At Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina on October 6, 2016. CIA Stock Photo

Las Vegas Motor Speedway Race Report 3.12.17

March 13, 2017

Richard Petty Motorsports
Las Vegas 400 Race Report
Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Las Vegas 400 Results:
1: Martin Truex, Jr.
14: Aric Almirola, No. 43 Smithfield Ford
Aric Almirola and the No. 43 Smithfield team competed in their first of a three-race West Coast swing Sunday at the Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway. The team wanted to drastically improve their intermediate program and did so with a 14th-place finish and a lot of information learned for the season.

Almirola started 30th for Sunday’s race, but before the green flag flew, the team made many changes to the car. Crew Chief Drew Blickensderfer, the engineering staff and the crew had a game plan, and when the race started, Almirola was able to move to the front. The car was much better, and by the end of the First Stage, Almirola was near the Top-20.

The Second Stage, another 80-lap run, Almirola was again fast. The team made more adjustments, and it was the best the car raced. Almirola was able to get as high as 15th before running consistently in the 18th or 19th position through the Stage. The only issue was an alternator that failed, and keeping the battery charged became a concern.

As the Smithfield crew began the final Stage and a longer run to the finish, more adjustments to the car were made. The alternator was still a concern, but Almirola was able to report that the battery had enough volts to make it to the end.
A late-race caution created a five-lap shootout. Almirola had fresh tires and was on the Lead Lap- less than 20 cars were at the end. Almirola had a good restart, and then, Brad Keselowski, the leader, ran out of fuel. This caused him to fall back and contact between  the 22 and 18 sent the 18 spinning on the last lap. Almirola stayed hard on the gas and diced his way to 14th in a great charge at the end.
The finish placed Almirola 14th in the Championship Standings.

“That was a lot more enjoyable for us,” said Almirola. “We made a lot of progress from last week ,and we learned some things, too. I think everything we can take from today will help us move forward to qualify better and then race inside the Top 10 and gain points throughout the day. In this sport, little things make a huge difference, and today, we gained on that.”

At Phoenix Raceway in Phoenix, Arizona on March 12, 2016. CIA Stock Photo

Las Vegas Motor Speedway Race Advance

March 7, 2017

No. 43 Smithfield Team Looks to Improve at Vegas
Almirola and Team Continuing to Work on Intermediate Program


Atlanta Motor Speedway was the No. 43 Smithfield team’s first on-track test of their intermediate track program after the team worked on improvements in the off-season. Unfortunately, the car didn’t handle as well as the team hoped. They worked throughout the weekend, and Almirola said they scratched the service of improvement near the end of the race. The team will take those notes to Vegas and work on improving the car for Sunday’s race.

Almirola has eight starts at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Last season, he started seventh but experienced a vibration early on and finished 24th.

Almirola will once again perform double duty this weekend in the No. 98 Ford with Biagi DenBeste Racing. Almirola has just three XFINITY starts at the 1.5-mile track and scored his best finish of 11th in 2015.


Fans can celebrate #KINGs80th in the Neon Garage Friday. Richard Petty will stop by and answer a few questions before blowing out the candles on his birthday cake.

When: Friday, March 10, 2 p.m.

Where: Las Vegas Motor Speedway Neon Garage

Prior to the Monster Energy Series race, Almirola and Petty will judge the Smithfield Grill Master Challenge. The new competition will feature three competitors who will be chosen at random. The competitors will be given 90 minutes to prepare the dish of their choice featuring two Smithfield products and be provided with a pantry full of a variety of ingredients, spices, and sauces to use for their dish. They will also be provided with a grill and grill tools to prepare their dish. They will be judged on originality and creativity; oral presentation and visual appearance.

When: Sunday, March 12, 9:45 a.m.

Where: Smithfield Display in the Fanzone


“It’s no secret that Atlanta did not go the way we hoped. We worked really hard in the off-season to improve our intermediate track program. Unfortunately, we were off on the handling last weekend, but the guys worked hard to improve the car, and we got a little better near the end of the race. We’ll start there for Vegas and continue to work hard to improve our intermediate track program. Vegas is a really tough track with a lot of bumps. It’s hard to get the car low to the ground there, and the aggressive bumps make it hard to get a handle throughout the race. We’ll keep working at it and get the best finish we can.”

At Atlanta Motor Speedway in Atlanta, Georgia on March 4, 2017. CIA Stock Photo

Atlanta Motor Speedway Xfinity Race Report – 3.4.17

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.”


