At Darlington Raceway in Darlington, South Carolina on September 3, 2017. CIA Stock Photo

Darlington Raceway Race Report

September 8, 2017

Richard Petty Motorsports
Bojangles Southern 500 Race Report
Darlington Raceway

Bojangles Southern 500 Race Results:
1: Denny Hamlin
20: Aric Almirola, No. 43 STP Ford

Aric Almirola kicked off the Official NASCAR Throwback weekend by debuting a Richard Petty-like mustache and 1984 replica firesuit. The No. 43 STP Ford team threw back to Petty’s 1984 200th victory with a “Petty Blue” and Dayglo Orange Ford Fusion. The team felt pretty good about their car and secured a 15th-place starting spot. Unfortunately, the car was too tight to start the race, and Almirola fell to 20th before the first caution allowed the team to make a pit stop and adjustments. The adjustments freed up the car, and another caution on Lap 40 gave the team an opportunity to continue working on the handling. A quick pit stop captured the 18th spot on the restart. By the end of Stage One, Almirola was in 23rd, one lap down. The car was too loose to end the stage and struggled with the brakes for most of the first stage. The team made another stop with adjustments during the break.

The No. 43 STP Ford restarted 23rd and was much better this run. Another quick caution saw the team come down pit road for fresh Goodyear tires. The field saw green-flag racing for 25 laps, and Almirola earned the free pass at the Lap 156 caution. Knowing they had to start at the tail-end of the field, Crew Chief Drew Blickensderfer called for a longer pit stop with bigger chassis adjustments. The adjustments worked as Almirola posted the best times he had all day. He worked up to 22nd before the end of the stage. The team made another four-tire stop with a small adjustment.

Almirola restarted the final stage in the 17th spot. Unfortunately, the team saw a lugnut lying on the brake caliper and worked to see if it would be a problem. Luckily, the yellow flag came out just three laps later and allowed the team to pit and ensure there were no further issues. They restarted 24th. Almirola still posted good lap times and methodically worked his way up to 19th in the next 36 green-flag laps. The field then began green-flag pit stops, and Almirola came down pit road for a four-tire stop and slight changes to help the car’s handling. He drove into the 16th spot when the caution was called on Lap 260. With just over 100 laps left, the team pit once again and continued to tweak the handling and keep up with the changing racetrack.

Unfortunately, the car got really loose, and Almirola earned a “Darlington stripe”. The team elected to make a scheduled green-flag pit stop for four tires and to make sure there wasn’t any damage. By Lap 316, Almirola held the 20th spot but radioed that he had to pump the brakes to get them to work. Blickensderfer kept Almirola on track until the checkered flag dropped to try to pick up a few spots on fuel strategy. They salvaged a 20th-place finish.

“We were just really loose, and we couldn’t make any ground,” said Almirola. “I thought at times during the race we had a decent car. I thought we had maybe a 15th-place car, but the longer the run, we’d just get really loose. We’ll learn from it and keep on going.”


Third Season of ‘Beyond the Wheel’ Short Films Captures International Perspective – Documentary

September 8, 2017

Third Season of ‘Beyond the Wheel’ Short Films Captures
International Perspective
Documentary Series from FS1, NASCAR Productions Returns to ‘NASCAR Race Hub’

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. and CHARLOTTE, N.C.(Aug. 31, 2017) — FS1 and NASCAR Productions are taking fans both around the world and back in time with the third season of the acclaimed short film series “Beyond the Wheel.” From the ’90s in Japan to present-day Cuba, the documentaries bring a new perspective to some of NASCAR’s most remarkable moments through never-before-seen footage and interviews with the sport’s most fascinating characters and legends.

The films will premiere every Wednesday night for three consecutive weeks, kicking off with “Made in Japan” on Sept. 20 at 6 p.m. ET during “NASCAR Race Hub” on FS1.

The third season of the documentary short film series is comprised of the following:
Made in Japan – In the mid-1990s, NASCAR orchestrated the ultimate story of East meets West by traveling more than 7,000 miles for an unprecedented series of races pitting its best drivers against top competitors in Japan. Made in Japan captures one of the greatest culture mixes in racing history from the perspective of influential figures on the Japanese stock car racing scene and icons like Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Rusty Wallace, who made the trek more than 20 years ago.

