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

Homestead-Miami Race Advance

November 15, 2016

Aric Almirola Hopes to Close Out 2016 Season Strong
Running Double Duty in Homestead

WEEKEND STATISTICS AND NOTES

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns to Homestead-Miami Speedway this weekend to bring the 2016 race season to a close. In a year that saw varied results and brought changes within the team, Aric Almirola is looking to end the season with a strong finish at one of his favorite tracks on the circuit. The No. 43 Smithfield Ford team has seen improved results in the final 10 races of the season, scoring three Top-15 and five Top-20 finishes.

Almirola will also pilot the No. 98 Fresh From Florida Ford for Biagi-DenBeste Racing in the XFINITY Series on Saturday. This will be Almirola’s 10th start for the team this season. Fresh From Florida adorned the hood of the No. 98 Ford when Almirola drove it to victory at Daytona International this past July and returns for the XFINITY Series season finale.

This trip to Homestead-Miami Speedway will mark Almirola’s seventh start in a Sprint Cup Series car at the mile-and-a-half track. He has two Top-10 and four Top-20 finishes there. His best finish of fourth place came in 2010 with Richard Petty Motorsports. In the four previous XFINITY Series races he has competed in, Almirola has three Top-20 finishes. He scored his best finish of eighth place in 2011.

APPEARANCES

It’s time to go racing with Smithfield and Safeway! Almirola and teammate Brian Scott will have three minutes to race through a Fort Lauderdale-area Safeway to find Smithfield products and various other items. Each will be paired with a randomly-selected fan, and the driver to collect the highest dollar amount of correct products will win the entire grocery cart of products for their fan partner. Fans are invited to come and watch the race through Safeway before their personal grocery shopping trip, and they may even get selected to participate. The No. 44 Safeway Ford and replica 1967 Belvedere will be on hand for fans to see.

When: Friday, November 18, 9:00 – 10:30 AM
Where: Safeway, 950 NE 50th St, Oakland Park, FL 33334

Fans will have the opportunity to see Almirola and “The King” Richard Petty when they judge the championship round of the Whole Hog Challenge at the Smithfield Display in Homestead-Miami Speedway’s Fan Midway. Sixteen contestants who won their individual qualifying rounds throughout the year will compete against one another to eat a half of a pound of Smithfield bacon the fastest. The winner, crowned by Almirola and Petty, will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to the 2017 Daytona race.

When: Sunday, November 20, 10:30 – 11:00 AM
Where: Smithfield Display, Homestead-Miami Speedway

After a full summer of excitement, Smithfield is rewarding a lucky fan with a replica of Richard Petty’s 1967 Belvedere this weekend! Fans were able to visit their local Albertsons Companies story over the summer and enter to win the car by purchasing three Smithfield items and submitting a photo of their receipt. Fourteen lucky winners from across the country have been selected to come to Homestead for the chance to win the classic car. Each contestant will be given a key to the Belvedere, which was featured on NBC’s Building 43, but only one key will work. The contestant with the key that fires up the ignition will take the 1967 Belvedere home with them! If you’re watching the race from home, be sure to watch NBC’s pre-race and in-race coverage to see who wins!

When: Sunday, November 20, 11:00 – 11:30 AM
Where: Smithfield Display, Homestead-Miami Speedway

ALMIROLA WEEKEND CHATTER

“I love Homestead-Miami Speedway. It’s such a cool racetrack. We run right up against the fence, but we can also run the bottom line too. You can really move around there. It’s a racetrack that we go to, and, as racecar drivers, know that if we have a faster car than the car in front of us then we’ll be able to easily move around them. We can’t say that about a lot of the tracks that we go to. It’s a very fun track to race at for that reason. It’s old and worn out. You slip and slide around there. The preferred line is usually right up against the fence, but you don’t have to run there. You can pretty much go wherever you can to get around somebody. So I think we’ve got a good shot at a strong finish in our No. 43 Smithfield Ford this weekend. We’ll have some work to do when we get there to get our Ford Fusion dialed in just like we’ve had to do at other mile-and-a-half tracks this year. But, we’ve seen improvement in our intermediate-track program recently, so I think we’ll have a good weekend.”

phoenix-airforce-pre

Phoenix International Speedway Race Advance

November 9, 2016

Aric Almirola Racing Double Duty in Phoenix
U.S. Air Force Returns to No. 43 Ford

WEEKEND STATISTICS AND NOTES

Short tracks have been a highlight of The Chase races for Aric Almirola and the No. 43 Ford team. Almirola scored a 17th-place finish in Loudon, a 16th-place finish in Dover and a 15th-palce finish in Martinsville. Phoenix International Raceway will be the final short track visit of the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, and the team is looking forward to returning. After finishing in the 13th position at the one-mile track in the spring, Almirola will return with the U.S. Air Force adorning the hood to score another Top-15 finish.

