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Indianapolis Motor Speedway Race Report 7.23.17

July 25, 2017

Richard Petty Motorsports
Brickyard 400 Race Report
Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Brickyard 400 Race Results:
1: Kasey Kahne
13: Aric Almirola, No. 43 Smithfield Ford

In a wild and memorable Brickyard 400, the No. 43 Smithfield Ford team earned their seventh Top-15 finish of the season.  Aric Almirola, in his second race back from injury, finished 13th after running in the Top-10 in the final Stage of the race.  Numerous cautions at the end of the race spoiled a strategy for a potential Top-Five finish.
On a hot and humid day, Almirola started 29th and raced 12 laps before rain poured down on the famed 2.5-mile Speedway.  Track crews dried the track in about an hour, but darkness was going to become an issue later in the race.

Crew Chief Drew Blickensderfer used the first two Stages to help Almirola with a loose handling car.  Wedge, air pressure, and packers in both the front and rear of the car did help Almirola find the speed he needed to move into the Top-20.  But, it was fuel that became the largest factor for the team.  Almirola  was able to pit for fuel halfway into the last Stage.  It put him at the end of the pack, but it also gave him the opportunity to race to the end.  The strategy worked.  With 10 laps remaining in the race, Almirola was in the sixth spot with two cars in front of him still having to pit.  A Top-Five run was then ruined when the first of four cautions waved in the final 10 laps and two overtime periods.
Almirola was involved in the first overtime accident.  An eight-car wreck on the frontstretch, Almirola was nearly clear of it before being spun around.  The damage, however, was able to be fixed on pit road under the five minute clock.  Almirola returned for the final overtime and finished 13th.

“We survived that race,” said Almirola. “There was lot going on in the final 10 laps until the end. We had the perfect strategy for a Top-Five, but the caution came out. And the restarts were just wild.  Everyone is fighting hard. You really needed to be on the bottom.
“We wanted to get back into the Top-10 at the end, but the race ended before we could finish the green-white-checkered.  We may be the “Hard Charger” today, we gained a lot of spots with this Smithfield Ford.”

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

Indianapolis Motor Speedway 7.23.17

July 19, 2017

Almirola Ready to Race on the Bricks at Indianapolis Motor Speedway
No. 43 Smithfield Ford Team Looks for Solid Finish at Famed Race Track

Weekend Statistics and Notes

Aric Almirola made his return to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series last weekend after missing seven races recovering from an acute compression fracture to his T5 Vertebra. Back into the swing, he looks to score a solid finish in the No. 43 Smithfield Ford at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Almirola has made six starts at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup and in the XFINITY Series. He has a best start of fourth (2012) and finish of 17th (2013) in the Monster Energy Series. In his lone XFINITY Series start in 2015, he started eighth and finished 14th.

Weekend Chatter

“Indy is special. There’s such deep racing history there, which makes it really cool when you walk through the famed garage and race over the bricks on the track. The feeling you get when you drive down the frontstretch with the grandstands on both sides of the track is unlike anywhere we race. As far as the racing on track is concerned, it’s a tough track. The corners are so flat that you really have to be able to rotate through the corner. We’ll work really hard to get all the speed we can off the corner to the straightaways.”

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New Hampshire Race Report 7.16.17

July 17, 2017

Richard Petty Motorsports
Overton’s 301 Race Report
New Hampshire Motor Speedway

Overton’s 301 Results:
1: Denny Hamlin
24: Aric Almirola, No. 43 Smithfield Ford
Aric Almirola returned to the No. 43 Smithfield Ford this weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway after missing seven races due to a fracture of his T5 Vertebra at Kansas Speedway earlier this year. Almirola started the Overton’s 301 from the 21st spot. The No. 43 Ford started off really tight, and Almirola held the 26th spot at the Competition Caution on Lap 35. Crew Chief Drew Blickensderfer called for a four-tire pit stop with major chassis adjustments. He restarted 27th and drove up to 23rd. The team utilized a caution on Lap 69 to employ pit strategy. The team changed four tires and made another chassis adjustment to help the car rotate the center better. They restarted 26th and held the 27th spot at the end of Stage 1 on Lap 75.

