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

Daytona International Speedway Race Report – Firecracker 250

July 6, 2016

Richard Petty Motorsports
Subway Firecracker 250 Race Report
Daytona International Speedway

Subway Firecracker 250 Results:
1: Aric Almirola, No. 98 Fresh From Florida Ford

It was a great night for Aric Almirola and the No. 98 Fresh From Florida Ford team at Biagi DenBeste Racing. After a nail-biting finish that had Almirola ahead of Justin Allgaier by just inches at the time of the caution to end the race, Almirola walked with his car to Victory Lane after running out of fuel during his burnout. This is the second win for Biagi DenBeste Racing and the first win for Jon Hanson as a Crew Chief.

Almirola started the night with a feeling that he had a fast No. 98 Fresh From Florida Ford Mustang. After rolling off in the 23rd position, Almirola quickly found his comfort spot on the bottom lane and ran there as often as possible. In a caution-filled race, Almirola kept his Ford Mustang clean to be a contender in the race in the closing laps. Almirola was in the second position for majority of the second half of the race. When the race went into overtime, he was in second place and leading the outside lane. Quickly getting to the bottom, he was leading on the final lap when cars wrecked behind him. NASCAR didn’t immediately throw a caution, and Allgaier closed in. When the caution flew, NASCAR declared Almirola the winner after five minutes of watching replays.

Almirola scored a NASCAR XFINITY Series win in 2007 after being relieved in the car by Denny Hamlin. Although Hamlin drove the car to victory, Almirola was scored with the win. Not taking the winner’s trophy or money from the race, Almirola felt like this win wasn’t actually his. But, tonight was his win, and this time he’ll take the trophy. He is one of only 26 drivers to win in all three NASCAR national touring series.

“I thought from the start of the race that I had a No. 98 Fresh From Florida Ford Fusion that was capable of winning,” said Almirola. “It showed a lot of promise all night long. And, it was an emotional last few laps. I thought I had a shot to win but wasn’t sure I would get it done. I got a big push from the 7 car and then he pulled out and the 18 came and gave me a good push. I am really thankful for that. It is a huge night for me to get back to Victory Lane in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. I didn’t feel like I truly won in the XFINITY Series before, but tonight was my night. Now, I can truly say I have truly won in every series in NASCAR. I’m really proud of this team. They are a part time team but put in a full time effort. It’s great that we got Jon (Hanson) his first win and was exciting to celebrate with Fred (Biagi) in Victory Lane. Hopefully, we can use this momentum for tomorrow night’s race as well.”

About Richard Petty Motorsports

A performance and marketing driven company, Richard Petty Motorsports, co-owned by NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty and successful business entrepreneur Andrew Murstein, is one of the most recognized brands in all of motorsports. With a history of over 200 wins and business partnerships with national and global leaders, today the race operation fields two teams in competition in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with drivers Aric Almirola and Brian Scott. Almirola will return to the iconic No. 43 Ford with partners Smithfield Foods, STP, United States Air Force and the “Fresh From Florida” campaign. Scott will make his debut with the team and drive the Petty Family No. 44 Ford. Albertsons Companies, Shore Lodge, Twisted Tea and GoBowling.com will join Scott as he competes for Rookie of the Year in his first full-time season in the Sprint Cup Series. Richard Petty Motorsports will also field the No. 43 Ford Mustang in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. The team is headquartered in Mooresville, N.C.

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Almirola Returns to Home Track for Double Duty at Daytona

June 29, 2016

Aric Almirola Returning to Home Track to Run Double Duty at Daytona International Speedway
Looking for Repeat of 2014 Win at the Superspeedway

WEEKEND STATISTICS AND NOTES

Aric Almirola will head to his home state of Florida this weekend to run double duty at Daytona International Speedway. With a 12th-place finish under his belt at the superspeedway already this season, Almirola is looking to return with another strong finish. Almirola won his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Daytona in July 2014, the 30th anniversary of Richard Petty 200th win. The team is excited to return to the track with the No. 43 Smithfield Ford and make their way back to Victory Lane.

Almirola will also pilot the No. 98 Fresh From Florida Ford in the NASCAR XFINITY Series for Biagi DenBeste Racing. He finished 11th for the team earlier this year in Daytona in the series’ opening weekend.

Having 10 starts at Daytona International Speedway in the Sprint Cup Series, Almirola has one win at the track. Almirola has raced at the superspeedway in the XFINITY Series seven times. He has a best finish of seventh-place in the season-opening race of 2015.

