Texas Motor Speedway Race Advance

November 1, 2017

Almirola Wants to Win Again for Team
Wants to Duplicate Returning the Famed No. 43 Back to Victory Lane


Richard Petty Motorsports will be making its 42nd start at the Texas Motor Speedway this weekend. The team has one pole at the track and a best finish of fifth.

Aric Almirola will be making his 14th start at the fast, mile-and-a-half oval. He has a best start of third and finish of seventh, both coming with Richard Petty Motorsports.


“Our goal is to always win, that hasn’t changed. The next three races, yeah, it’d be pretty special to get another win. Over the past six years, the folks at RPM have become friends and more like family to Janice and I. The best way to celebrate as a group is in Victory Lane. We have done that, and we did bring the No. 43 back to Victory Lane for Richard. It’s something I’d like to do one more time before the season ends.

“We’re all pulling together to still do the best we can. We were encouraged with some better finishes the past month. We qualified well at Martinsville, but didn’t finish where we wanted. Our intermediate cars have been getting better. We had a fast car at Kansas and hopefully we have a fast Smithfield Ford Fusion in Texas. We’d all like to get another win or two.”


Martinsville Speedway

Martinsville Speedway Race Report 10.30.17

October 30, 2017

Richard Petty Motorsports
First Data 500 Race Report
Martinsville Speedway

First Data 500 Race Results:
1: Kyle Busch
18: Aric Almirola, No. 43 Smithfield Ford

It was another wild 500 laps at the Martinsville (Va.) Speedway during Sunday’s First Data 500. What looked to be a first-time winning moment for Chase Elliott ended with wrecked cars, hurt feelings and the No. 43 Smithfield Fusion driving through it all for an 18th-place finish.

Almirola and the team came into Sunday’s race with consecutive Top-10 finishes and a Top-10 starting spot. Early in the race, Almirola settled into the 14th position and reported the need to turn better and have more forward drive. The team made adjustments, and through pit strategy, moved into third before the end of Stage One. Almirola just didn’t have the grip to stay in the front. He finished the stage 19th.

The second stage featured a lot more green flag racing. On the restart, a slower car made contact with Almirola and hurt his momentum. He raced hard to stay 19th, but fell a lap down. The team took a wave around to get back on the Lead Lap and finished the stage in 20th.

The final stage, Almirola was consistent, running in the 21st position for the majority of the final 200 laps. The team had to take another wave around to get back on the Lead Lap, setting themselves up for the wild finish.

With a caution with less than 10 laps to go, Almirola was called down pit road for fresh tires for a four-lap shootout. On the restart, the leader was wrecked forcing the race into overtime. Almirola, being smart, knew there was more trouble coming. As cars came to the finish line they began wrecking. Almirola was able to race around them to an 18th-place finish.

“We just didn’t have the overall grip in the race,” said Almirola. “The track changed and at times we were OK, but others we were just too loose. The Smithfield crew did a nice job of making changes, keeping us in contention, and at the end getting as much as possible.”

Martinsville Speedway

Martinsville Speedway Race Advance 10.29.17

October 30, 2017

A History of Winning at Martinsville
Almirola Always Confident at Historical Track


Petty race teams have been competing at the .526-mile Martinsville (Va.) Speedway since 1949, when Lee Petty finished second when track was a dirt oval. As the years went by, Lee, Richard Petty, Jimmy Hensley and John Andretti all collected wins at the historical track under the Petty name. A total of 20 grandfather clocks have been gathered along the way.

Aric Almirola has also found success at Martinsville. In 17 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts, he has a best finish of fourth at the track to go along with two more Top-10 finishes. His best start is third.


“The success that all the Petty teams and particularly the ’43’ have had at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway is incredible. It’s amazing to think that this team has won here 20 times (Cup and Truck Series). Although I haven’t won at Martinsville yet, I’m proud to have raced up front in the Smithfield No. 43. I’ve finished fourth and have had a few more Top-10 finishes, all with Richard Petty Motorsports.

