At Homestead Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida on November 20, 2016. CIA Stock Photo

Homestead-Miami Sprint Series Race Report

November 21, 2016

Richard Petty Motorsports
Ford EcoBoost 400 Race Report
Homestead-Miami Speedway

Homestead-Miami Speedway Race Results:
1: Jimmie Johnson
40: Aric Almirola, No. 43 Smithfield Ford
The 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season came to a close on Sunday night at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In a season that saw highs and lows for the Richard Petty Motorsports teams, both the No. 43 and No. 44 teams looked to end the year strong after a 36 race battle.

Unfortunately, the season for Aric Almirola and the No. 43 Smithfield Ford team ended like much of the rest of the season with the promise of a good finish marred by outside forces. The No. 43 Fusion qualified in the 25th position for Sunday’s race, but something broke in the rear housing and sent Almirola to the garage with less than 100 laps to go. The No. 43 Smithfield Ford returned to the track and finished in the 40th position.

Aric Almirola, No. 43 Smithfield Ford Fusion

The conculsion of Aric Almirola’s double duty weekend came on Sunday night with the final Sprint Cup Series race of season at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Having a tight No. 43 Smithfield Ford in each practice session, Almirola qualified in the 25th position to start the race. He started the first run of the night extremely tight. He got looser on entry and exit as laps went on but remained tight in the center.

Trouble first struck on Lap 65 when Almirola made contact with the wall, causing a right, rear flat tire. He brought the Ford Fusion to pit road under green for four new tires and to pull out the damaged quarter panel. He lost a lap to the leaders but returned to the track with the damage. When the next caution flag fell on Lap 79, the team made two stops on pit road to fix the remaining damage.

The No. 43 Smithfield Ford remained tight through the center and loose on entry and exit with most of Almirola’s feedback focusing on the need for rear grip. But, another issue arose when Almirola reported on Lap 180 that something had broken in the rear-end housing and the steering wheel was no longer aligned. The team tried to fix the No. 43 Smithfield Ford on pit road but had to take it to the garage. Not wanting to give up in the last race of the season, the team fixed the issue and sent Almirola back on track 54 laps down with 35 laps to go in the race. Almirola finished in 40th place.

“I’m disappointed that we ended the season with a 40th-place finish,” said Almirola. “But, things break, and that’s just part of racing. I’m proud of my team for hustling to get us back on track and finish the race even though we couldn’t advance our finishing position at that point. They’ve been resilient all year though. We’ve had a difficult season, but we’ve never stopped working hard to get our team where we need to be. We’ll head home and start getting ready for a great 2017 season.”

At Homestead Miami Speedway in Miami, Florida on {month name} 20, 2016. CIA Stock Photo

Homestead-Miami Xfinity Series Race Report

November 21, 2016

Richard Petty Motorsports
Ford EcoBoost 300 Race Report
Homestead-Miami Speedway

Ford EcoBoost 300 Results:
1: Daniel Suarez
10: Aric Almirola, No. 98 Fresh From Florida Ford

Aric Almirola competed in his tenth NASCAR XFINITY Series race of the 2016 season this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway. One of the fastest cars during the two practice sessions, the No. 98 Fresh From Florida Ford Mustang was loose at times, but had great turn that allowed Aric Almirola to move all over the track. When the green flag dropped, Almirola was in 15th place and quickly started moving forward, getting as high as the ninth position.

When the third caution came on Lap 90, Almirola was in 14th place and providing feedback to the team on the car’s loose conditions. Crew Chief Jon Hanson had made adjustments to the car on the previous pit stop to work on the car’s balance, and Almirola was happy with the improvements. The team called him back down under the Lap 90 caution to give him four new tires, pull out a packer and make a wedge adjustment. Almirola restarted in the 14th position and had his best take off of the night. When the green flag dropped, Almirola shot through the field and was in fourth place within four laps.

He got as high as the third position before the car started turning loose again. Another caution flag came out on Lap 138, and the team made the first gamble of the night from fifth place. With only one set of fresh tires left, Almirola stayed on track to restart in first place. The whole field fanned out on the restart, and Almirola was shuffled back to 12th place. The No. 98 Fresh From Florida Ford team made the same gamble again on the next caution and restarted in first place again. Almirola had the oldest tires of the field and fell back to 18th place, the last car on the lead lap. The team finally got the caution they needed at the end of the race to take advantage of being the only team left with a set of sticker tires. But, with only three laps remaining at the drop of the green flag and restarting in the 16th position, Almriola didn’t have enough laps to get back to the front. He made it up to 10th place when he took the checkers.

“The guys brought me an awesome No. 98 Fresh From Florida Ford this weekend,” said Almirola. “It was fast in practice and fast in the race. We knew that there were a couple cars better than us, so we played the strategy game to try and pull a win out of this. But, there just weren’t enough laps left there at the end to make enough moves with our sticker tires. This team worked hard and should be proud of their hustle there at the end and, really, all season. We scored a win and a handful of Top-10 finishes this year, and that’s definitely something to be proud of.”

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


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.


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


“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 International Speedway Race Advance

November 9, 2016

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


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.


“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.”

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