Staying out since they pit just eight laps earlier, Almirola restarted 17th. On Lap 90, the No. 3 car spun on the track, and Almirola quickly moved to the outside line to avoid incident. The car was still really tight, but the team wanted track position. They stayed out and restarted 16th. Fresh tires prevailed late in the run, and Almirola finished the second stage in the 21st spot.

The team tried different chassis adjustments during a four-tire stop and started the final stage from the 20th position. He raced in the 20th to 22nd position before green-flag pit stops began. On lap 221, Almirola gave up the 17th spot and pit for four tires and more chassis adjustments. The No. 43 Smithfield Ford fell a lap down as teams used varying strategy. On Lap 263, the team elected to take the Wavearound during what ended up being the final caution of the race. One of a few teams on old tires, Almirola held on to finish 24th on the lead lap.

“It felt really great to be back this weekend,” said Almirola. “As I’ve said all week, being away while my team and my friends raced made me realize how much I really love to race. We hoped to get a better finish, but the team worked hard to make the car turn better in the corner. We kept improving but just didn’t get to where we needed to be. I’m excited to get back after it next weekend at Indy.”

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Almirola & STP Throwback to 1984 & Richard Petty’s Historical 200th Win

July 12, 2017

Almirola and STP Throwback to 1984 and Richard Petty’s
Historical 200th Win

DANBURY, Conn. (July 12, 2017) – Richard Petty was already “The King” in 1984. Beyond being the sport’s most approachable and popular driver, Petty’s 198 wins was the most of any driver, by 93 over David Pearson. He was already “The King”, but he wanted more. In July of 1984, Petty scored his 200th, most historic, and final, NASCAR victory at Daytona International Speedway.

This September, STP and Aric Almirola will be honoring Petty’s record-setting 200th win at the Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway on Sunday, September 3 with the throwback paint scheme mirroring Petty’s 1984 STP Pontiac.

“All of the 200 wins were special but the 200th definitely stands out,” said Petty. “We needed every win before to get to 200 but to have the President there was pretty special. It was a story book win on the last lap, in Daytona, on the Fourth of July with the President of the United States there. I enjoy seeing the Throwback deals in Darlington, and this a great one to have on our car this year.”

The race was historic for a multitude of reasons. Not only was the 40th President of the United States, Ronald Reagan, the first acting United States President to attend a NASCAR event, but he also gave the command to start engines from a telephone on Air Force One as it flew over the backstretch of the track. Reagan stayed for the event, greeting Petty in the press box before Victory Lane ceremonies. And, following the race, the President treated drivers and teams to a picnic dinner.

Almirola, who was just under four months old at the time of Petty’s 200th win, understands the historic importance of his throwback paint scheme.

“When you think of Richard Petty, one of the first moments you think of is his 200th win at Daytona International Speedway,” said Almirola. “It was like a storybook being on the Fourth of July and with President Reagan there. That race is even more special to me with my first Cup Series win coming 30 years later to the weekend in the same Victory Lane. I really enjoy the throwback weekend, and it will be very special to throwback to such a substantial moment in NASCAR history. I always like to have a little fun with it off the track. Although, I’m not sure I’ll be able to top the Fu Manchu this year. We’ll work on it though.”
Beyond the paint scheme, Almirola, his crew chief, Drew Blickensderfer, and the Richard Petty Motorsports No. 43 team will also wear throwback firesuits and uniforms throughout the Bojangles’ Southern 500 race weekend.

STP’s tribute to Petty’s 200th win will extend past the throwback paint scheme. As a combination with Petty’s 80th birthday, STP’s Director of Marketing Katina Wall, announced at the unveiling that STP will donate engraved benches to each active track where Petty has recorded one of his record-setting wins. The benches will be engraved with Petty’s career-wins at each specific track.

“When you look back at the top moments in NASCAR, it would be hard not to put Richard Petty’s 200th win at the top of the list,” said Wall. “STP’s relationship with Richard has now surpassed 46 amazing years. We’ve been honored to be a part of his career and on the famous No. 43 for so many of NASCAR’s important, historic moments.

“Richard has always been about the fans. When we were looking at how to celebrate his birthday, we thought a gift that fans could enjoy and appreciate was appropriate.”

