At Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois on September 17, 2016. CIA Stock Photo

Chicagoland Speedway Race Advance

September 20, 2016

Aric Almirola Aiming to Rebound in Last 10 Races of Season
No. 43 Smithfield Ford Still Has Opportunities to Win


Aric Almirola left Richmond with a Top-20 finish but was not able to clinch a spot in The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. The team rallied back from a cut tire early on in the race that left them three laps down to finish in the 17th position on the lead lap. A promising comeback, the No. 43 Smithfield Ford team will carry that momentum to Chicagoland Speedway this weekend. Even though the team will not compete for the championship trophy, there are still 10 opportunities to win races in 2016. Looking to wipe the 2016 slate clean and start fresh as the sport begins its version of the playoffs, Almirola is confident that this visit to Chicago will be a great springboard for the team.

Almirola has four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at the mile-and-a-half track. His strongest finish of 10th place came in last season’s race. A favorite track of Almirola’s, he earned two fourth-place finishes in 2011 in the XFINITY Series.


It’s time to go racing with Smithfield and Jewel-Osco! Almirola and teammate Brian Scott will have three minutes to race through a Chicago-area Jewel-Osco to find Smithfield products and various other items. Each will be paired with a pre-selected fan, and the driver to collect the highest dollar amount of correct products will win the entire grocery cart of products for their fan partner. Fans are invited to come and watch the race through Jewel-Osco before their personal grocery shopping trip. Chicago’s Hottest Country US*99’s Kasper will also be broadcasting live from the event while the No. 43 Smithfield Ford, No. 44 Jewel-Osco Ford and replica 1967 Belvedere will be on hand for fans to see.

When: Friday, September 16, 8:30 – 9:30 AM
Where: Jewel-Osco, 2480 Route 59, Plainfield, IL, 60544

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 Chicagoland Speedway’s Fan Midway. Pre-selected contestants will compete against one another to eat two pounds of Smithfield bacon 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: Sunday, September 18, 10:45 – 11:15 AM
Where: Smithfield Display, Chicagoland Speedway Fan Midway


“Chicagoland Speedway promotes a lot of great racing all over the racetrack. It’s a fun track to race at, and I’m excited to go back there. We’re not in The Chase, but we still have a really great opportunity to go there and try to win the race. Hopefully, we’ll be able to run with the drivers racing in The Chase and mix up the field a bit. We’ve run really well there in the past. We got a Top-10 finish there last year after leading laps in 2014, and I’ve found a lot of success in the XFINITY series at Chicago. So I’m looking forward to starting our last portion of the racing season there. If past performance says anything, it’ll be a good race for our No. 43 Smithfield Ford.”

At Richmond International Speedway in Richmond, Virginia on September 10, 2016. CIA Stock Photo

Richmond International Raceway Race Report

September 13, 2016

Richard Petty Motorsports
Federated Auto Parts 400 Race Report
Richmond International Raceway

Federated Auto Parts 400 Race Results:
1: Denny Hamlin
17: Aric Almirola, No. 43 Smithfield Ford

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series made the second annual trip to Richmond International Raceway this weekend for a Saturday night race under the lights. In a caution-filled fight to the finish for 400 laps, Aric Almirola battled a tight No. 43 Smithfield Ford and a cut tire early on in the race. He fought back to finish in the 17th position on the lead lap.

Aric Almirola, No. 43 Smithfield Ford

Richmond International Raceway presented challenges early on in the race that the No. 43 Smithfield Ford that took teamwork and perseverance to overcome. Aric Almirola rolled off in the 23rd position to take the green flag. Reporting that the Ford Fusion took off tight, he dropped to the back at the start of the race. After the first caution of the night, the second green-flag run lasted for 70 laps. During the long run, Almirola loosened up and was able to take advantage of the Ford’s great drive off of the corner and could pass cars. He continued to gain positions in the first 100 laps. Almirola made his way up to 17th place and was battling to keep the position on Lap 104 when he and the No. 16 made contact, cutting down the left rear tire of No. 43 Smithfield Ford.

After coming to pit road for four new tires under the green flag, Almirola was in 35th place and two laps down. Crew Chief Trent Owens quickly reminded the team to stay focused and fight hard to get the laps back. Almirola went a third lap down to the leader but got it back during a green-flag pit cycle. When a caution came on Lap 202, Owens made the call to take the Wavearound and short pit later if they couldn’t get a quick caution. Almirola restarted in 27th place and was only one lap down. Owens continued to play the strategy game and got Almirola back on the lead lap with another Wavearound opportunity during a caution on Lap 266. Almirola restarted in the 26th position.

