At Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, Virginia on October 31, 2015. CIA Stock Photo

Phoenix Raceway Race Report

March 23, 2017

Richard Petty Motorsports
Camping World 500 Race Report
Phoenix Raceway

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.”

At Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Nevada on March 5, 2016. CIA Stock Photo

Phoenix International Raceway Race Advance 3.19.17

March 15, 2017

Continued Improvement is Goal for No. 43 Smithfield Team in Phoenix
Almirola and Team Rebounded Last Weekend at Vegas with 14th-Place Finish

WEEKEND STATISTICS AND NOTES

Aric Almirola and the No. 43 Smithfield team saw improvement in Las Vegas last weekend after a disappointing showing in Atlanta. Now, the team heads to Phoenix Raceway, the first short track of the 2017 season, and looks for a solid finish to keep the team in the Top 15 of Championship Points.

Almirola has 12 Monster Energy Series starts at Phoenix Raceway. His had his best start of fifth in 2012 and finish of 10th in 2015. He tallied one Top-10, five Top-15 and nine Top-20 finishes in his career. Last spring, Almirola and team started 14th, raced in the Top-15 all day and finished 13th.

APPEARANCES

Fans will have a chance to say “Happy Birthday” to the “The King” when Petty makes an appearance on the DC Solar Power Pavilion (formerly Fan Midway) main stage for a Q&A at 9:15 a.m. prior to the start of the Camping World 500.

When: Sunday, March 19, 9:15 a.m.

Where: DC Solar Power Pavilion

Prior to the Monster Energy Series race, Almirola and Richard Petty will judge the Smithfield Grill Master Challenge. The 2017 competition will feature three fans as competitors who will be chosen at random. They will be given 90 minutes to prepare their own signature dish featuring Smithfield products. Almirola and Petty will judge the plates based on originality and creativity; oral presentation and visual appearance. The chef of the winning plate will receive a “King” prize pack.

When: Sunday, March 19, 9:45 a.m.

Where: Smithfield Display in the Fanzone

ALMIROLA WEEKEND CHATTER

“I’m looking forward to going to Phoenix this weekend. We had a good weekend in Vegas and look to carry over momentum into this week. It’s our first short track this season, and we usually do pretty well in the Spring race. So, I’m looking forward to putting our short track program to the test. Last year, we had a good short track program, especially toward the end of the season. We’ll look to continue that this weekend in Phoenix.”

At Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina on October 6, 2016. CIA Stock Photo

Las Vegas Motor Speedway Race Report 3.12.17

March 13, 2017

Richard Petty Motorsports
Las Vegas 400 Race Report
Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Las Vegas 400 Results:
1: Martin Truex, Jr.
14: Aric Almirola, No. 43 Smithfield Ford
Aric Almirola and the No. 43 Smithfield team competed in their first of a three-race West Coast swing Sunday at the Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway. The team wanted to drastically improve their intermediate program and did so with a 14th-place finish and a lot of information learned for the season.

Almirola started 30th for Sunday’s race, but before the green flag flew, the team made many changes to the car. Crew Chief Drew Blickensderfer, the engineering staff and the crew had a game plan, and when the race started, Almirola was able to move to the front. The car was much better, and by the end of the First Stage, Almirola was near the Top-20.

The Second Stage, another 80-lap run, Almirola was again fast. The team made more adjustments, and it was the best the car raced. Almirola was able to get as high as 15th before running consistently in the 18th or 19th position through the Stage. The only issue was an alternator that failed, and keeping the battery charged became a concern.

As the Smithfield crew began the final Stage and a longer run to the finish, more adjustments to the car were made. The alternator was still a concern, but Almirola was able to report that the battery had enough volts to make it to the end.
A late-race caution created a five-lap shootout. Almirola had fresh tires and was on the Lead Lap- less than 20 cars were at the end. Almirola had a good restart, and then, Brad Keselowski, the leader, ran out of fuel. This caused him to fall back and contact between  the 22 and 18 sent the 18 spinning on the last lap. Almirola stayed hard on the gas and diced his way to 14th in a great charge at the end.
The finish placed Almirola 14th in the Championship Standings.

“That was a lot more enjoyable for us,” said Almirola. “We made a lot of progress from last week ,and we learned some things, too. I think everything we can take from today will help us move forward to qualify better and then race inside the Top 10 and gain points throughout the day. In this sport, little things make a huge difference, and today, we gained on that.”

