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

Atlanta Motor Speedway Race Preview

March 1, 2017

Almirola and Smithfield Team Look for Results in Atlanta
Team Worked Hard in Off-Season to Improve Intermediate Track Program


Aric Almirola and the No. 43 Smithfield Ford team worked hard in the off-season on the Daytona 500 but their main focus was improving the intermediate track program. This weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway will be a big weekend for the team to see how they have improved the program from last season. The team gained momentum last weekend with a fourth-place finish in the Daytona 500, a career-best for Almirola and the first Top-Five finish for the No. 43 since Richard Petty drove the famed number. The team is sixth in points and ready to compete for a spot in the Playoffs.

Almirola made six starts in the Monster Energy Series at Atlanta Motor Speedway and tallied a best finish of ninth in 2014. He scored one Top-10 and three Top-15 finishes. Last season, he struggled with the handling of the No. 43 Ford but scored a 15th-place finish.

Almirola will once again compete in the NASCAR XFINITY Series this weekend with the No. 98 Fresh From Florida Ford. He was poised to get a good finish last weekend before a part failure in the front-end of the Ford Mustang. The team is regrouped and ready to compete in the Rinnai 250. Almirola has just two XFINITY starts at the 1.5-mile track and a best finish of eighth.


Almirola will join Richard Petty, Dale Inman, Crew Chief Drew Blickensderfer and Sirius XM NASCAR’s The Morning Drive LIVE from the Waffle House. The foursome will stop by the Waffle House for some waffles, Smithfield bacon and good conversation.

When: Friday, March 3, 7-11 a.m.
Where: Waffle House, 1064 Bear Creek Blvd, Hampton, GA 30228

Almirola will stop by the Air Force display to sign autographs before he hops into the No. 43 Ford for the Atlanta 500.

When: Sunday, March 5, 10:25 a.m.
Where: Air Force display in the Fanzone

Fans can celebrate #KINGs80th, as well as the 25th anniversary of Petty’s final race, at Atlanta Motor Speedway With the purchase of a $69 Upper Petty Grandstand ticket for Sunday’s race, fans can add a $10 upgrade which includes a replica ticket from the 1992 Hooters 500, a commemorative Richard Petty hero card, access to an exclusive Q&A session with Richard Petty on race day and a chance to win one of 43 replica 1992 Hooters 500 tickets signed by “The King” himself. One dollar from each upgrade purchase will go towards the Petty Family Foundation and Victory Junction.

The package is also available as an upgrade for any fan who has previously purchased a Sunday ticket valued at $69 or more and member of Atlanta Motor Speedway’s Insiders Club, regardless of seat location.


“Daytona is its own animal. We’re thrilled we got a fourth-place finish this week to start our season off on a high note. But, we’re looking forward to seeing where we compare to the competition in Atlanta. We felt like we really needed to improve our intermediate track program and worked really hard in the off season to get where we need to be. Atlanta will be a great test for us to see where we can still work to improve.”


Smithfield, Winn-Dixie & Almirola with RPM Donate Protein to Food Bank

February 27, 2017


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.- Feb. 23, 2017 -This week, Smithfield Foods’ Helping Hungry Homes® initiative, a program focused on alleviating hunger and raising awareness of food insecurity across the country, joined forces with Winn-Dixie and Aric Almirola with Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM) to donate 60,000 pounds of protein to Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. This donation, totaling more than 240,000 servings of protein, will help the nearly 500,000 people struggle with hunger every day in Central Florida.

“Protein is not always a readily available resource for our food bank or those we serve,” said Greg Higgerson, vice president of development for Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. “This generous donation from Smithfield, Richard Petty and Winn-Dixie makes that resource a guarantee in the coming weeks for families in need throughout our area.”

Smithfield and Winn-Dixie delivered 30,000 pounds of protein to Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida’s Orlando branch on Tuesday. Today, Aric Almirola with RPM joined Smithfield and Winn-Dixie to deliver an additional 30,000 pounds to the food bank’s Daytona Beach location. At both events, each organization’s representatives discussed the impact of food insecurity in Central Florida, where one in six people struggle with hunger.