With Almirola back on the lead lap, there were nine cautions during the final 129 laps. The short green-flag runs hurt Almirola’s ability to gain positions as the No. 43 Smithfield Ford Fusion continued restart tight. But, the final 20 laps of the originally-scheduled 400 laps stayed green, and Almirola was able to capitalize on his drive off of the corners and make his way to 23rd place. When the race went into overtime, Almirola came to pit road for four scuffed tires and restarted in the 20th position. Making his way through the melee that broke out in the final two laps, Almirola took the checkered flag in the 17th position.

“I couldn’t be more proud of my team tonight,” said Almirola. “It’s really easy to give up when you’re three laps down. But, my team rallied and focused on Trent’s strategy to keep us in this race. Our No. 43 Smithfield Ford didn’t take off how we needed it to, so all of those short runs hurt us there at the end. It all came together though, and we made big moves to bring home a 17th-place finish. We’ll take this solid run and carry it into preparing for Chicago next weekend. Chicagoland is a track that I really enjoy racing at, and I’m looking forward to going back.”

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

Richmond International Raceway Race Advance

September 6, 2016

Aric Almirola Heads to Richmond in Last Bid to Make The Chase
for the NASCAR Sprint Cup
No. 43 Smithfield Ford Must Win to Be Chase Contender 


Aric Almirola and the No. 43 Smithfield Ford team head to Richmond International Raceway with one more opportunity to make it into The Chase. Inside of the Top 30 in the Championship Point Standings, Almirola is eligible to compete in The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship but must win to move on. Richmond is the last opportunity to win a race before the sport’s playoffs begin. The team’s strongest run of the 2015 season came at last year’s September race in Richmond. Almirola ran up front and had a shot to win the race but came home in fourth place, just barely missing the cutoff for The Chase by one spot. Almirola went on to finish the season 17th in the Championship Point Standings, the highest-finishing non-Chase driver.

Almirola has nine starts at Richmond International Raceway. He has three Top-10 finishes at the three-quarter-mile track. His best finish of fourth place came last year in the regular-season finale.


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 Richmond International Raceway’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, September 10, 4:45 – 5:15 PM
Where: Smithfield Display, Richmond International Raceway Fan Midway

On Saturday afternoon, Almirola and Petty will also meet with fans who purchase a special ticket packet from the track. Richmond International Raceway and Smithfield are offering a ticket package that gives fans grandstand seating for the Cup race on Saturday and grants admission to a private screening of NBC’s “Building 43” that will be followed by a Q&A with Petty and Almirola. One fan from the screening will be selected to ride around the race track with Petty in the replica 1967 No. 43 Plymouth Belvedere built during the production of the movie. Purchasing information can be found on the track’s website,


“We raced at Richmond in the daylight back in the spring, so there’s not much that we’ll be able to take from that race and apply to this weekend. Richmond is so drastically different from day to night. Of all the tracks we go to, I’d say Charlotte is the most drastic from day to night, but Richmond is a strong second. We practice during the day there and try to get a good feel on our No. 43 Smithfield Ford, but we all know that if your car is driving well and you’re happy with it in practice then it probably won’t stay that way once the sun goes down and the lights come on. It always makes for an interesting race. But, even though we can’t bring much from spring to fall, we know that Richmond is still Richmond. It gets really slick, and you’ve got to have a lot of forward drive to be able to pass cars. There will be a lot of pressure during this trip to Richmond because it’s our last chance to make The Chase, but I’ve seen this team deliver under this kind of pressure before. So I’m confident that we’ll go out there and fight hard.”

At Darlington Raceway in Darlington, South Carolina on September 4, 2016. CIA Stock Photo

Darlington Raceway Race Report

September 6, 2016

Richard Petty Motorsports
Southern 500 Race Report
Darlington Raceway

Southern 500 Race Results: 
1: Martin Truex Jr.
32: Aric Almirola, No. 43 STP Ford
Fans and teams waited out Tropical Storm Hermine with track activity cancelled on Friday. Teams and drivers showed up on Sunday in their best 1970s getup for the Throwback Weekend at Darlington Raceway. Aric Almirola sported a Richard Petty inspired curly fro and throwback STP firesuit before getting behind the wheel of the 1979 replica STP Ford Fusion. Almirola battled the handling throughout before an on-track incident relegated him to a 32nd-place finish.