APPEARANCES

Almirola will appear at Safeway in Altamonte Spring, Fla. on Friday, July 1. Along with the No. 44 Albertsons Ford Brian Scott and “The King” Richard Petty. Almirola and Scott will participate in a shopping cart race through the grocery store to get as many specific groceries in his cart as possible. Two special customers will team up with Scott and Almirola, with the customer of the winning team receiving the items in the shopping cart. Petty will be official starter and judge. Following the shopping cart race, the three drivers will be on hand to sign autographs for 125 fans. Wristbands will be distributed to those 125 fans at the Safeway store starting at 6:00 a.m. The event is open to the public and to media.

When: Friday, July 1 from 10:00 a.m. – noon. The shopping cart race will begin at 10:00 a.m.
Where: Safeway, 503 E Altamonte Dr., Altamonte Springs, FL 32701

Fans at Daytona International Speedway will have the opportunity to see Almirola on race day! Almirola will be on hand at the Sprint Fan Zone main stage in the infield on Sunday afternoon talking with fans and answering their questions.

When: Saturday, July 2 from 4:15 – 4:30 p.m.
Where: Daytona International Speedway Sprint Fan Zone (Infield)

Fans can get in the car with Almirola by listening to his live in-car radio feed on SiriusXM Radio Channel 119 during this weekend’s race in Daytona.

ALMIROLA WEEKEND CHATTER

“Daytona International Speedway is a special track for me. Coming to the Firecracker 400 was part of our family vacations every year when I was a kid. I remember sitting in the same grandstands watching every race, and they’re all special memories. So to go there and be a driver in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is pretty awesome. Our team had a fast No. 43 Smithfield Ford Fusion there earlier this year, and we finished 12th in the Daytona 500. We also raced well with our superspeedway package at Talladega back in April. We were taken out in a wreck not of our own making, but we had been running in the Top 10 all afternoon. So I’m really confident in our chances heading into this race. I think we’ll run up in the top with the leaders and bring home a great finish for Richard Petty Motorsports. “

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Sonoma Raceway Race Report

June 29, 2016

Richard Petty Motorsports
Sonoma 350 Race Report
Sonoma Raceway

Sonoma 350 Results:
1: Tony Stewart
27: Aric Almirola, No. 43 Smithfield Ford

This weekend saw NASCAR make the annual visit to Sonoma Raceway. Both Richard Petty Motorsports teams faced challenges but worked hard to overcome them. Aric Almirola and his No. 43 Smithfield Ford team fought through alternator problems to cross the finishline in the 27th spot.

Aric Almirola, No. 43 Smithfield Ford

The No. 43 Smithfield Ford team fought hard on Sunday afternoon at Sonoma Raceway. Rolling off from the 29th position, the action got started early. Aric Almirola made contact with another car in the opening laps of the race, a common occurrence in the close racing of road courses. The Ford Fusion sustained minimal damage, and the crew was able to pull the left rear fender away from the tire during a Lap 5 caution and send Almirola on his way.

One of the few cars to visit pit road during the first caution, Almirola restarted in 34th place. But, happy with the car’s handling, he fought his way up to the 20th position in just five laps. He eventually made his way up to the 17th position and was there when the next yellow flag came on Lap 45. It was during that caution Almirola first reported that his alternator was still running but his monitors were reporting low voltage. Wanting to watch the situation closely, Crew Chief Trent Owens began to work on a plan to change the car’s battery if it became necessary.

Almirola continued on in the race and maintained his position in the Top 25. Owens consistently checked in on the voltage levels throughout the race and eventually had Almirola switch over to the car’s second battery. The team had hoped the second battery would last until the end of the race, but Almirola reported that it was fading quickly. Owens made the call to change the battery and brought the Ford Fusion to pit road under a Lap 92 caution. The team worked quickly to change the battery and kept Almirola on the lead lap. He restarted in 35th place with 14 laps to go and was determined to make up track position. Almirola charged his way through the field with the few laps remaining and took the checkers in the 27th position.

“My team hustled today,” said Almirola. “We had a good No. 43 Smithfield Ford Fusion. The overall handling was better than it had been most of the weekend, and we were moving through the field. So it was unfortunate that we had the alternator issue, but my guys worked hard to get it fixed as quickly as possible. I know that they will always fight until the very end. Now we’ll shift our focus and get ready for Daytona next weekend. It’s a strong track for our team, and we’re looking forward to going back.”