“It seems we always have a good car when we unload at Martinsville. I have a good feel for the track and what it takes to be fast there, too. It’s always a long race. Beating and banging, tempers flaring, everything you see in a typical short track is what you get in this race. But, I know how to save the equipment and be there at the end. I always feel we have a chance of winning in the ’43’ at Martinsville. I’d love to do that for Smithfield this weekend and help carry on that winning tradition.


Kansas Speedway Race Report 10.22.17

October 24, 2017

Richard Petty Motorsports
Hollywood Casino 400 Race Report
Kansas Speedway

Hollywood Casino 400 Race Results:
1: Martin Truex, Jr.
9: Aric Almirola, No. 43 Smithfield Ford

Returning to the track that sidelined him earlier this year, Aric Almirola hoped for redemption at Kansas Speedway during Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400. He didn’t disappoint.

The Richard Petty Motorsports, No. 43 Smithfield team started 25th, and Almirola quickly moved forward. He raced as high as 23rd before the Competition Caution on Lap 30. The car was tight in the center and exit of the corner and lost side bite as the run went on. The team made a four-tire pit stop, air pressure adjustment and restarted 25th. The adjustments helped early in the run, and he was able to jump up to the 19th spot in the first four laps. He drove up to the 17th spot when the caution came on Lap 46. The team elected to pit again and restarted 19th. The car got looser as the run went on but raced into the 17th spot before a caution on Lap 75 ended the first stage. Wanting to run the top line, the team made a chassis adjustment to the No. 43 Ford during a four tire pit stop.

A quick pit stop gave Almirola the 15th spot on the restart. He drove up to 12th on the next run. The team made a pit stop under green on Lap 124 and made adjustments to help the car run better on the long run. As the field completed green-flag stops, Almirola held the 20th spot. Struggling later in the run, he fell a lap down to the leader on Lap 148. A caution on Lap 156 gave the team the free pass. The field went green for a one-lap shootout to the end of Stage Two. The Smithfield Ford completed the stage in 20th.

The team made a pit stop before the final stage began and continued to work on the car. Almirola restarted 20th and showed speed early. He drove to the 15th spot before an incident in Turn Three brought out the caution on Lap 174. The team made a pit stop and continued to work on the car. The team stayed on the track during a series of yellow flags in the next 20 laps and raced into the 10th spot. Unfortunately, the No. 77 wrecked in front of the field and collected 14 cars. The No. 43 Smithfield Ford received damage to the left rear. Almirola limped the car to pit road just before the red flag. The team utilized the 10 minute red flag to assess the damage and get a plan together to fix the car. They pit twice to fix the damage, change four tires and get fuel but stayed on the Lead Lap.

Almirola restarted 16th and began working his way forward. He raced into the ninth spot but was a few laps short on fuel. With only a few cars close on fuel, the team hoped for the race to run green for the duration. But, that was not in the cards. The No. 47 wrecked on Lap 235 and caused the final caution of the race. With everyone in the same spot on fuel, the team pit for four fresh tires and a small air pressure adjustment. Almirola restarted ninth and raced hard to hold onto the position when the checkered flag dropped. The team finished ninth, their second consecutive Top-10 finish.

“Well, we definitely did better than our last visit to Kansas,” said Almirola. “We started the race just a little off. Drew (Blickensderfer) and the guys did a great job working on the car. We were really fast on the short runs but fell off as the run went on. We got caught up in the big wreck, but thankfully, didn’t have too much damage. The guys were able to fix it and keep us on the Lead Lap. We were actually better after the accident and putting up good lap times. We almost made it on fuel strategy, but that last caution got us. I’m happy with a ninth-place finish and our second Top-10 in a row. This is how we want to finish out the year.”