El Corredor – Born in Florida after his family fled Castro’s Cuba, Aric Almirola has risen to the top ranks of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series circuit. El Corredor follows Almirola as he makes his first-ever trip to discover his ancestor’s homeland, the booming car culture in Havana and the roots of his family tree.

The Year Without A King – Although Richard Petty remained a constant in NASCAR over the span of four decades, 1965 stands out as a year far removed from any other in his career. The Year Without A King explores the untold story of his foray into drag racing and subsequent return to NASCAR, including Petty’s first-person account of how this turbulent season changed the sport and his life forever.

El Corredor premieres on Wednesday, Sept. 27, followed by the premiere of The Year Without A King on Oct. 4. Both will air at 6 p.m. ET during “NASCAR Race Hub.” Each documentary will also stream live on FOX Sports GO during “NASCAR Race Hub” and be available on following its premiere.

FOX Sports and NASCAR Productions were recognized in the 38th Annual Sports Emmy Awards earlier this year. NASCAR Productions received top honors in the Outstanding Social TV Experience category – its fifth win since 2011 – while FOX was victorious in 11 categories total, including Outstanding Sports Promotional Announcement for its “Daytona Day” campaign.

Only two races remain before the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs. Tune-in to watch the Bojangles Southern 500 live from Darlington Raceway on Sunday, Sept. 3 at 6 p.m. ET on NBCSN, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.


Darlington Raceway Race Advance

September 8, 2017

Almirola and No. 43 STP Team Seek Radical Finish in
1984 Throwback Scheme
No. 43 Team will Throwback to Richard Petty’s 200th Win in 1984


Put down your Walkman and turn on the tube, Aric Almirola and the No. 43 STP Ford team are amped to throwback to the 80s this weekend for the Bojangles Southern 500. Almirola and team will be looking rad as they suit up in replica attire for Sunday’s Official Throwback. The team will fight the infamous Lady in Black for an awesome finish. A nod to “The King” Richard Petty’s righteous 200th win at Daytona International Speedway, the No. 43 STP Ford will rock the “Petty Blue” and Dayglo Orange scheme from 1984.

Almirola has five starts at Darlington Raceway in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. He scored his best start of third in 2014 and finish of 11th in 2015. The Lady in Black was harsh to Petty as well. While he scored three wins in his 65 starts, he won one Southern 500 and swept the Darlington races in 1967, his most successful season. Petty will drive his 1967 No. 43 race car to pace the field prior to the start of the Southern 500.


Almirola will judge a lip sync competition at the STP display prior to getting behind the wheel of the No. 43 STP Ford. The first male and first female fan to sign up at the STP display on Sunday will participate in the competition. The winner will receive VIP access to the race.

When: Sunday, September 9, 3:00 p.m.
Where: STP Display in the Darlington Raceway Fan Zone

Fans attending the Bojangles Southern 500 will have a chance to meet “The King” before the green flag drops. Tickets will be distributed at 4 p.m. at the STP display.

When: Sunday, September 9, 4:45 p.m.
Where: STP Display in the Darlington Raceway Fan Zone


“Darlington is definitely a very difficult race track. They call it Too Tough to Tame for a reason. 500 miles takes a lot of focus. The wall can jump out and bite you very easily. We’ll work to get the best handling we can in practice and focus on keeping the car clean all weekend to be there at the finish. It’s really cool to throw back to Richard’s 200th win. That was such an iconic moment for the sport with Richard making history in front of President Reagan. It’s always fun to dress up like Richard did and have a car that replicates such a great moment, but once I get inside that racecar, it will be like every other race. We want to compete up front and make a run at a win. We’ll work on just that this weekend.”

Bristol Motor Speedway

Bristol Motor Speedway Race Report

August 22, 2017

Richard Petty Motorsports
Bristol Night Race Report
Bristol Motor Speedway

Bristol Night Race Results:
1: Kyle Busch
37: Aric Almirola, No. 43 Smithfield Ford

It was not the No. 43 Smithfield Ford team’s night at Bristol Motor Speedway. The race started with tire issues and resulted in an early exit for broken power steering. Aric Almirola started the race under the lights from the 28th spot. Unfortunately, by Lap 662, the team’s Ford Fusion had a right, front flat tire that sent the car into the outside wall. NASCAR Officials called a caution, and the team came in to change the right-side tires and fix the damage. They came back down pit road to change left side tires and restarted 33rd, two laps down.

