Richmond International Raceway

Richmond International Raceway 4.30.17

May 1, 2017

Richard Petty Motorsports
Richmond 400 Race Report
Richmond (Va.) International Raceway

Richmond 400 Results:
1: Joey Logano
9: Aric Almirola, No. 43 Smithfield Ford
Aric Almirola led Richard Petty Motorsports and the famed No. 43 Smithfield Ford to its second Top-10 finish of the 2017 season Sunday afternoon. A fast car all afternoon, the team overcame a debatable late-race penalty to charge from 22nd to ninth in the final 50 laps. The finish is the second Top-10 in the first nine races of the season.

Beginning the race in 25th, Almirola stormed to the front in the first Stage of the race. On new tires, Almirola had a great line coming off the turns that made his car one of the best on the track. Crew Chief Drew Blickensderfer communicated the progress to Almirola who only struggled late in the run on old tires. Almirola first cracked into the Top 10 near the end of the first Stage but finished 12th after the first 100 laps.
Stage 2 presented more of a challenge for the No.43 Smithfield team. The stage raced without one caution and on older tires the car would not turn. Almirola fell back to 18th where he finished at the end of Stage 2.
The second half of the race, the team quickly bounced back on fresh tires. The Smithfield Ford was 13th at Lap 250 and stayed in the Top 15 through Lap 300. The final 100 laps were the best of the season for the team. After a pit stop, Almirola  was called for a commitment line violation. The penalty was to pass through the pits during green. The team fell one lap down and back to 25th. But, with 70 laps left, a quick caution allowed the team to take the wave around to get their lap back and focus on getting back into the Top 15.
Almirola, racing his best of the day, drove the No. 43 Smithfield Ford from 25th to 12th in only 20 laps. The final 50 laps, multiple cautions waved, and each time the pit crew pulled off fast, perfect pit stops to give Almirola four fresh tires. On the new tires, Almirola was able to pick off positions and race to ninth at the end.
The finish keeps Almirola 19th in points and close to the playoffs.
“There are a lot of gains from last year to this year,” said Almirola. “We have two Top-10 finishes on two different styles of tracks. We just need to gain a little more, but we feel that we can just keep getting stronger. Drew and the guys did a great job with our car today and we just kept fighting. The track didn’t have a lot of grip, so we really needed those tires. It helped us out and made a difference. I’m proud of the team and to have this run for Smithfield at their home track.”

At Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Kentucky on July, 9, 2016. CIA Stock Photo

Richmond International Raceway 4.30.17

April 28, 2017

Almirola and Team Head to Smithfield’s Home Track This Weekend
Team Eyes Top-10 Finish

WEEKEND STATISTICS AND NOTES

A track where the No. 43 Smithfield Ford team found success in the past, Aric Almirola and his team look to  turn the season around at Richmond International Raceway. Last weekend, they battled the short track at Bristol and on-track contact relegated the team to a 22nd-place finish. This weekend, they look to finish up front and move back up in the Championship Point Standings. They are currently 19th.

Almirola has 10 Monster Energy starts at the Virginia short track. He scored his best finish of fourth when he contended for the lead and a spot in the Chase in 2015. With a best start of 11th, he scored three Top-10 finishes at the track.

APPEARANCES

Prior to the Monster Energy Series race, Almirola and Richard Petty will judge the Smithfield Grill Master Challenge. The 2017 competition will feature three fans as competitors who will be chosen at random. They will be given 90 minutes to prepare their own signature dish featuring Smithfield products. Almirola and Petty will judge the plates based on originality and creativity; oral presentation and visual appearance. The chef of the winning plate will receive a “King” prize pack.

