At Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, Virginia on October 29, 2016. CIA Stock Photo

Texas Motor Speedway Race Advance

November 3, 2016

Aric Almirola Heads Back to Texas to Rebound from Spring Race
No. 43 Smithfield Ford Has Three Top-15 Finishes in The Chase

WEEKEND STATISTICS AND NOTES

With another Top-15 finish under his belt from this past weekend in Martinsville, Aric Almirola is ready to take the No. 43 Smithfield Ford back to Texas Motor Speedway. The team struggled to get a handle on the car during the spring race earlier this year, and Almirola went home with a 24th-place finish. The intermediate-track package has been a challenge for the team this year, but they put in hard work at the race shop to make improvements and be ready for the final mile-and-a-half track races. With a fresh perspective for the team heading into The Chase outside of the championship hunt, Almirola has scored five Top-20 finishes, three of which were in the Top 15. Almirola is ready to head back to Texas to rebound from earlier this year and continue his recent success.

This will be Almirola’s 12th start at Texas Motor Speedway. He scored one Top 10 finish at the intermediate track, a seventh place that came in 2013. In the same race, he earned his best starting position of third place.

APPEARANCES

Fans will have the opportunity to see Almirola and “The King” Richard Petty when they judge the final qualifying round of the Whole Hog Challenge at the Smithfield Display in Texas Motor Speedway’s Fan Midway. Pre-selected contestants will compete against one another to eat eight Smithfield ribs the fastest. The winner, crowned by Almirola and Petty, will move on to participate in the Whole Hog Challenge Championship in Miami at the end of the season.

When: Sunday, November 6, 10:15 – 10:45 AM
Where: Smithfield Display, Texas Motor Speedway

ALMIROLA WEEKEND CHATTER

 

“Texas has proven to be somewhat of an arch nemesis for us in the last two years. We haven’t run well there. We’ve struggled with our racecars being really loose on the long runs. And, those bumps in Turn 1 there are very violent, very big. They used to just be swells, but now, they’re actual bumps. They make it challenging to make your car setup to go over those bumps yet still be low to the ground and have grip. So we have a big circle around this race. We will have a real big focus on trying to make sure that we can maintain some grip and not get really, really loose like we have the last couple years. We’ve got some great momentum heading there after great finishes for the No. 43 Smithfield Ford in Talladega and Martinsville, so hopefully we can keep the positive upward trend going and get a solid finish this weekend.”
 

At Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, Virginia on October 30, 2016. CIA Stock Photo

Martinsville Speedway Race Report

November 2, 2016

Goody’s Fast Relief 500 Race Results: 

1: Jimmie Johnson
15: Aric Almirola, No. 43 Smithfield Ford
With only four races remaining in the season, Richard Petty Motorsports returned to the half-mile track of Martinsville Speedway this weekend. In practice, Aric Almirola and the No. 43 Smithfield Ford team focused on a race setup that would be strong during long green flag runs. The team’s hard work paid off when Almirola was able to pass many cars during the final 114-lap stretch of the race. He finished in 15th place at the checkers.

Aric Almirola, No. 43 Smithfield Ford 

Aric Almirola turned more than 150 laps in the No. 43 Smithfield Ford during Saturday’s two practice sessions at Martinsville Speedway, focusing on perfecting his car for long green-flag runs. After qualifying in the 16th position, the team wanted to be prepared to run with the front of the field. At the end of practice, Almirola knew he had a Ford Fusion that might struggle early in runs but was confident that it would be strong during long runs when other cars got looser and looser.

The first few runs of the race were shorter than was ideal for the setup the team had worked on. The first caution came on Lap 23. Almirola was 19th and reporting that he couldn’t roll the center and commit to wide-open throttle like he could in practice the day before. Crew Chief Drew Blickensderfer brought him down pit road to give him four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment to work on the handle. When the next caution flag flew on Lap 62, Almirola had the same handling feedback, and the team gave him four new tires and another wedge adjustment.

Almirola was able to settle in once the race went green for longer periods of time. The final caution came with more than 100 laps to go and the field restarted on Lap 286 with the No. 43 Smithfield Ford in 19th place and one lap down to the leaders. In the opening laps of the run, Almirola fell down to 20th place and began his 100-lap crusade to pass cars. As the team had hoped, the weekend’s work paid off, and Almirola’s car got stronger as the race stayed green. He began to pick off the slower cars in front of him. When the checkered flag fell after 500 laps of hard racing, Almirola finished in fifteenth place.