At Phoenix Raceway in Phoenix, Arizona on March 12, 2016. CIA Stock Photo

Las Vegas Motor Speedway Race Advance

March 7, 2017

No. 43 Smithfield Team Looks to Improve at Vegas
Almirola and Team Continuing to Work on Intermediate Program

WEEKEND STATISTICS AND NOTES

Atlanta Motor Speedway was the No. 43 Smithfield team’s first on-track test of their intermediate track program after the team worked on improvements in the off-season. Unfortunately, the car didn’t handle as well as the team hoped. They worked throughout the weekend, and Almirola said they scratched the service of improvement near the end of the race. The team will take those notes to Vegas and work on improving the car for Sunday’s race.

Almirola has eight starts at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Last season, he started seventh but experienced a vibration early on and finished 24th.

Almirola will once again perform double duty this weekend in the No. 98 Ford with Biagi DenBeste Racing. Almirola has just three XFINITY starts at the 1.5-mile track and scored his best finish of 11th in 2015.

APPEARANCES

Fans can celebrate #KINGs80th in the Neon Garage Friday. Richard Petty will stop by and answer a few questions before blowing out the candles on his birthday cake.

When: Friday, March 10, 2 p.m.

Where: Las Vegas Motor Speedway Neon Garage

Prior to the Monster Energy Series race, Almirola and Petty will judge the Smithfield Grill Master Challenge. The new competition will feature three competitors who will be chosen at random. The competitors will be given 90 minutes to prepare the dish of their choice featuring two Smithfield products and be provided with a pantry full of a variety of ingredients, spices, and sauces to use for their dish. They will also be provided with a grill and grill tools to prepare their dish. They will be judged on originality and creativity; oral presentation and visual appearance.

When: Sunday, March 12, 9:45 a.m.

Where: Smithfield Display in the Fanzone

ALMIROLA WEEKEND CHATTER

“It’s no secret that Atlanta did not go the way we hoped. We worked really hard in the off-season to improve our intermediate track program. Unfortunately, we were off on the handling last weekend, but the guys worked hard to improve the car, and we got a little better near the end of the race. We’ll start there for Vegas and continue to work hard to improve our intermediate track program. Vegas is a really tough track with a lot of bumps. It’s hard to get the car low to the ground there, and the aggressive bumps make it hard to get a handle throughout the race. We’ll keep working at it and get the best finish we can.”

At Atlanta Motor Speedway in Atlanta, Georgia on March 4, 2017. CIA Stock Photo

Atlanta Motor Speedway Xfinity Race Report – 3.4.17

March 6, 2017

Richard Petty Motorsports
Rinnai 250 Race Report
Atlanta Motor Speedway

Rinnai 250 Results:
1: Kyle Busch
19: Aric Almirola, No. 98 Fresh From Florida Ford

After a successful weekend of practice, Aric Almirola looked to race for the win in the No. 98 Fresh From Florida Ford for Biagi DenBeste Racing during today’s NASCAR XFINITY Series Rinnai 250. Almirola started the race from the 15th position and made his way to 13th when a quick caution came out on Lap 3. After going back to green on Lap 6, Almirola fell to 16th and consistently stayed in the Top 20 for the next 30 laps. On Lap 30, Almirola told Crew Chief Jon Hanson that there was a lot of smoke coming inside the car. The No. 98 crew couldn’t see any issues, and the smoke cleared after three laps.
Almirola fought a really loose car finishing Stage One in 16th and asked his crew to go big with the adjustments for the upcoming pit stop. The No. 98 Fresh From Florida Ford rolled down pit road, and Almirola took four tires, fuel, a wedge adjustment, air pressure adjustment, and front end adjustment. The changes helped the car, but Almirola was still loose and wasn’t able to make any big moves to the front of the field.
At the conclusion of Stage Two, Almirola ran in the 19th position. Hanson and the No. 98 crew decided again to make some big changes during the caution and made a four tire pit stop with wedge and air pressure adjustments. On the Lap 88 restart, Almirola was scored as 19th and was the first car one lap down. Even after the adjustments, the No. 98 Fresh From Florida Ford was still extremely loose, and Almirola fought to stay in the Top 20. Another caution on Lap 119 brought the No. 98 down pit road again for four tires, fuel and some more adjustments. During the final caution of the day, Almirola and the No. 98 crew chose to stay out and take the wave-around, remaining in the 19th position. After fighting a loose Fresh From Florida Ford all day, Almirola was scored with a 19th place finish.
“I was really excited with how strong our Fresh From Florida Ford was in practice all weekend,” said Almirola. “The guys at Biagi DenBeste Racing brought me a great car, but we were just too loose during the race to really make any moves. These guys work really hard and will go back to the shop and determine why the car was loose in the race. I was really hoping to get a better finish, but we’ll go on to Vegas and try and get a win there.”

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