Ford Features Fans’ Names Under the
Lights at Bristol


With the final off-weekend of the 2016 season in the books, Aric Almirola feels recharged and ready to return to Bristol Motor Speedway, one of his favorite tracks on the NASCAR circuit. Almirola will run with Waffle House Powered by Smithfield on the hood of his Ford Fusion. The last time Almirola had the black and yellow of Waffle House as his primary sponsor, he competed for a win at Richmond International Raceway in the final race of the 2015 regular season. A win would’ve put Almirola into The Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship, but he was able to drive it home for a solid fourth-place finish, which was his best of the season. The team is hoping the paint scheme will once again bring them good luck and a great finish.

This will be the third race in which Smithfield, Waffle House and Richard Petty Motorsports have teamed up on track. Through the three-year partnership, the companies created Waffle House Race for Rewards, an app that allows patrons to earn points by eating at Waffle House and redeem those points for Waffle House merchandise and Smithfield racing gear. This season, fans could redeem 250 Race for Rewards points to have their name featured on the hood of the No. 43 Smithfield/Waffle House Ford. The Ford Fusion will race at Bristol Motor Speedway with the names of 436 Waffle House Race for Rewards fans on the hood.

Almirola has 14 previous starts at “The Last Great Colosseum”. His best finish of third place came at the spring race of the 2014 season. He earned his best starting spot of fifth place during NASCAR’s second visit to the track in 2012.


On Friday morning, Almirola will join SiriusXM’s “The Morning Drive” live from Waffle House in Piney Flats, Tenn. He’ll talk with the crew and cook up delicious bacon and waffles behind the counter. It’ll be a party at Waffle House with appearances from Almirola, Brian Scott, “The King” Richard Petty, and Dale Inman. Fans are welcome to come join in for breakfast!

When: Friday, August 19, 7:00 – 11 AM, Almirola to appear from 8:00 – 8:30 AM
Where: Waffle House, 6575 US-11E, Piney Flats, TN 37686

Fans will have the opportunity to see both Almirola and “The King” Richard Petty when they judge the Whole Hog Challenge at the Smithfield Display in Bristol Motor Speedway’s Fan Midway. Pre-selected contestants will compete against one another to eat eight Smithfield ribs the fastest. The winner, crowned by Almirola and Petty, will move on to participate in the final Whole Hog Challenge Championship in Miami at the end of the season.

When: Saturday, August 20, 4:30 – 5:00 PM
Where: Smithfield Display, Bristol Motor Speedway Fan Midway


“Bristol is an animal of its own. It’s a very unique racetrack. When we race there, the speeds are lower, and the baking holds the car to make the grip. So the downforce package isn’t as much of a factor when we go to Bristol as it is in other places. But, I think we took good notes away from the spring race there, and I’m looking forward to going back in our No. 43 Smithfield/Waffle House Ford. It’s a place we always run really well, and I always have it circled on the calendar. We’ve got high hopes going to Bristol, and we’re thinking that we could make our way to victory lane there this weekend.”

At Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, New York on August 7, 2016. CIA Stock Photo

Watkins Glen International Race Report

August 8, 2016

Richard Petty Motorsports
Cheez-It 355 at The Glen Race Report
Watkins Glen International

Cheez-It 355 at The Glen Results:

1: Denny Hamlin
27: Aric Almirola, No. 43 Smithfield Ford

NASCAR headed to the Finger Lakes in Upstate New York this weekend, road course racing at Watkins Glen International. The No. 43 Smithfield Ford and the No. 44 Shaw’s, Shore Lodge Ford both fought with loose-handling race cars throughout the weekend and the teams worked hard to prepare for race day. But, after battling hard all afternoon to move through the field, both Almirola and Scott saw their days spoiled by late-race accidents. Scott finished in 25th place, and Almirola finished in the 27th position.

Aric Almirola, No. 43 Smithfield Ford



It was a full day of fighting through adversity for the No. 43 Smithfield Ford team at Watkins Glen International. After rolling off in the 34th position, Aric Almirola quickly started to move through the field. By the time the first caution came on Lap 14, he was in 27th place with a car that was loose in the s-turns but handled well everywhere else. Because the team wouldn’t lose much track position by coming down pit road, Crew Chief Trent Owens gave the Ford Fusion four new tires and fuel. He restarted in the 33rd position.

Almirola patiently worked his way up into the 26th position. He was there when bad luck struck for the first time, and he sustained front-end damage in an accident on Lap 58. With a caved-in nose and bowed hood, Almirola made two stops on pit road. The first was to take four fresh tires and assess the damage, and the second stop gave the team time to seal the hood. He returned to the track in 33rd place, on the lead lap.

Almirola reported that the No. 43 Smithfield Ford was tighter in the s-turns because of the damage but felt good everywhere else. Almirola worked through the field and was in 29th place when he was once again collected in the wreckage of an accident. The hood was knocked around more, but because he could still see through the windshield, Owens kept him on track. However, Almirola found himself with nowhere to go when spinning cars brought out the caution on Lap 85, and the damage required a visit to pit road. The team beat the hood back down and cut pieces of the car away from the wheels to allow Almirola to finish the final laps of the race. Overcoming the damage from three separate incidents, Almirola was able to bring the No. 43 Smithfield Ford home in 27th place and on the lead lap.