When: Sunday, April 30, 11:15 a.m.
Where: Smithfield Display in the Fanzone

Fans can see both Almirola and Petty at the Monster Energy stage in the Fanzone.
When: Sunday, April 30, 10:55 a.m.
Where: Monster Energy Display in the Fanzone

Almirola will make a stop at the Ford Performance Display for a Q&A.
When: Sunday, April 30, 10:35 a.m.
Where: Ford Performance Display in the Fanzone

ALMIROLA WEEKEND CHATTER

“Our team has been working really hard, but the results haven’t reflected the work we put into our cars. We’ve made small gains each week and keep working to improve our cars one step at a time. We’ve had some good runs at Richmond and it’s Smithfield’s backyard, so hopefully, we can turn our season around this weekend. We’re going to keep our heads up and focused on improvement, and we will get there.”

 

 

Bristol Motor Speedway

Bristol Motor Speedway Race Report 4.23.17

April 25, 2017

Richard Petty Motorsports
Food City 500 Race Report
Bristol Motor Speedway

Food City 500 Results:
1: Jimmie Johnson
22: Aric Almirola, No. 43 Smithfield Ford
Rain hindered much of the weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway and postponed the Food City 500 to Monday afternoon. The field was set by the rulebook due to the rain, and Aric Almirola started 18th in the No. 43 Smithfield Ford. Kyle Larson set a fast pace early in the race and began lapping the field early in the 500-lap race. Almirola fell a lap down before the first caution on Lap 55 and took the Wavearound to restart on the lead lap in the 27th spot. The No. 43 Smithfield Ford was tight early and struggled to find grip. The strategy to stay out and get the Wavearound had the team in 26th at the end of Stage 1.

A heat cycle on the tires caused by the Red Flag on Lap 68 made the No. 43 Smithfield Ford even harder to drive. Crew Chief Drew Blickensderfer called for four tires and chassis and air pressure adjustments. Almirola restarted 27th, one lap down to the leaders. An incident on track with the No. 18 brought out the caution on Lap 211 with the No. 43 in the 26th spot, two laps down. Using the same strategy from the first Stage, the team stayed out and got a lap back to restart in the Lucky Dog spot, one lap down. The field restarted, and quickly, the No. 88 had an issue that brought out the caution and earned Almirola a spot on the lead lap. The team pit and made an air pressure adjustment to help the Ford Fusion turn better in the corner.

With over half the race remaining, they were back on the lead lap and in a good position to make a run for a good finish. Unfortunately, a lap-down car got into the No. 43 Smithfield Ford and caused a tire rub. Almirola was forced to pit under green and lost multiple laps, putting the team behind with just over half the race to go. The end of Stage 2 allowed the team to make another pit stop to continue to work on the sheet metal in the left, rear and make more adjustments to help the car’s handling. This uphill battle proved difficult for the team. They only had one option to take the Wavearound to get a lap back throughout the second half of the race. They continued to fight and work on the handling of the car to finish 22nd.

“We had a tough day today at Bristol, like a lot of teams,” said Almirola. “We struggled all weekend to get good turn in the corner, and the car rode really rough over the track. We got it better for the race and battled from two laps down early to get back on the lead lap. Unfortunately, another car got into us and caused us to pit under green for a tire rub. The rest of the race didn’t fall our way, and we couldn’t make up the laps we lost. We’ll keep fighting the good fight every week and look to get a good finish in Richmond next weekend.”

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

Bristol Motor Speedway Race Advance 4.23.17

April 25, 2017

Almirola Ready to Conquer ‘The Last Great Colosseum’
No. 43 Smithfield Team Looks to Continue Improvement

WEEKEND STATISTICS AND NOTES

After finding consistency at the first two short tracks of the season, Aric Almirola and the No. 43 Smithfield Ford team are ready to conquer one of NASCAR’s shortest tracks, Bristol Motor Speedway. Richard Petty Motorsports put a lot of work on the short-track program since the beginning of this season, and with the Tennessee oval being one of Almirola’s favorite tracks, the team is ready continue improving their Championship Points Standing with a strong run in Sunday’s race.

With 15 Monster Energy starts at Bristol Motor Speedway, Almirola’s best finish (third) came in 2014, while his best start (fifth) came in 2012. With a wreck causing Almirola to finish 34th in the spring race last year, the team looks to build off the 14th place finish in the fall and race for a win on Sunday.

