March 23, 2017
Richard Petty Motorsports
Camping World 500 Race Report
Camping World 500 Results:
1: Ryan Newman
17: Aric Almirola, No. 43 Smithfield Ford
Aric Almirola and the No. 43 Smithfield Ford team had to start from the back of the field on Sunday after the team made an engine change. Starting from the back, Almirola quickly made his way into the Top 30, and by the first caution on Lap 27, he held the 28th spot. With engine temperature running a bit hot and a tight-handling condition through the center of the corner, the team pulled tape and made an adjustment during a four-tire stop.
Almirola restarted 30th. The No. 43 Smithfield Ford handled well early in the run allowing Almirola to race as high as 23rd before the car began to get too loose. The end of Stage 1 allowed the team to go back on the last adjustment and make an air pressure adjustment. This helped the No. 43 Smithfield Ford, and the team continued to make air pressure adjustments to dial in the handling. Almirola raced as high as 25th in the second stage and completed Stage 2 in 29th after a speeding penalty sent the No. 43 back in the field.
Another air pressure adjustment and four-tire stop set up the team for the final stage. The team continued to get the car feeling better for Almirola, and he raced as high as 16th in the final stage. A caution in the final laps of the race setup a strategy call for the No. 43 team. Crew Chief Drew Blickensderfer elected to change four tires on the No. 43 Smithfield Ford. Almirola restated 20th and worked his way up to 17th during the Green-White-Checkered finish. He is now 17th in the Championship Points.
“We did what we needed to do today,” said Almirola. “We needed to find more speed off the truck and worked hard all weekend to do that. We started in the back of the field for an engine change but were able to get back up quickly. We struggled at the beginning to get turn in the center of the corner, but the guys made good changes and got the car handling well at the beginning of the run late in the race. Drew made a good call to get four tires at the end since we were better on the short run. A 17th-place finish was a decent point day for us, and we’ll work to build on that.”