Almirola will also pilot the No. 98 Ford for Biagi-DenBeste Racing in the XFINITY Series on Saturday. This will be Almirola’s ninth start for the team this season. The last time he raced in the XFINITY Series, he left Daytona International Speedway in July with the winner’s trophy.

This will be Almirola’s 12th start in the Sprint Cup Series at Phoenix International Raceway. His best finish of fifth-place came in the spring of 2012. He has raced six times there in the XFINITY Series, and he has a best finish of sixth place that came in 2010.

ALMIROLA WEEKEND CHATTER

“Our short-track program has been much better here recently. Three or four years ago, our mile-and-a-half program was definitely our strongest program and short tracks were a struggle. But, over the past few years, we’ve been developing our program, and it’s become more respectable. I’m looking forward to going to Phoenix. The XFINITY race will be fun. Last time I went racing with Biagi-DenBeste Racing, it went pretty well. And, we’ve run really well at Phoenix in our Cup cars too, and I’m excited to close out the year with a good run in Phoenix.”

At Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas on November 6, 2016. CIA Stock Photo

Texas Motor Speedway Race Report

November 8, 2016

Richard Petty Motorsports
AAA Texas 500 Race Report
Texas Motor  Speedway

AAA Texas 500 Race Results:
1: Carl Edwards
22: Aric Almirola, No. 43 Smithfield Ford

 

After rain showers forced NASCAR and Texas Motor Speedway officials to delay the start of Sunday’s AAA Texas 500, Richard Petty Motorsports completed Sunday’s race late into the night with, again, rain stopping the race.  Just before cars were to fire their engines, a rain storm passed over the speedway. After a delay of six hours, the race began under the lights at the track.
Aric Almirola and the No. 43 Smithfield team finished 22nd.

Carl Edwards won the race as it was stopped on Lap 293 due to more rain.

Aric Almirola, No. 43 Smithfield Ford

Almirola rolled off 21st in the No. 43 Smithfield Ford to get the night started. The green flag finally waved on Lap 6, and cars were able to turn 22 laps before the Competition Caution came out. Almirola was happy with the Ford Fusion’s handling. It started the run a bit too tight, but its strong corner exit and forward drive stayed with him through the entire run.

As the night wore on, Almirola began to get looser the longer he ran.  He adjusted the trackbar to improve the handling issues.

Late in the race, the No. 43 Smithfield Ford struggled to turn through the corners as tire rubber built up on the track. The team took the wave around opportunity during a Lap 257 caution to gain back a lap and get to work on improving the car’s handling. With rain coming, Crew Chief Drew Blickensderfer didn’t have many opportunities for big changes in the closing laps. Almirola was able to pit twice more for fresh tires and wedge adjustments before rain showers ultimately ended the race 41 laps early. The team scored a 22nd-place finish.

“This race went better than a lot of other intermediate-track races this year,” said Almirola. “We’ve been working really hard to improve our race package for mile-and-a-half tracks, and I think we’re getting there. It’s not perfect by any means, but we’re showing progress. I’m proud of how hard my No. 43 Smithfield Ford team worked this weekend. The season may be coming to a close, but my guys aren’t giving up. Next weekend in Phoenix should be a good one for us. We’ve had a lot of success at short tracks recently, and I think we’ll continue that in Phoenix.”

At Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, Virginia on October 29, 2016. CIA Stock Photo

Texas Motor Speedway Race Advance

November 3, 2016

Aric Almirola Heads Back to Texas to Rebound from Spring Race
No. 43 Smithfield Ford Has Three Top-15 Finishes in The Chase

WEEKEND STATISTICS AND NOTES

With another Top-15 finish under his belt from this past weekend in Martinsville, Aric Almirola is ready to take the No. 43 Smithfield Ford back to Texas Motor Speedway. The team struggled to get a handle on the car during the spring race earlier this year, and Almirola went home with a 24th-place finish. The intermediate-track package has been a challenge for the team this year, but they put in hard work at the race shop to make improvements and be ready for the final mile-and-a-half track races. With a fresh perspective for the team heading into The Chase outside of the championship hunt, Almirola has scored five Top-20 finishes, three of which were in the Top 15. Almirola is ready to head back to Texas to rebound from earlier this year and continue his recent success.