“What a day in Watkins Glen,” said Almirola. “Road-course racing can be rough, and we saw that today, getting caught up in three separate accidents not of our own making. It definitely wasn’t the day that we set out to have, but my team fought through it and we worked with what we had in front of us. I hate that we couldn’t get the No. 43 Smithfield Ford Fusion a better finish. I’d start making a run through the field and either a caution would come out or I was unfortunately part of the caution. But, we’ll take advantage of the upcoming off weekend to regroup and prepare for Bristol. It’s a good track for our team, and I’m looking forward to heading back.”

At Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Nevada on March 5, 2016. CIA Stock Photo

Watkins Glen Race Advance

August 2, 2016

Aric Almirola Heads to Watkins Glen Ready to Rebound
No. 43 Smithfield Ford Caught Up in Pocono Wreck


Aric Almirola heads to the second road course of the season looking to rebound after a difficult weekend in Pocono. Making his 200th Sprint Cup Series start, Almirola was moving forward through the field when his day ended after a two-car wreck. It was a disappointing end to the weekend, but Almirola has turned his focus to the 11 turns of Watkins Glen International. Road courses were a new challenge for Almirola when he began his NASCAR career, but he gets stronger and more confident each time he competes at both Watkins Glen and Sonoma. After a solid run in New York last year, Almirola is looking to continue his road course gains this weekend in the No. 43 Smithfield Ford.

Almirola has five previous starts at Watkins Glen. His best finish of 16th place came in the 2015 season. He earned his best starting position in 2008 when he rolled off in the 15th position.


Almirola will be stopping by the Ford Display in the Watkins Glen International Fan Zone on Sunday morning. Make sure to be there with your questions for him to answer!
When: Sunday, August 7, 11:40 – 11:55 AM
Where: Watkins Glen International Fan Zone

Almirola will visit the Turn 1 Tavern to talk with fans on Sunday morning before the big race. The Turn 1 Tavern is part of Watkins Glen’s fan hospitality, and tickets can be purchased on the tracks website.
When: Sunday, August 7, 12:00 – 12:15 PM
Where: Turn 1 Tavern


“Watkins Glen was just repaved, and I think it’s going to change how we approach the race. I think the ‘s-turns’ will be much faster, and we’ll carry a lot more speed down into the bus stop. The whole race track will have a lot more grip. I’m hopeful that it won’t become a one-lane racetrack. Over the years, Watkins Glen has become really fun to race at, and it’s provided some of the best finishes in our sport. So, I really hope those characteristics of the track stay the same and we don’t run around there fighting for every inch because it’s now a one groove race track. My team is looking forward to taking our No. 43 Smithfield Ford up there to see what we can do.”


At Pocono Speedway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania on July 29, 2016. CIA Stock Photo

Pocono Raceway Race Report

August 2, 2016

Richard Petty Motorsports
Pennsylvania 400 Race Report
Pocono Raceway

Pennsylvania 400 Results:

1: Chris Buescher
39: Aric Almirola, No. 43 Smithfield Ford
The Pocono Raceway lived up to it’s nickname the “Tricky Triangle” this weekend. Not only was the track a struggle to get a handle on, but Mother Nature threw a wrench in the plans. First rain postponed the race until Monday afternoon. Then, fog caused a halt and inevitable end to the Pennsylvania 400 22 laps before the scheduled 160 laps.  Unfortunately, Aric Almirola’s day ended earlier when on-track contact damaged the No. 43 Smithfield Ford and ended Almirola’s 200th start on just the 67th lap.

Aric Almirola, No. 43 Smithfield Ford

Aric Almirola’s weekend started with reflection on the fact that he would be making his 200th start in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, but when it came time to hit the track, Almirola was only focused on scoring a decent finish and turning his season around. The No. 43 Smithfield Ford haven’t had the year they would like, and unfortunately, this weekend at Pocono Raceway was no different.

Almirola started from the 27th spot and felt like the No. 43 Smithfield Ford was the best it had been all weekend. The Competition Caution on Lap 17 allowed the team to make adjustments to a tight-handling race car. The pit crew changed four tires and made a small wedge adjustment. Almirola returned to the track in the 30th spot. A caution on the restart allowed Crew Chief Trent Owens to gamble and call Almirola in for a fuel-only stop. Almirola restarted 32nd and quickly returned to the 28th position. Still tight, Almirola made a trackbar adjustment in the car and worked up to 24th before green-flag pit stops began.

Owens called the No. 43 Smithfield Ford down pit road six laps later and made an adjustment during the four-tire stop. Almirola returned to the track in the 22nd spot looking forward. Unfortunately, contact with the No. 32 coming out of Turn Three sent the No. 43 Smithfield Ford into the wall and ended Almirola’s day early. He finished 39th.

“Man, this season has been really tough,” said Almirola. “It just seems like no matter what we do, we can’t get a decent finish. We struggled early in the weekend, but by race day, I felt like the car was much better. I think we could have ran in the Top-20. And with the way the race ended, you never know what could have happened. Unfortunately, we were taken out early. To have another DNF is very disappointing. We’ll continue fighting the good fight and get after it in Watkins Glen next week.”

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