Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Pure Michigan 400
Michigan International Speedway, Brooklyn, MI USA
Friday 11 August 2017
Aric Almirola, Richard Petty Motorsports, Smithfield Ford Fusion
World Copyright: Nigel Kinrade

Michigan International Raceway Race Report 8.13.17

August 14, 2017

Richard Petty Motorsports
Pure Michigan 400 Race Report
Michigan International Speedway

Pure Michigan Race Results:
1: Kyle Larson
12: Aric Almirola, No. 43 Smithfield Ford
A wild late race restart in overtime pushed Aric Almirola and the No. 43 Smithfield Ford team out of a potential Top-Five finishing spot during Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400 at the Michigan International Speedway, located just west of Detroit.  Restarting on the inside line, the cars in front of Almirola were not able to get a good restart and the momentum of the outside line allowed multiple cars to pass on  the final lap.  Almirola put the Smithfield Ford in the best position possible on the backstretch and raced to a 12th-place finish.

Starting 24th, Almirola showed speed in the opening stage of the race. He was able to race up to 18th and said the Smithfield Ford was neutral, but lost grip late in the run.  Because the team didn’t have to make lengthy adjustments, quick pit stops allowed Almirola to stay in the Top 20.

To gain track position, Drew Blickensderfer used brilliant strategy to put Almirola in the Top-10 in the final stage. Before the end of the second stage, Almirola came to pit road for service, but the team only took two tires.  Almirola jumped a few positions, and as the stage ended, the team came in for new right-side tires.

In the final stage, many teams came down pit road early for fuel. Almirola and the team were able to stay on the track and race as high as fourth with 20 laps remaining.  A caution then waved and the team came down pit road for four tires and fuel.  A restart with nine to go, Almirola restarted 10th and was one of the fastest on the track.  He was passing for the seventh spot when a final caution waved forcing overtime.
The team came down pit road again for four tires, but Almirola had to restart in the ninth position on the bottom.  That lane did not have momentum and Almirola finished 12th.  It’s the best finish for Almirola since his return from injury.

“The bottom lane was not really the preferred lane all weekend,” said Almirola.  “It wasn’t in the Truck race or today.  I restarted on the bottom lane and just couldn’t get going.  Brad got to my inside and I got stuck in the middle and it was just kind of a dog fight after that.
“I would have gave anything to restart 10th instead of ninth, but it is what it is.  It was a solid day for us.  I’m really proud of Drew and everybody on this Smithfield Ford Fusion team.  We worked on it all weekend and got it better and better, and the best we had it was right there in the race.  I’m really proud of everybody.  To come out here in Ford’s backyard and have a good run was nice for us.”

NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series
Watkins Glen International, Watkins Glen, NY USA
Saturday 5 August 2017

World Copyright: Susan DeVault

Michigan International Speedway 9.13.17

August 10, 2017

Almirola Ready for High Speeds at Michigan
No. 43 Smithfield Team Looks for Good Showing in Ford Performance’s Backyard


The No. 43 Smithfield Ford team raced the fast speeds at Michigan International Speedway just eight weeks ago with interim driver Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. in the car. The team will utilize notes from that race to bring Aric Almirola the best setup for his first start this season at the two-mile track. Almirola, fully recovered from his injury, is ready to tackle the fastest track on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule.

Almirola found success at Michigan with a win in the Camping World Truck Series in 2010. Since then, he’s made 10 Monster Energy Series starts where he scored a fourth-place starting spot in 2014 and a best finish of 14th in 2015. He also has three XFINITY Series starts under his belt with a best finish of eighth in 2015.


MIS Fans will have the opportunity to see Almirola before the Pure Michigan 400 at the Ford Performance display. He will participate in a question and answer session on stage before belting into the No. 43 Smithfield Ford.

When: Sunday, August 13, 11:15 – 11:30 a.m.

Where: Ford display in the Fanzone



“When I think of Michigan, there is only one word that comes to mind: speed. We go so fast at Michigan. This will be my first stop at Michigan this year, so I’ll lean on Drew (Blickensderfer) and the team to bring good notes from June. Hopefully, we’ll roll off the truck with a good setup and have a good run on Sunday. I really like Michigan. Not just because I got a win here in the truck, but also because my wife’s family is from here and it’s in Ford’s backyard. That makes it extra special when you run well here.”


NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series
Watkins Glen International, Watkins Glen, NY USA
Friday 4 August 2017

World Copyright: Susan DeVault

Watkins Glen Race Report 8.6.17

August 7, 2017

Richard Petty Motorsports
I LOVE NEW YORK 355 at the Glen Race Report
Watkins Glen International

I LOVE NEW YORK 355 at the Glen Results:
1: Martin Truex Jr.
21: Aric Almirola, No. 43 Smithfield Ford
Aric Almirola started 29th in his first road course start this season. Struggling with a loose car in qualifying earlier in the day, the team started really loose but utilized the caution at the end of the first stage to work on adjustments on the No. 43 Smithfield Ford. Almirola gave up the 18th spot at the end of Stage One and pit for a four-tire stop and big chassis changes.

Because most teams elected to pit before the stage break, Almirola had the 32nd starting spot for Stage Two. But, the changes proved fruitful, and he worked the No. 43 Smithfield Ford back to the 29th spot in one lap and started to move forward. Pit and fuel strategy proved to be the storyline of the day. Crew Chief Drew Blickensderfer chose to stay on track through the second stage. Almirola held the 15th spot at the end of Stage Two and again stayed on track. Blickensderfer radioed that the team was about 14 laps from being able to make it to the end of fuel, so they stayed out.

The No. 43 Smithfield Ford restarted 13th. Almirola raced three-wide on Lap 46 and lost momentum and positions before getting back in line. Knowing they would pit soon and other teams had fresher tires, he didn’t push the issue. As the team readied for their final stop under green-flag conditions, NASCAR Officials called the caution for debris on Lap 53. Blickensderfer called Almirola down pit road during the caution, and the No. 43 Smithfield team made a four-tire stop with an air pressure adjustment. The stop was slowed when the 77 car left its pit box, and the crew had to wait to run to the right side of the car.

Almirola restarted in the 27th spot with 36 laps to go. He radioed the car was better in most of the corners but still loose in the esses. On fuel strategy, the team raced up to 24th when some cars started to pit for fuel. The race went green until the end, and the No. 43 picked up three more spots due to fuel strategy to finish 21st.

“We were just so loose all weekend,” said Almirola. “Drew made a good call on adjustments at the end of Stage One. There weren’t very many cautions, so everyone was on a few different strategies. That didn’t give us a lot of options to use pit strategy to get track position. We were good on fuel the final run, but the cars around us did a good job saving. We’ll take 21st and get back focused on racing ovals.”


Watkins Glen Race Advance 8.6.17

August 4, 2017

Almirola Makes First Road Course Start of 2017
Looks to Top Career-Best Road Course Finish of 14th in No. 43 Smithfield Ford


Missing the race at Sonoma Raceway due to injury, Aric Almirola makes his first and only road course start this season at Watkins Glen International (WGI). His favorite of the two road course races, he looks to top his best road course finish of 14th which he posted in 2015 at Sonoma Raceway. The No. 43 Smithfield team will utilize notes from last year as well as from Sonoma last June to get a good start for the weekend. Almirola will tap into the knowledge he got from past teammate and WGI winner Marcos Ambrose.

Almirola has six Monster Energy Series and one XFINITY Series start at Watkins Glen International. He posted his best Monster Energy Series start of 15th in 2008 and finish of 16th in 2015. In his lone XFINITY start at the road course, he started 17th and finished eighth. Earlier this season, IMSA Ford driver Billy Johnson filled in for the injured Almirola at Sonoma Raceway. He piloted the No. 43 Smithfield Ford from a 26th-place start to a 22nd-place finish.


“I like Watkins Glen. It’s definitely my favorite road course on the schedule. It’s much harder to pass at Sonoma. I learned a lot from Marcos (Ambrose) while he was a teammate and feel I can use that to my advantage this weekend. This will be my first road course race of the season, so it will be interesting to see how things have changed since last year. We’re definitely looking for redemption from last weekend’s accident on the first lap and hopefully will get another solid finish.”



Pocono Raceway

Pocono Race Report 7.30.17

July 31, 2017

Richard Petty Motorsports
Pocono 400 Race Report
Pocono Raceway

Pocono 400 Race Results:
1: Kyle Busch
40: Aric Almirola, No. 43 Smithfield Ford

Aric Almirola and the No. 43 Smithfield Ford team were involved in a Lap One accident during Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series event at the Pocono (Pa.) Raceway.  The multi-car accident occurred in front of Almirola, causing severe damage to the front of the No. 43.  The accident ended the day for the Smithfield team.

“I didn’t see what happened,” said Almirola. “We had passed a bunch of cars on the start, but got into Turn Three and a big wreck happened in front of us.  I had no place to go.  It’s just heartbreaking for everyone to have our day end so early.”

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