APPEARANCES

Aric Almirola will be kicking off the Food City 500 race weekend at the Knoxville Expo Center in Knoxville, Tennessee with an autograph session from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. Tickets for the event are available at Food City locations for $5.00, or at the door on the day of the event for $6.00. All children under 12 will be admitted for Free.

When: Thursday, April 20, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Where: Knoxville Expo Center, Knoxville, Tenn.

Aric Almirola will be continuing the weekend at the Food City Race Night at Bristol Motor Speedway with a Fresh From Florida autograph session from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. Admission is free.

When: Friday, April 21, 6:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Where: Bristol Motor Speedway Fan Zone

ALMIROLA WEEKEND CHATTER

“Bristol Motor Speedway has always been one of my favorite tracks, so I’m really excited to be back there this weekend. We’ve been consistent at the short-tracks this year, but I’m ready to end a race in Victory Lane. I feel really good about our chances of doing that here in our No. 43 Smithfield Ford. With the weather forecast this weekend, it’s going to be really important for us to be fast as soon as we unload, and I know the guys have worked hard to bring me a car that can do that. I’m confident that we’ll be able to go to Bristol and improve on the consistency we’ve had this year.”

 

At Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida on November 20, 2015. CIA Stock Photo

Texas Motor Speedway Race Report 4.9.17

April 25, 2017

Richard Petty Motorsports
O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 Race Report
Texas Motor Speedway

O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 Results:
1: Jimmie Johnson
18: Aric Almirola, No. 43 Smithfield Ford

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series teams headed to Texas Motor Speedway to make their first laps on the newly paved and configured 1.5-mile track. Aric Almirola and the No. 43 Smithfield team were fast off the truck and showed speed in practice. Almirola started the race in 18th and anticipated a good finish. Unfortunately, another car ran into the back of the No. 43 on the first lap and caused left-rear damage. The car did not handle the same, so the team utilized a Lap 10 caution to fix the damage.

The stop helped but had Almirola in the 35th spot at the restart. He worked up to 30th by the Competition Caution and the team went to work on a tight-handling Ford Fusion. A quick stop gave the No. 43 the 27th spot on the restart. Almirola reported the car felt high on the track in the front, so at the end of Stage 1, the team adjusted the height of the splitter during a four-tire pit stop. This helped the car, and Almirola worked from the 25th position into the Top 20 by the Lap 121 caution.

This time, Almirola just looked for some lateral grip. Crew Chief Drew Blickensderfer called for four tires and an air pressure adjustment. The Smithfield Ford restarted 21st, and Almirola methodically picked up spots. He drove into the 17th spot when the caution came out with just seven laps remaining in Stage 2. Blickensderfer called the No. 43 to pit road for service and elected to stay out at the end of Stage 2. This gave Almirola the eighth starting spot for the final stage. He ran in the Top 10 for the first 20 laps of the stage, but then radioed that he hit some debris in the right-front. He fell back to 18th while battling a inconsistent car.

The team pit to discover that the right-front crush panel was damaged from the debris and caused the car to be inconsistent. It took 70 laps before a caution came out to allow the team to fix the damage. With 35 laps remaining and anticipating more caution, the team elected to get the Wavearound and return to the lead lap for the restart. Unfortunately, the race went green until the end. Almirola battled his car up to an 18th-place finish.

“Today was extremely disappointing,” said Almirola. “We had such a good race car all weekend and should have had a much better finish. We got hit from behind on the first lap which really set us back. But this team fought hard, and we got back to where we needed to be. Drew (Blickensderfer) made a good call to pit near the end of Stage 2 to get us in the Top 10. I felt really good about our chances of staying up front and getting a Top 10, Top 15 finish. But bad luck struck again. We hit debris with the right, front and didn’t have a good chance to fix it. After that, the car was so inconsistent and hard to drive. I’m very optimistic about how well we ran most of the weekend; just really disappointed we didn’t have a finish to show for it.”

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