September 25, 2017
Richard Petty Motorsports
ISM Connect 300 Race Report
New Hampshire Motor Speedway
ISM Connect 300 Race Results:
1: Kyle Busch
26: Aric Almirola, No. 43 Smithfield Ford
Aric Almirola and the No. 43 Smithfield Ford team started the ISM Connect 300 from the 29th position. The car was very loose to start off, but Almirola raced into the 26th spot before finishing Stage One in the 28th spot. Crew Chief Drew Blickensderfer called for a slight chassis adjustment to see if it would tighten up the car. Almirola restarted the second stage from the 31st position. Unfortunately, the car needed a bigger adjustment, so the team utilized a Lap 149 caution to make big chassis adjustments to the car.
Almirola started the final stage from the 26th spot, two laps down. The car was better. He raced as high as 25th before the caution came out on Lap 219 with the No. 43 in the 28th spot, three laps down. Hoping for a quick caution, the team elected to get the Wavearound and restarted 25th, two laps down. Unfortunately, the caution didn’t come before the team had to pit for fuel. Almirola gave up the 23rd spot and two laps to pit for tires and fuel. A caution on Lap 264 allowed the team to take the Wavearound once again and restart in 28th, three laps down. A quick caution for a spin was just what the team needed. They pit for four tires. Another caution slowed the field, and Almirola restarted 29th, three laps down for the final green-flag run. He worked up to 26th, the highest position three laps down before the checkered flag fell.
“New Hampshire is a tough track, and you really need to be able to handle in the corners,” said Almirola. “We unloaded tight. After adjustments and a big temperature swing, we were way too loose in the race. The team made some good adjustments that helped the car, but we didn’t have an opportunity to make up the ground lost. We’ll regroup and head to Dover. That’s typically a good track for us, so I look forward it.”