As Stage One came to a close, the No. 43 had another right, front flat, but this time, the caution for the end of the stage came out before Almirola fell another lap down. The team pulled more brake tape thinking it was an issue with break temperature, and changed four tires. The next run was better for Almirola. He fought a tight Smithfield Ford in the middle of the corners but didn’t have an issue with the tires. An incident on track brought out the caution on Lap 202, and the team pit for big chassis adjustments to loosen the car in the corners.

The changes helped the next run. The team utilized pit strategy during the Lap 233 caution and stayed out. They restarted 29th for the final seven laps of the second stage. Almirola pit during the stage break for four tires and an air pressure adjustment.

He restarted 28th, but unfortunately, another tire issue hindered the team’s progress forward. Stuck on the high line, Almirola went seven laps down before being able to drive down to pit road. The team quickly changed four tires and went back on track. A caution on Lap 355 allowed the team to pit again, but bad luck stuck again. The No. 43 began smoking, and a few laps later, Almirola radioed that it was the power steering. On Lap 393, he was black flagged for the smoke. He drove into the garage to fix the issue, but the team didn’t have enough time to get it fixed before the end of the race. They finished 37th.

“We had an oil line on the motor that had a hole in it, and it started smoking real bad and caught on fire, so that’s the end of our night. We blew like four or five right-front tires. It was just a long night for our Smithfield team. We’ll have to regroup and go on to the next race.”


Bristol Motor Speedway Race Advance 8.19.17

August 16, 2017

Double Duty on Deck for Almirola under the Lights at Bristol
Competes at Last Great Colosseum in No. 43 Smithfield and
No. 98 Fresh From Florida Fords


Aric Almirola heads to Bristol Motor Speedway under the lights for double duty. Last weekend, Almirola and the No. 43 Smithfield team posted a Top-15 finish and look to carry that momentum to the high-banked short track this weekend.

Almirola has 16 Monster Energy Series starts at Bristol where he scored one Top-Five, two Top-10 and six Top-15 finishes. He scored his best finish of fifth in 2014. Earlier this season, the team battled rain and came home with a 22nd-place finish in the postponed race.

Almirola will return to the cockpit of the No. 98 Fresh From Florida Ford Mustang for the first time since his win at Talladega Superspeedway. Looking to make another appearance in Victory Lane, Almirola has six XFINITY Series starts where he scored one Top-Five and four Top-10 finishes. He finished 10th in his last XFINITY race at Bristol last season with Biagi DenBeste Racing.


Fans headed to Food City Race Night in Bristol, Tenn. will have the opportunity to get an autograph from Almirola or see Richard Petty in the opening ceremonies. Food City Race Night features entertainment, food, and fun. Fans of all ages get the opportunity to meet their favorite drivers and their teams. Advance tickets are $5 and can be purchased at selected Food City locations. Tickets will be $6 the day of the event with children 12 and under being admitted free of charge. All proceeds from Food City Race Night will benefit local organizations. Over a half million dollars has been raised through Food City Race Night and donated to various area organizations.

Petty will join the PVA for a check presentation in the Welcome Ceremonies.
When: Thursday, August 17, 5:30 p.m.
Where: Food City Race Night Main Stage, Downtown Bristol

Almirola will be on hand to sign autographs at the Fresh From Florida display.
When: Thursday, August 17, 6:00 p.m.
Where: Food City Race Night, Downtown Bristol


“Racing under the lights at Bristol is always exciting. I’m looking forward to running both races this weekend. The last time I ran with Biagi DenBeste Racing we went to Victory Lane, so I’m excited to get back in the Mustang and compete for another win. We had a good finish last weekend in the Monster Energy Series, so we’ll use that momentum heading into the race on Saturday. We had a lot of rain earlier this year that hindered working on our car in practice, so we’ll use our race notes from the race to bring a good car this weekend.”

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