This will be Almirola’s 12th start at Texas Motor Speedway. He scored one Top 10 finish at the intermediate track, a seventh place that came in 2013. In the same race, he earned his best starting position of third place.

APPEARANCES

Fans will have the opportunity to see Almirola and “The King” Richard Petty when they judge the final qualifying round of the Whole Hog Challenge at the Smithfield Display in Texas Motor Speedway’s Fan Midway. Pre-selected contestants will compete against one another to eat eight Smithfield ribs the fastest. The winner, crowned by Almirola and Petty, will move on to participate in the Whole Hog Challenge Championship in Miami at the end of the season.

When: Sunday, November 6, 10:15 – 10:45 AM
Where: Smithfield Display, Texas Motor Speedway

ALMIROLA WEEKEND CHATTER

 

“Texas has proven to be somewhat of an arch nemesis for us in the last two years. We haven’t run well there. We’ve struggled with our racecars being really loose on the long runs. And, those bumps in Turn 1 there are very violent, very big. They used to just be swells, but now, they’re actual bumps. They make it challenging to make your car setup to go over those bumps yet still be low to the ground and have grip. So we have a big circle around this race. We will have a real big focus on trying to make sure that we can maintain some grip and not get really, really loose like we have the last couple years. We’ve got some great momentum heading there after great finishes for the No. 43 Smithfield Ford in Talladega and Martinsville, so hopefully we can keep the positive upward trend going and get a solid finish this weekend.”
 

At Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, Virginia on October 30, 2016. CIA Stock Photo

Martinsville Speedway Race Report

November 2, 2016

Goody’s Fast Relief 500 Race Results: 

1: Jimmie Johnson
15: Aric Almirola, No. 43 Smithfield Ford
With only four races remaining in the season, Richard Petty Motorsports returned to the half-mile track of Martinsville Speedway this weekend. In practice, Aric Almirola and the No. 43 Smithfield Ford team focused on a race setup that would be strong during long green flag runs. The team’s hard work paid off when Almirola was able to pass many cars during the final 114-lap stretch of the race. He finished in 15th place at the checkers.

Aric Almirola, No. 43 Smithfield Ford 

Aric Almirola turned more than 150 laps in the No. 43 Smithfield Ford during Saturday’s two practice sessions at Martinsville Speedway, focusing on perfecting his car for long green-flag runs. After qualifying in the 16th position, the team wanted to be prepared to run with the front of the field. At the end of practice, Almirola knew he had a Ford Fusion that might struggle early in runs but was confident that it would be strong during long runs when other cars got looser and looser.

The first few runs of the race were shorter than was ideal for the setup the team had worked on. The first caution came on Lap 23. Almirola was 19th and reporting that he couldn’t roll the center and commit to wide-open throttle like he could in practice the day before. Crew Chief Drew Blickensderfer brought him down pit road to give him four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment to work on the handle. When the next caution flag flew on Lap 62, Almirola had the same handling feedback, and the team gave him four new tires and another wedge adjustment.

Almirola was able to settle in once the race went green for longer periods of time. The final caution came with more than 100 laps to go and the field restarted on Lap 286 with the No. 43 Smithfield Ford in 19th place and one lap down to the leaders. In the opening laps of the run, Almirola fell down to 20th place and began his 100-lap crusade to pass cars. As the team had hoped, the weekend’s work paid off, and Almirola’s car got stronger as the race stayed green. He began to pick off the slower cars in front of him. When the checkered flag fell after 500 laps of hard racing, Almirola finished in fifteenth place.

“This is progress, and it’s something we need to keep doing,” said Almirola. “It was a solid day for our No. 43 Smithfield Ford team. That’s what we need to do. Our team is capable of running Top 15 every week, and we’re heading in that direction. It takes executing perfectly and getting everything right. And, today we did that. We did a good job on pit road. We executed the best we could, and the car was decent. I’m proud of everybody on our team, and we’ll go get ready for next week.”

 

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