Aric Almirola, No. 43 STP Ford

The No. 43 STP Ford team spent the weekend at Darlington Raceway throwing back to 1979. “The King” Richard Petty won five races and his final championship that year, so it was only appropriate that Aric Almirola and the team honor that season’s paint scheme for #NASCARThrowback. Almirola rolled off 26th in his throwback car and quickly moved up six positions in just 10 laps. Almirola continued to turn laps until a green-flag pit stop on Lap 48. Crew Chief Trent Owens made adjustments to give Almirola more side-bite and fix the loose-handling car. During the green-flag pit cycle, Almirola went down a lap.

Pit strategy had Almirola in a position to take the Wavearound during a Lap 115 caution and got the No. 43 STP Ford back on the lead lap. He restarted in 20th place, the last car on the lead lap. He continued to battle a loose car and eventually went two laps down to the leaders. Owens made aggressive changes with wedge, spring rubbers and packers throughout the last half of the race to get the Ford Fusion handling how Almirola needed.

With 17 laps to go, Almirola was in the 20th position and down two lap, but there weren’t any cars only one lap down. Only one position out of the Free Pass position, Almirola knew he needed to make moves to get there. Battling for both 19th place and the Lucky Dog spot, the STP and the No. 15 made contact and sent the No. 43 Ford into the outside wall. The damage was too severe to continue, and Almirola’s night was over. He finished in the 32nd position.

“This definitely wasn’t how we pictured our night ending,” said Almirola. “We’ve had a great time this weekend honoring the 1979 season, and I really wanted to get STP a solid finish with such an awesome car. But, we had a Top-20 finish within reach there at the end. I thought I’d be given more room trying to make that pass, but that’s just racing sometimes. Now, it’s time to get ready for Richmond and roll as many dice as we can to get into The Chase.”


Darlington Raceway Race Advance

September 2, 2016

Richard Petty Motorsports and STP Throw Back in Darlington
No. 43 STP Ford Paint Scheme Replicates Colors of 1979


Darlington Raceway invited teams to participate in a weekend of nostalgia with throwback paint schemes. Richard Petty Motorsports took on the challenge and replicated the paint scheme of the 1979 No. 43 STP car driven by “The King” Richard Petty. Petty won five of 31 races and his seventh championship in 1979 running the iconic paint scheme. The team will dive fully into the throwback theme. Crewmen grew “Darlington beards”, Aric Almirola will have a revamped firesuit, and we’re once again busting out the red pants for the team!

This will be the second primary paint scheme of the year for STP. The motor oil and automotive additive company also sponsored the No. 43 Ford Fusion during the STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway earlier this year. The 2016 season marks the 44th year of partnership between STP and Richard Petty. To honor the partnership with the Petty family, STP raised money throughout the summer for Victory Junction. Through STP’s “Giving Kids an Ultra Summer” program, $.43 for every bottle of STP Ultra 5-in-1 Fuel System Cleaner sold from June 1 through August 31 will be donated to the camp. The amount raised will be revealed in Darlington with the dollar value being displayed on the rear quarter panel of the No. 43 STP Ford.

Almirola has four previous Sprint Cup Series starts at the famed racetrack. His best finish of 11th place came last season during the inaugural throwback weekend. In 2014, he earned his best starting position when he started on the inside lane of the second row in third place and broke the current track record.


Almirola will join other Sprint Cup Series drivers in Sunday’s NASCAR Youth Autograph Session. The kids-only autograph session will be held in the Raceway Rascals tent in the Darlington Raceway Kids Zone on Sunday afternoon. Wristbands will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 12:00 PM at the Raceway Rascals tent.

When: Sunday, September 4, 2:00 – 2:30 PM
Where: Raceway Rascals Tent, Kids Zone in Darlington Raceway Fan Midway


“It’s really fun to run a throwback scheme with STP. It’s an iconic sponsor in the sport, and Richard Petty and STP have done great things together. They created a brand for the No. 43 car with that Petty blue and day-glow red. Having the opportunity to go run that scheme at Darlington will be very special. We ran really well during last year’s throwback weekend, and I think this year’s race will be very similar. Any time you take a lower-downforce package to a track that’s very narrow and tricky, you’re going to see a lot of wrecks and cautions. The racetrack is aging and getting slick. There’s really only room for two cars and, most of the time, just one. So, it’s definitely a place where mayhem is easily found. But, our team is up for the challenge. We’re looking forward to loading up our awesome No. 43 STP Ford and getting it on track for everyone to see.”


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