“We have a long-standing relationship with Smithfield and share a true passion for helping those in need throughout the communities we serve,” said Eddie Garcia, regional vice president for Winn-Dixie. “This donation to Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida is yet another way we deliver on this mission, and we are proud of the positive impact made on our Central Florida neighbors.”

The donation to Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida was part of Helping Hungry Homes® 2017 donation tour where Smithfield will provide large-scale protein donations to nearly 50 food banks across the country. At today’s event, Aric Almirola, a Florida-native who has partnered with Smithfield in recent years to donate thousands of pounds of protein, helped present the donation.

“We are honored to participate in Smithfield and Winn-Dixie’s donation leading into the race weekend here in Daytona Beach,” said Aric Almirola. “I’m humbled to partner with Smithfield and Winn-Dixie yet again to give back to this community-a state that I have called home most of my life and community that has become part of my family during my racing career.”

To date, Helping Hungry Homes® has provided more than 49 million servings of protein to food banks across America.

“As a global food company, we value our role to provide high-quality protein to our communities in need,” said Dennis Pittman, senior director of hunger relief for Smithfield Foods. “We are proud to stand with Winn-Dixie and provide Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida with a donation that will provide nutritional support to families across the 16 counties the food bank serves.”
Following this week’s events, Helping Hungry Homes® will make its way to Las Vegas, Nevada on March 9. The donation tour will then host donation events in Austin on March 21 and Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas on March 23. For more information about Helping Hungry Homes® and a list of upcoming donation events, visit

At Daytona Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida  on February 24, 2017. CIA Stock Photo

Daytona Xfinity – Powershare QQQ 300 Race Report 2.25.17

February 27, 2017

Richard Petty Motorsports
Powershare QQQ 300 Race Report
Daytona International Speedway

Powershare QQQ 300 Results:
1: Ryan Reed
23: Aric Almirola, No. 98 Fresh From Florida Ford
Aric Almirola piloted the No. 98 Fresh From Florida Ford for Biagi DenBeste Racing to kick off the 2017 season of the NASCAR XFINITY Series. Almirola started the Powershare QQQ 300 from the 22nd position but quickly raced his way to the Top 15 by Lap 3 at his home track, Daytona International Speedway. Lap 5 brought out the first of ten cautions for the night. Almirola was happy with how his car was handling, and the No. 98 crew decided to stay out under the caution.

Lap 19 saw the second caution, and the No. 98 Ford won the race off pit road after taking two tires and fuel. Almirola was caught in a 20-car incident on Lap 24, which caused minor damage to the right-rear of the No. 98 Fresh From Florida Ford. The team pitted for four tires and some repairs before the red flag waved on Lap 25. Thankfully, the damage didn’t hurt the car’s speed, and after one more caution, Almirola ended Stage One in the 16th position. Restarting third on Lap 34, Almirola fought a tight car but decided not to pit during the next caution. Almirola ran in the Top 15 for the remainder of Stage Two and started the final stage from the 12th position.

After the Lap 65 restart, Almirola swiftly made his way to the Top Five and was able to consistently run in the Top 10 for the next 35 laps. On Lap 103, an issue with Almirola’s left-front wheel hub caused steering issues for the No. 98 Ford. Almirola brought the Fresh From Florida Ford down pit road when a caution came out, so Almirola headed back on track to stay on the lead lap. During the caution, Almirola brought the No. 98 back down pit road two more times. Unfortunately, the crew determined that the issue could not be fixed. Almirola had to drive his Fresh From Florida Ford to the garage ending his race. Scored with a 23rd-place finish, Almirola looks forward to another good run with the No. 98 crew at Atlanta Motor Speedway next weekend.