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Sonoma Raceway Race Advance

June 23, 2016

Aric Almirola Ready to Continue Road Course Improvements at Sonoma Raceway
No. 43 Smithfield Ford Looking for Another Top-15 Finish in Northern California

WEEKEND STATISTICS AND NOTES

After a weekend off to recharge in North Carolina, Richard Petty Motorsports is ready to take the No. 43 Smithfield Ford out west to Sonoma Raceway. Continuing each year to build the team’s road course program, Aric Almirola recorded his best career road course finishes in the 2015 season at both NASCAR Sprint Cup Series road course tracks, with a Top-15 finish coming at Sonoma. The team is hoping to ride the momentum from last year’s strong road course finishes and continue to strengthen the program. A track with more than 160 feet of elevation change and 12 turns, Sonoma Raceway presents many challenges for teams and drivers alike. But, the No. 43 Smithfield Ford team is prepared to use this race as a springboard to begin another climb through the Championship Point Standings.

Almirola has five previous starts at the California road course. He scored his track-best finish of 14th place in last season’s race. Also in 2015, he earned his best starting position for a Sonoma race.

APPEARANCES

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 Sonoma Raceway’s Fan Midway. Pre-selected contestants will compete against one another to eat eight Smithfield ribs the fastest. The winner will be crowned by Almirola and Petty and will move on to participate in the final Whole Hog Challenge in Miami at the end of the season. Prior to the Whole Hog Challenge, Smithfield and Save Mart will donate 35,000 lbs. of protein to the Redwood Empire Food Bank through Smithfield’s Helping Hungry Homes program.

When: Sunday, June 26 at 9:05 a.m.
Where: Smithfield Display in Sonoma Raceway’s Fan Midway

ALMIROLA WEEKEND CHATTER

“I have really started to enjoy road racing over the years. In the very beginning, I didn’t like it much at all. But, I’ve really embraced it and have taken an interest in getting better at it. I feel like it has paid off. I’ve run better, and I’ve seen results. We’ve performed better as a team and have been more competitive. As I’ve run better, I’ve started to enjoy it more and more as you do anything that you work hard at. Sonoma can be a challenging race with the long green flag runs we tend to see, but it always seems to work out. It’s a really unique racetrack with lots of elevation changes and worn out pavement. It’s such a fun place to race and hopefully we’ll bring home a solid finish in our No. 43 Smithfield Ford.”

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Michigan International Speedway Race Report

June 14, 2016

Richard Petty Motorsports
FireKeepers Casino 400 Race Report
Michigan International Speedway

FireKeepers Casino 400 Results:
1: Joey Logano
26: Aric Almirola, No. 43 Smithfield Ford

Richard Petty Motorsports headed to the Irish Hills for the first of two races at Michigan International Speedway. Both teams battled handling off the truck but worked to improve their cars throughout the weekend. Bad luck struck both teams in the race. Aric Almirola had a spring rubber pop out which hurt the handling of his No. 43 Smithfield Ford and finished 26th.

Aric Almirola, No. 43 Smithfield Ford

Aric Almirola rolled off from the 30th position to start Sunday’s FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway. In the opening laps, Almirola reported that the No. 43 Smithfield Ford was loose on entry and raised the trackbar from the cockpit. The trackbar adjustment helped the entry but made the Ford Fusion tight on exit. Crew Chief Trent Owens gave him four new tires with air pressure changes during the first pit stop of the day to tighten him up.

After a restart on Lap 69, Almirola immediately radioed that he was still too loose and had a chattering right, rear tire. After looking at all the information available to him, Owens determined that there was an issue with a right, rear spring rubber. The team caught a caution on Lap 103 and brought Almirola down pit road to get to work on the right rear. The team found that the spring rubber had popped out of place. They put a new one in and gave him right side tires to keep him on the lead lap. He made a second stop under the same caution to get his new left side tires.

The No. 43 Smithfield Ford continued to be loose on entry and exit. The team worked with tire pressures and wedge to adjust the car. Almirola was able to get to as high as the 18th position by the Lap 176 restart. Continuing to get looser in the corners, Almirola was racing in a pack of eight cars when the No. 43 Smithfield Ford stepped out on Almirola. He had to chase the car up the track and lost valuable track position. The No. 43 took the checkers after a full race of 200 laps in the 26th position.

“This was definitely not the day that we were looking for,” Almirola said. “We were a little off when we unloaded on Friday, but my team worked hard on our No. 43 Smithfield Ford and we were feeling good at the end of final practice. We didn’t have the speed we needed during the race, but we’re continuing to make improvements each week and we’ll get the season turned around. We’ll use this off weekend to regroup and then head to Sonoma.”

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