Talladega Superspeedway Race Report 10.15.17

October 16, 2017

Richard Petty Motorsports
Alabama 500 Race Report
Talladega Superspeedway

Alabama 500 Race Results:
1: Brad Keselowski
5: Aric Almirola, No. 43 Smithfield Ford

The No. 43 Smithfield Ford team solidified a great superspeedway track record for the 2017 season. After fourth-place finishes at Daytona and Talladega for Aric Almirola and a 15th for Bubba Wallace filing in for Almirola at Daytona, the team set their sights on a good finish at the final superspeedway race of the season. Almirola started from the 26th spot but was confident in his Ford Fusion in the draft. He quickly worked the middle lane and raced as high as 15th before the team elected to pit under green on Lap 14 for a fuel-only pit stop. By Lap 27, an incident on the frontstretch brought out the first caution of the day. With extra time under caution, the team made a pit stop for four tires. At the drop of the green, Almirola hooked up with the No. 88 and 18 and drove back into the Top-15. A caution on Lap 52 allowed the team to get four fresh tires. Teams had a one lap shootout to finish the first stage, and the No. 43 held the 23rd spot.

Almirola stayed on track and saved fuel for the start of the second stage. He restarted 11th. Almirola worked the draft to test out his car for the end and made a fuel only stop under green before debris brought out the caution on Lap 82. The splitter rubbed on the last run, so the team made a four-tire pit stop and adjusted the splitter height. Almirola returned to the track and raced toward the back to stay out of trouble in the final 23 laps of Stage Two, anticipating it would get dicey. He finished the stage in the 23rd spot.

Readying for the final stage and a run for a good finish, the No. 43 Smithfield Ford team restarted 29th. The team made another green-flag pit stop, this time for two right-side tires and fuel before the No. 6 car caused a caution on Lap 153. After losing the draft during the last run, the caution came at a great time. The tearoff from the previous stop left a residue on the windshield that made it difficult to see, so the team pit for fuel and to pull another tearoff. Almirola restarted 31st on Lap 155. A wreck one lap later caused damage to the No. 43, and the team had to pit to fix it. The body damage was fixable but did cause a vibration in the car for the remainder of the race.

The final 30 laps saw three incidents that damaged 24 cars and forced three red flags. Almirola and Spotter Joel Edmonds maneuvered their way around all three wrecks that happened in front of the No. 43 Smithfield Ford. With the vibration not worsening, the team elected to stay out for each of the last three cautions and worked up to the sixth spot for the final restart. With just 13 cars on the lead lap at the final restart, Almirola knew he had to team up with his Ford Performance teammates Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano. As the cars jockeyed for position, Almirola drove as high as third. In the final lap, he found the bumper of the No. 22 and made a run for the lead. Racing three-wide, contact with another car sent the No. 43 Ford into the wall as it crossed the finishline. Almirola scored his third Top-Five finish of three superspeedway races with a fifth-place finish.

“That was exciting; the whole race was exciting,” said Almirola. “Right there at the end, I was really committed to making sure that we got a Blue Oval to Victory Lane. I was kind of watching the 2 and the 22, and we were all kind of trying to work together. My car had some damage on it from earlier in the race, and I knew my car wasn’t probably good enough to lead, but if I could have done something right there at the end, we might have been able to pull one off. But, nonetheless, we were able to get a Blue Oval to Victory Lane. It’s great for everybody at Ford and cool to see Brad win. He’s obviously been really successful here at Talladega, but I honestly thought for a minute there we might have a shot at it. Some things just didn’t work out going down the back straightaway. I really just picked my way through wrecks, just kind of sensing that the energy of the pack was really high and knowing that all hell was gonna break loose at some point and just being prepared for that. We were fortunate to be able to miss some wrecks. Unfortunately, we got in a wreck right there coming to the checkered, but, all in all, it was a solid finish for us and I’m proud to run up front. That’s cool. We finished Top-Five in all three speedway races I ran. We had a fifth and two fourths, so I’m proud of that.”

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