Petty’s career continued for eight more seasons, encompassing a total of 1,184 career starts. He continues to hold the record of 200 wins. Pearson remains second with 105. Fellow seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson is the highest active driver on the all-time win list with 83.

Active tracks where Petty has earned a win and will receive a bench include: Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, Richmond (Va.) International Raceway, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Daytona International Speedway, Darlington Raceway, Atlanta Motor Speedway, Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, Dover (Del.) International Speedway, Michigan International Speedway, Pocono Raceway and Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.

STP honored its first season with Petty by running a 1972 throwback paint scheme in the inaugural throwback Bojangles’ Southern 500 in 2015. Last year, STP and Almirola paid tribute to Petty’s record-setting seventh NASCAR Cup Series championship season in 1979.

The 2017 Bojangles’ Southern 500 will be broadcast live on NBCSN on Sunday, September 3 at 6 p.m., ET.

 

About Spectrum Brands Holdings, Inc., parent company of STP®

Spectrum Brands Holdings, a member of the Russell 2000 Index, is a global and diversified consumer products company and a leading supplier of automotive appearance, performance, and do-it-yourself A/C recharge products, consumer batteries, residential locksets, residential builders’ hardware, faucets, shaving and grooming products, personal care products, small household appliances, specialty pet supplies, lawn and garden and home pest control products, and personal insect repellents. Helping to meet the needs of consumers worldwide, our Company offers a broad portfolio of market-leading, well-known and widely trusted brands including Armor All®, STP®, A/C Pro®,  Rayovac®, VARTA®, Kwikset®, Weiser®, Baldwin®, National Hardware®, Pfister™, Remington®, George Foreman®, Black + Decker®, Farberware®, Tetra®, Marineland®, Nature’s Miracle®, Dingo®, 8-in-1®, FURminator®, IAMS®, Eukanuba®, Digest-eeze™, Healthy-Hide®, Littermaid®, Spectracide®, Cutter®, Repel®, Hot Shot®, Black Flag® and Liquid Fence®. Spectrum Brands’ products are sold by the world’s top 25 retailers and are available in more than one million stores in approximately 160 countries. Based in Middleton, Wisconsin, Spectrum Brands Holdings generated net sales of approximately $4.43 billion in fiscal 2014.  For more information, visit www.spectrumbrands.com.

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Almirola to Return to No. 43 Smithfield Ford at New Hampshire Motor Speedway

July 12, 2017

Arc Almirola to Return to No. 43 Smithfield Ford 
at New Hampshire Motor Speedway
Cleared by Doctors and NASCAR Following a Multi-Step Process

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (July 12, 2017) – Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM) driver Aric Almirola, who suffered an acute compression fracture to his T5 Vertebra after a multi-car accident at Kansas Speedway in May, will return to Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series competition this weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

The injury, which has a standard healing time of eight to 12 weeks, took eight weeks for Almirola to recover. Throughout the recovery process, Almirola did physical therapy, swam and tested in a simulation and on track environment. A test yesterday at Charlotte Motor Speedway was the final step in a multi-step process to return to the No. 43 Smithfield Ford.

“It felt great to be back in the racecar yesterday,” said Almirola. “After racing in the Monster Energy Series for five and a half years, it got to be routine, and I took it for granted. When something gets taken away from you at a moment’s notice like that, it has certainly made me appreciate my passion for racing and my desire to compete at this level. The thrill of running 200 miles per hour in a stock car was something that I had honestly lost a little bit. After being out of the car for eight weeks, the passion is back, now more than ever.

“Physically, I felt great in the car and had no pain associated with the injury during yesterday’s test” Almirola continued. “I’d like to sincerely thank all of the medical personnel that have helped me through this process, my family, my friends, my team and all the fans that supported me. I’m very grateful to Bubba (Wallace), Regan (Smith) and Billy (Johnson) for all of their efforts subbing for me both on and off the track. I’m excited to get back to racing against all my friends and peers in the Monster Energy Series.”

Almirola will return to the seat of the “Petty Blue” No. 43 Smithfield Ford Fusion at the one-mile track where he has scored one Top-Five and two Top-10 finishes.

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