“This is progress, and it’s something we need to keep doing,” said Almirola. “It was a solid day for our No. 43 Smithfield Ford team. That’s what we need to do. Our team is capable of running Top 15 every week, and we’re heading in that direction. It takes executing perfectly and getting everything right. And, today we did that. We did a good job on pit road. We executed the best we could, and the car was decent. I’m proud of everybody on our team, and we’ll go get ready for next week.”

 

At Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, Virginia on October 29, 2016. CIA Stock Photo

Martinsville Speedway Race Advance

October 28, 2016

Aric Almirola Looks to Continue Recent Short Track Success in Martinsville
No. 43 Smithfield Ford Suffered Rare Engine Failure at Earlier Martinsville Race

WEEKEND STATISTICS AND NOTES

The final 10 races of the season feature four short tracks, one mile or less. With two of those races complete, Aric Almirola scored a 17th-place finish in New Hampshire and a 16th-place finish in Dover. This weekend’s race in Martinsville will be the third short-track race, and Almirola is looking forward to continuing his strong finishes. During the previous trip to Martinsville this season, the team suffered a rare engine failure and was unable to finish the race. The No. 43 Smithfield Ford is prepared to make the trip back to the southern Virginia track and showcase the strong short-track program.

This weekend will be Almirola’s 16th Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway. His best finish of 12th place came in the 2012 season for Richard Petty Motorsports.

APPEARANCES

Almirola will meet with fans at the Fanatics tent in the Fan Midway on race day morning. Almirola and Richard Petty Motorsports merchandise can be purchased at Fanatics prior to the autograph session.

When: Sunday, October 30, 10:00 – 10:15 AM
Where: Fanatics Tent, Martinsville Speedway

Fans will have the opportunity to see Almirola when he judges the Whole Hog Challenge at the Smithfield Display in Martinsville Speedway’s Fan Midway. Pre-selected contestants will compete against one another to eat two pounds of Smithfield bacon the fastest. The winner, crowned by Almirola, will move on to participate in the final Whole Hog Challenge Championship in Miami at the end of the season.

When: Sunday, October 30, 10:15 – 10:45 AM
Where: Smithfield Display, Martinsville Speedway

ALMIROLA WEEKEND CHATTER

“Between the tire that Goodyear is bringing to Martinsville and the new aerodynamics package, the cars seem to be driving quite a bit differently than in the past. We struggled a bit adapting to those changes at the last Martinsville and didn’t run how we normally do there. We’ve been running in the Top 15 for the last four years, but we didn’t run that well last time, and then we ended up having an engine issue. But, I think that we’ve gotten a better handle on the package here recently, and we’ve been showing improvement these past few weeks, especially at short tracks. We’ll definitely have some work to do once we get to the track, but this team has worked hard all year and will this weekend. We’ll get our No. 43 Smithfield Ford running how we need it and, hopefully, bring home another Top 20 finish.”

At Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Alabama on October 23, 2016. CIA Stock Photo

Talladega Superspeedway Race Report

October 24, 2016

Richard Petty Motorsports
Talladega 500 Race Report
Talladega Superspeedway

Talladega 500 Race Results: 

1: Joey Logano
8: Aric Almirola, No. 43 Smithfield Ford
Richard Petty Motorsports returned to the 2.66-mile track of Talladega Superspeedway this weekend. Both cars showed speed in the draft in practice before Sunday’s 500 mile race.  Aric Almirola ran in the Top 20 for the majority of the race and used a late-race charge during a green-white-checkered finish to score his first Top-10 finish of the season, crossing the finishline in eighth.

Almirola’s Top-10 finish marks Richard Petty Motorsports 122nd Top 10 finishes.

Aric Almirola, No. 43 Smithfield Ford

Superspeedway racing is certainly one of Aric Almirola’s fortes. With a win in both the Cup Series and the XFINITY Series at Superspeedways, Almirola knows how to work the draft and move through the field. He showed his strengths at Talladega Superspeedway this weekend when he drove his way to and eighth-place finish, the No. 43 Smithfield Ford team’s best finish of the season.

