March 6, 2017
Richard Petty Motorsports
Rinnai 250 Race Report
Atlanta Motor Speedway
Rinnai 250 Results:
1: Kyle Busch
19: Aric Almirola, No. 98 Fresh From Florida Ford
After a successful weekend of practice, Aric Almirola looked to race for the win in the No. 98 Fresh From Florida Ford for Biagi DenBeste Racing during today’s NASCAR XFINITY Series Rinnai 250. Almirola started the race from the 15th position and made his way to 13th when a quick caution came out on Lap 3. After going back to green on Lap 6, Almirola fell to 16th and consistently stayed in the Top 20 for the next 30 laps. On Lap 30, Almirola told Crew Chief Jon Hanson that there was a lot of smoke coming inside the car. The No. 98 crew couldn’t see any issues, and the smoke cleared after three laps.
Almirola fought a really loose car finishing Stage One in 16th and asked his crew to go big with the adjustments for the upcoming pit stop. The No. 98 Fresh From Florida Ford rolled down pit road, and Almirola took four tires, fuel, a wedge adjustment, air pressure adjustment, and front end adjustment. The changes helped the car, but Almirola was still loose and wasn’t able to make any big moves to the front of the field.
At the conclusion of Stage Two, Almirola ran in the 19th position. Hanson and the No. 98 crew decided again to make some big changes during the caution and made a four tire pit stop with wedge and air pressure adjustments. On the Lap 88 restart, Almirola was scored as 19th and was the first car one lap down. Even after the adjustments, the No. 98 Fresh From Florida Ford was still extremely loose, and Almirola fought to stay in the Top 20. Another caution on Lap 119 brought the No. 98 down pit road again for four tires, fuel and some more adjustments. During the final caution of the day, Almirola and the No. 98 crew chose to stay out and take the wave-around, remaining in the 19th position. After fighting a loose Fresh From Florida Ford all day, Almirola was scored with a 19th place finish.
“I was really excited with how strong our Fresh From Florida Ford was in practice all weekend,” said Almirola. “The guys at Biagi DenBeste Racing brought me a great car, but we were just too loose during the race to really make any moves. These guys work really hard and will go back to the shop and determine why the car was loose in the race. I was really hoping to get a better finish, but we’ll go on to Vegas and try and get a win there.”