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

Kentucky Speedway Race Advance

July 6, 2016

Aric Almirola Carrys Momentum from Winning Weekend to Kentucky
Scored a XFINITY Series Win and Sprint Cup Series Top-15 Finish in Daytona

WEEKEND STATISTICS AND NOTES

After a great weekend in Daytona for Aric Almirola, he heads to Kentucky Speedway in the No. 43 Smithfield Ford with renewed confidence. Almirola took the No. 98 Fresh From Florida Ford to Victory Lane in the XFINITY Series and recorded at Top-15 finish in the Sprint Cup Series on Saturday night. It was a morale-boosting weekend that will certainly carry over to this visit to the intermediate track. Having participated in the tire test at Kentucky earlier this year, Almirola likes the track’s new, smooth surface. He anticipates that we’ll see great racing action on Saturday night.

With four Sprint Cup Series starts at Kentucky Speedway, Almirola has a best finish of 12th place in 2015. He also started from the 12th position in that race which is his best starting position in Kentucky.

APPEARANCES

Almirola will be giving back to the Cincinnati community on Thursday morning at a local food bank. As part of Smithfield’s Helping Hungry Homes program, Almirola will join with representatives from Smithfield and Kroger to donate 25,000 pounds of protein to the Freestore Foodbank. Fans and media are invited to come and watch the presentation that will take place in front of the store.

When: Thursday, July 7, 10:30 – 11:00 AM
Where: Freestore Foodbank – 1250 Tennessee Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45229

Almirola will be stopping by the Ford Display in the Kentucky Speedway Fan Zone on Saturday afternoon. Make sure to be there with your questions for him to answer!

When: Saturday, July 9, 5:00 – 5:15 PM
Where: Kentucky Speedway Fan Zone

ALMIROLA WEEKEND CHATTER

“I think it was good to be part of the test at Kentucky Speedway with the repave. The track is a lot smoother now with much more grip. Kentucky as we know it is gone, and now, it’s resurfaced and reconfigured. So it was good to get some laps on that race track. But, I think that it will have changed quite a bit from when we were there for the test to when we show up this weekend to race. I even think it will change a lot from when we start practicing to when they drop the green flag for the race. The track seems to be faster and have more grip with the more rubber we lay down on the race track. The new surface is slippery and slick. So I think that as we get the track rubbered-in, it will continue to get better. I’m excited to take our No. 43 Smithfield Ford Fusion out there to see how the racing unfolds.”

At Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida on July 2, 2016. CIA Stock Photo

Daytona International Speedway – Coke Zero 400 Race Report

July 6, 2016

Richard Petty Motorsports
Coke Zero 400 Race Report
Daytona International Speedway

Coke Zero 400 Results:
15: Aric Almirola, No. 43 Smithfield Ford

The second stop to Daytona International Speedway saw speed in both Richard Petty Motorsports cars. Brian Scott topped the only practice and raced the No. 44 Safeway/Shore Lodge Ford within the Top-15 during the 400-mile night race, but unfortunately, Scott got caught up in the “Big One”. Coming off a XFINITY Series victory the night before, Aric Almirola raced as high as second in the No. 43 Smithfield Ford. He fell back late in the race due to overheating and didn’t have time or space to work through the field. He finished 15th.

Aric Almirola, No. 43 Smithfield Ford

Aric Almirola was confident going into the Coke Zero 400 on Saturday night. After a win in the XFINITY Series and a strong Sprint Cup Series practice the day before, Almirola had a good feeling about the No. 43 Smithfield Ford. He took the green flag in the 14th position, and the field quickly went three wide with Almirola in the middle. Not long into the race, Almirola reported that a hose had come loose and was hurting his speed. The team took an extended pit stop during the Lap 20 Competition Caution to fix the hose and quick work kept Almirola on the lead lap.

He restarted in the 30th position and within seven laps had driven his way through the field and up to 16th place. Having found success in the XFINITY Series race on the bottom lane, Almirola quickly got to the yellow line and settled in. When green flag stops started to play out, Crew Chief Trent Owens brought the No. 43 Smithfield Ford to pit road on Lap 65 for right-side tires only. Great strategy by the team had Almirola in the eighth position when the stops cycled through.

At the halfway mark, Almirola was in third place. He rode with the leaders until he was shuffled to the back of the field because of big moves in the draft around him. Almirola was patient and strategically worked his way back to the front, making it back to as high as the ninth position. With the typical Daytona melees and shuffles, Almirola found himself in the 17th position at the drop of the green flag for the overtime finish. Pushing the car in front of his as hard as he could to move up in the field, Almirola took the checkered flag in 15th place.

“What a great weekend we had in Daytona,” said Almirola. “I got a win in the XFINITY Series, and we had a really fast No. 43 Smithfield Ford Fusion tonight. My car was handling well, and I could run with the leaders. But, crazy things happen in the draft and before you know it you’ve been shuffled back. That’s why it’s such a wildcard race. I’m proud of my team and how hard they worked to give me a fast Ford Fusion, and I think we’ll bring another fast one to Kentucky next weekend. We tested there earlier this year, and the track is very different with the repave. It’ll be interesting to see how that race unfolds, but I’m looking forward to it.”

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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