Starting in 26th place, Almirola quickly jumped into the Top 20. Running the middle lane for the entire first run of the race, he made his way as high as sixth place. When it came time for the first pit stop under caution, Almirola reported that the car was tight when running in the back of the pack but drove well otherwise. Crew Chief Drew Blickensderfer called for a wedge adjustment to help with the handling.

He restarted in the 19th position and got comfortable in the top lane, working with teammate Brian Scott during the first portion of the run. The race stayed green for 68 laps, and all of the cars spread out to run single file for the majority of the lengthy green-flag run. Almirola remained settled in the Top 20 and didn’t make too many aggressive moves in order to avoid the usual chaos that breaks out during Superspeedway racing.

Almirola’s final pit stop came during a Lap 146 caution. Blickensderfer called for a two-man fuel stop to pack the No. 43 Smithfield Ford full of fuel and gave it new right-side tires. Almirola was two laps to the good on fuel to finish the race without another stop but needed to save fuel whenever possible in case of an overtime situation. He ended up being shuffled to the back of the field during the final 30 laps of the race, falling as far back as 26th place, but he used his experience to methodically work his way back to the front. When the green flag dropped for the green-white-checkered finish, Almirola was in 14th place. With good information from Spotter Joel Edmonds and aggressive moves, Almirola crossed the finishline in the eighth position. His first Top-10 finish in the 2016 season.

“This is definitely great momentum for our race team,” said Almirola. “It’s been a challenging year for us, but we’re working hard to get back to scoring consistent Top-10 and Top-15 finishes. I knew going into the race today that my No. 43 Smithfield Ford ran best in the top and middle lanes, but it was a matter of making sure I was in whichever lane was moving fastest at the time. I had a great spotter helping me out, and I was able to make the moves that I needed to, to be there at the end. Two Top-10 finishes is awesome for Richard Petty Motorsports; I couldn’t be more proud of how hard our teams worked.”

At Richmond International Speedway in Richmond, Virginia on September 9, 2016. CIA Stock Photo

Talladega Super Speedway Race Advance

October 20, 2016

“Aric Almirola Ready to Return to Superspeedway Racing
No. 43 Smithfield Ford Prepared to Run Up Front


WEEKEND STATISTICS AND NOTES

The last time Aric Almirola went superspeedway racing, he left Daytona International Speedway with a XFINITY Series win and a Top-15 finish in the Sprint Cup Series. With a win in both Cup and XFINITY, superspeedways are tracks that Almirola has proved to excel. During the season’s first visit to Talladega, Almirola ran with the leaders but was taken out in a late-race accident and finished in 27th place. Returning this weekend, he will look to once again run up front in the No. 43 Smithfield Ford and score the strong finish that he missed out on in the spring.

Almirola has 13 Sprint Cup Series starts at Talladega Superspeedway. He scored his best finish of 10th place in the spring race of 2013. For the fall race of that same season, Almirola earned his best starting spot when he started first.

APPEARANCES

Fans will have the opportunity to see Almirola when he judges the Whole Hog Challenge at the Smithfield Display in Talladega Superspeedway’s Fan Midway. Pre-selected contestants will compete against one another to eat eight Smithfield ribs the fastest. The winner, crowned by Almirola, will move on to participate in the final Whole Hog Challenge Championship in Miami at the end of the season.

When: Sunday, October 23, 10:15 – 10:45 AM
Where: Smithfield Display, Talladega Superspeedway

ALMIROLA WEEKEND CHATTER

“Talladega is very stressful, but we get used to it. It’s part of the sport. We go there twice a year, and we know what to expect when we get there. We also go to Daytona twice, but they’re very different tracks. The cars don’t need to handle as well at Talladega; handling really comes into play at Daytona. But, at Talladega, it’s all about having a really fast car and drafting well. The whole weekend leading up to the race is actually pretty relaxed and stress free compared to most weekends. Then, when we show up to race Sunday, it starts to get pretty intense. But, for the most part, it’s a good weekend. I always enjoy superspeedway racing, and I’ve been pretty successful at it. So I’m ready to get our No. 43 Smithfield Ford down there.”

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