At Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida on November 20, 2015. CIA Stock Photo

Pocono Raceway Race Advance

July 27, 2016

Aric Almirola Makes 200th Sprint Cup Start at Pocono Raceway
Use #AA200 to Join the Celebration


This weekend at Pocono Raceway is a monumental one for Aric Almirola. After his first Sprint Cup start in 2007, he had several years of only part-time rides with various teams. It took time, patience and perseverance to reach the point of having a full-time ride in the sport’s premier national touring series. This is Almirola’s fifth full season with Richard Petty Motorsports, and 170 of his 200 starts have been with the team. During his time in the Sprint Cup Series, Almirola has scored one win at Daytona International Speedway in 2014. He’ll head to the Poconos this weekend in the No. 43 Smithfield Ford looking to secure his second win in the series to top off the monumental weekend.

Almirola has nine previous starts at “The Tricky Triangle”. He tied his best finish of 18th place in the 2012 and 2015 seasons. Earlier this year, Almirola competed in the track’s inaugural XFINITY Series race and finished in the 11th position.


“I thought we had a much better car than where we finished at Pocono back in June. We had some bad luck strike that cost us a better finish, but I thought that we had a Top-15, or possibly even a Top-10 No. 43 Smithfield Ford. So I’m looking forward to going back to Pocono this weekend. We’ve got a few key areas to work on before we get back there, but I’m confident that those improvements will come and it’ll be a good weekend for our team.

“It’s also going to be my 200th start, which is a pretty cool milestone. To say that I’ve been around this sport long enough to make 200 Sprint Cup starts is incredible. I remember my first race back at Las Vegas in 2007. I was so nervous; I didn’t sleep a wink that whole weekend because I had dreamed about going Cup racing my whole life. So when I finally got the opportunity, I wanted to make the most of it. I’ll definitely sleep better the night before race day this weekend, but I’m still just as excited to climb into a Sprint Cup car for my 200th start as I was for my first.”

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

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Race Report

July 25, 2016

Richard Petty Motorsports
Brickyard 400 Race Report
Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Brickyard 400 Results:
1: Kyle Busch
25: Aric Almirola, No. 43 Smithfield Ford

The Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway was rough on all involved. Between heat advisories and four cautions in the final 10 laps of the race setting up two overtime attempts, teams and fans alike had a long weekend at the famed track. It wasn’t any different for the Richard Petty Motorsports teams. Aric Almirola struggled to find a good handle on his No. 43 Smithfield Ford and finished 25th.

Aric Almirola, No. 43 Smithfield Ford

It was a hot weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but teams showed up ready to race for 400 miles. The No. 43 Smithfield Ford had two practice sessions on Friday afternoon to fine tune before Sunday’s main event. Aric Almirola’s Ford Fusion was tight through both practices, and the team worked tirelessly to loosen him up. Still battling tight conditions in Saturday’s qualifying session, Almirola rolled off in the 29th position to start the Brickyard 400.

Reports from Almirola in the opening laps of the race indicated that he was still battling a tight Ford Fusion, and Crew Chief Trent Owens got to work on a plan to try and loosen up the car. Catching a quick caution on Lap 5, Owens brought Almirola down pit road from the 30th position for big changes. He took wedge adjustments to both sides of the car and air pressure changes in his four fresh tires and restarted in the 36th position. But, in only six laps, Almirola made his way back through the field to the 29th position.

Almirola continued to work with Ford Fusion as best he could from the cockpit by adjusting his trackbar and providing detailed feedback to Owens. However, the car’s handling remained difficult to get a hold of throughout the race, and he fell two laps down. Almirola took the Wavearound when possible, and the team tried different pit strategies to gain back track position. The final 10 laps were wild, seeing four cautions and two overtime attempts. Almirola sustained damage during an accident in the first overtime attempt, but a quick stop down pit road to pull his left rear fender away from the tire kept him alive. He was able to bring the No. 43 Ford Fusion home in 25th place.

“We didn’t get the finish that we wanted, but my team worked hard today,” said Almirola. “This is a difficult track to get a handle on, and that got the best of us. But, my guys never gave up. They worked until the very last lap of the race to try and loosen me up and get us moving in the right direction. We’ll keep our noses to the grind and keep working hard heading into Pocono next week.”

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


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.


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


“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


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.


“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.”

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