“I thought for sure we were going to put a Ford Mustang in Victory Lane, especially our Fresh from Florida Mustang because it was strong,” said Almirola. “I put myself in a position I wanted to be in, and I was kind of content right there just to chill and get ready for the end of the race, but we had some sort of mechanical failure right there. I had to bail out of the draft. Something in the front-end, but I’m not sure what really happened. I couldn’t drive it anymore. It wouldn’t even go in a straight line, so I don’t know. We failed a part or a piece. It’s disappointing. I thought we had a really good shot to win. Every time we come to these races with Biagi we have fun and we run up front, and today was no different, but unfortunately something happened.”


Daytona – Can-AM Duel Race Report

February 27, 2017

Richard Petty Motorsports
Can-Am Duel Race Report
Daytona International Speedway

Starting Position for the Daytona 500:
15: Aric Almirola, No. 43 Smithfield Ford

After rain cancelled today’s scheduled practice, Aric Almirola and the No. 43 team looked to use the Can-Am Duel as a test run for Sunday’s Daytona 500. Almirola started the Duel 16th in his No. 43 Smithfield Ford and worked with his spotter early in the race to find the best lane, settling into the Top 15 for the first 20 laps. During Lap 20, Almirola broke into the Top 10 and continued to race his way up before the Competition Caution at Lap 25. Running seventh, Almirola fought a bouncy left front and looked to Crew Chief Drew Blickensderfer on a strategy for the team’s pit stop.

During the scheduled Competition Caution, Almirola and the team decided against working on the left front and pitted for two tires and a wedge adjustment. On the restart, Almirola was shuffled to the middle line with no help but quickly made his way to the top line and shot to the third position by Lap 39.

Lap 49 brought another caution, and despite the previous two tire stop making the No. 43 Smithfield Ford tight, the crew decided not to pit, keeping Almirola out front in sixth. Almirola stuck with the middle line and was scored with an eighth-place finish. The team will start 15th for the 59th Annual Daytona 500 on Sunday, and Almirola hopes to continue his consistency from the Duel and move through the field.

“It was a good run for us,” said Almirola. “I think that our Smithfield Ford Fusion had good speed in it. We mixed it up there a bit. I thought we had better car; I just couldn’t make the moves when I wanted to. We’ll find some more speed in our car. All in all, it was a decent race for us, and I think we have good momentum heading into the Daytona 500. We have good speed in our car. Our car drove well. We’ll just tune on it and find some more speed.”

At Richmond International Raceway in Richmond, Virginia on April 29, 2016. CIA Stock Photo

Fresh From Florida Returns with Almirola & RPM 2017

January 26, 2017

Fresh From Florida Campaign Returns with Aric Almirola and Richard Petty Motorsports

Almirola to Run Six Races in Fresh From Florida backed Ford in Monster Energy NASCAR Cup and XFINITY Series

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (January 24, 2017) – Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM) announced today that the “Fresh From Florida” campaign will return for their fourth season with Aric Almirola and RPM. Through the partnership, Almirola, who is Fresh From Florida himself, will drive the No. 43 Fresh From Florida Ford at Talladega Superspeedway (May 7) and the No. 98 Fresh From Florida Ford at Daytona International Speedway for both NASCAR XFINITY races, as well as Atlanta Motor Speedway (March 4), Talladega Superspeedway (May 6) and Charlotte Motor Speedway (May 27).

The partnership will kick off during Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway, perfectly timed for peak season for strawberries, tomatoes, sweet corn and peppers. A Florida native, Almirola knows the importance of agriculture in Florida’s economy.

“I’m excited for another winning season with ‘Fresh From Florida'” said Almirola. “Being from Florida, I understand how important agriculture is for Florida’s economy, not to mention, how delicious the produce is! Eating healthy is very important to me and my family and so is fresh produce. We make meals based on the growing season and are always sure to ask for Fresh From Florida produce. I invite all of you to be a member of this winning team, so ask for Fresh From Florida by name when you shop.”

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