Smithfield Honored for Diversity Efforts

March 6, 2017

Smithfield Honored for Diversity Efforts

Virginia-based Company Wins NASCAR Partner Award for Their Commitment to Multicultural Outreach

FLA. (March 2, 2017) – Smithfield Foods, Inc., the world’s largest hog producer and pork processor, was awarded the NASCAR Partner Award with Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM) last week. Each year, this award is given to a company that demonstrates a commitment to NASCAR diversity goals through its program support and engagement.

With goals of making communities better throughout our county, Smithfield’s sponsorship of RPM and driver Aric Almirola has amplified its outreach efforts for Helping Hungry Homes®, Smithfield’s hunger-relief initiative focused on alleviating hunger and helping Americans become more food secure.

Smithfield has made a focused effort of giving back to the community, especially in NASCAR markets, throughout its partnership with RPM. In 2015, Smithfield’s Helping Hungry Homes® initiative joined Almirola and NASCAR Diversity to donate 43,000 pounds of protein to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. In total, Helping Hungry Homes® has provided more than 49 million servings of protein to food banks throughout the country.

“At Smithfield Foods, we feed people – it’s what we do,” said Dennis Pittman, senior director of hunger relief for Smithfield Foods. “Through Helping Hungry Homes, we are able to donate millions of pounds of nutritious, high-quality protein to food banks across the country each year and raise awareness of food insecurity across our country through our donation events.”

Last year, Smithfield also partnered with RPM to host school events in California and Illinois at middle schools with a high percentage of Hispanic and low-income students. The two events treated the students and their families to a Smithfield dinner prior to meeting Almirola. In 2016, over 500 students and their families heard Almirola’s message to stay in school and that hard work pays off. The program will expand to four events this year and kicked off last week in Almirola’s hometown of Tampa, Florida.

“Aric came to us and wanted to give back to the Hispanic community and inspire them to chase their dreams,” said Pittman. “Aric is the perfect example of the ‘American Dream’, and we were thrilled to be able to join together to give back to these kids and their families. The schools have high percentages of free or reduced lunches and low income families, and we’re proud that we can take the burden off for one night and feed their families while Aric inspires them with his story.”
Smithfield joined Almirola in the 59th Annual Daytona 500 Sunday, Feb. 26. Almirola finished fourth place in the race, his career-best Daytona 500 finish.

At Dover International Speedway in Dover, Delaware on October 1, 2016. CIA Stock Photo

Atlanta Motor Speedway Race Report 3.5.17

March 6, 2017

Richard Petty Motorsports
Atlanta 500 Race Report
Atlanta Motor Speedway

Atlanta 500 Results:
1: Brad Keselowski
27: Aric Almirola, No. 43 Smithfield/Waffle House Ford
Aric Almirola and the No. 43 Smithfield/Waffle House team went to Atlanta Motor Speedway knowing it would be a gauge for what changes they made in the off-season on their intermediate track program with no intermediate tests in the off-season. The team came off the truck too loose and the problem worsened throughout the weekend.

Almirola started 30th after experiencing a steering problem in qualifying. The team improved the problem in practice before Sunday’s race. He quickly moved the No. 43 Smithfield/Waffle House Ford up three spots early in the run but as tires wore off became very loose. He fell back to 35th and one lap down before the team’s first pit stop.

Crew Chief Drew Blickensderfer called for a four-tire pit stop with a shock adjustment in the rear. Still loose and struggling to turn in the center, Almirola continued to diagnose the car while Blickensderfer continued to make adjustments during pit stops. Almirola continued to race in the Top 34 throughout most of the race as the Smithfield/Waffle House team worked on the car.

By the Lap 263 caution, Blickensderfer decided to go another direction with the adjustments to test the cars reaction. Almirola said the adjustments helped a little, so Blickensderfer continued down that path. After the final stop, Almirola said the team scratched the surface on improving the car and was able to move up to 27th for the finish. The team is now 13th in Championship Points.

“Today was definitely disappointing,” said Almirola. “We worked extremely hard in the off-season on our intermediate program and did all we could to test on simulation without an intermediate track test. We struggled being loose all weekend, but these guys worked hard to make adjustments. By the end, we went the right direction to get the Smithfield/Waffle House Ford handling a little better. Now, we’ll work hard to make progress before we head to Vegas.”

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    Fresh From Florida