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Almirola to Return to No. 43 Smithfield Ford at New Hampshire Motor Speedway

July 12, 2017

Arc Almirola to Return to No. 43 Smithfield Ford 
at New Hampshire Motor Speedway
Cleared by Doctors and NASCAR Following a Multi-Step Process

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (July 12, 2017) – Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM) driver Aric Almirola, who suffered an acute compression fracture to his T5 Vertebra after a multi-car accident at Kansas Speedway in May, will return to Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series competition this weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

The injury, which has a standard healing time of eight to 12 weeks, took eight weeks for Almirola to recover. Throughout the recovery process, Almirola did physical therapy, swam and tested in a simulation and on track environment. A test yesterday at Charlotte Motor Speedway was the final step in a multi-step process to return to the No. 43 Smithfield Ford.

“It felt great to be back in the racecar yesterday,” said Almirola. “After racing in the Monster Energy Series for five and a half years, it got to be routine, and I took it for granted. When something gets taken away from you at a moment’s notice like that, it has certainly made me appreciate my passion for racing and my desire to compete at this level. The thrill of running 200 miles per hour in a stock car was something that I had honestly lost a little bit. After being out of the car for eight weeks, the passion is back, now more than ever.

“Physically, I felt great in the car and had no pain associated with the injury during yesterday’s test” Almirola continued. “I’d like to sincerely thank all of the medical personnel that have helped me through this process, my family, my friends, my team and all the fans that supported me. I’m very grateful to Bubba (Wallace), Regan (Smith) and Billy (Johnson) for all of their efforts subbing for me both on and off the track. I’m excited to get back to racing against all my friends and peers in the Monster Energy Series.”

Almirola will return to the seat of the “Petty Blue” No. 43 Smithfield Ford Fusion at the one-mile track where he has scored one Top-Five and two Top-10 finishes.

At Petty Museum in Level Cross, North Carolina on April 1, 2017. CIA Stock Photo

Charlotte Motor Speedway 5.19.17

May 22, 2017

Aric Almirola to Miss Races during Injury Recovery
Regan Smith Will Drive the No. 43 Ford in the Monster Energy Open at Charlotte Motor Speedway  

CONCORD, N.C. (May 19, 2017) – Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM) driver Aric Almirola, who suffered an acute compression fracture to his T5 Vertebra after a multi-car accident at Kansas Speedway last Saturday night, will be forced to miss races in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series during his recovery. The standard healing time for the injury is eight to 12 weeks. Regan Smith will drive the No. 43 Ford this weekend in the Monster Energy Open.

Almirola was on a streak of Top-10 finishes and an XFINITY win before competing Saturday night. Unfortunately, he was involved in a multi-car accident on Lap 199. Returning home, Almirola met with top doctors in the Charlotte area to determine a recovery plan.

“First off, I want to thank the track safety and medical team, all of the doctors and nurses at The University of Kansas Hospital for taking good care of me,” said Almirola. “My family, friends and people in the NASCAR community who reached out to me, I truly appreciate your support, and, to all the fans for their prayers and support. I want to thank my race team, everyone at RPM, and our great partners who have been supportive of me over the last five years and have continued to show support during this difficult time. I want to thank our doctors in Charlotte, Dr. Petty, Dr. Coric and Bill Heisel. They will be the team that leads my roadmap to my recovery. I will be meeting with them throughout the healing process, and it will be up to them to give me clearance to get back in the racecar.”

“From the time I was eight years old, all I ever wanted to do was race,” continued Almirola. “Now that I’ve made it to the highest level, that’s all I ever do. It has become the norm to go on an airplane every Thursday, race and then do it all over again the next week. It’s going to be challenging these next several weeks knowing that my team is preparing to go to the track, the industry is preparing to go race, and I’m not. In the meantime, I’m going to focus on getting my body back to 100 percent. I’m going to take some time to relax and recover and do everything necessary to get back in the racecar as soon as possible.”

While Almirola will not be able to perform his driving duties, Regan Smith will pilot the No. 43 Ford Fusion this weekend in the Monster Energy Open at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Smith made 211 starts and tallied one win (Darlington 2011), four Top Fives and 13 Top 10s in his 10 year career in the Monster Energy Series. He also has six wins in the XFINITY Series.

“I hate the circumstances that created this opportunity, but I’m very excited and grateful to have a chance to drive the No. 43 this weekend,” said Smith. “Aric is a friend of mine and his health and a speedy recovery is the most important thing right now. I can’t thank everybody at RPM enough for thinking of me, and I’m excited to represent them and all of their partners.”

Further information regarding the driver of the No. 43 Ford after Saturday race will be announced next week.

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RPM update on driver Aric Almirola following Kansas Crash 5.14.17

May 14, 2017

Petty Motorsports driver Aric Almirola suffered a compression fracture to his T5 vertebra in Saturday night’s three-car wreck at Kansas Speedway. The driver is mobile, though, and has been released from a Kansas-area hospital.

Almirola was airlifted to the hospital after a Lap 199 incident which saw something break in Joey Logano’s car, sending his No. 22 Ford hard into Danica Patrick’s No. 10 Ford. Both cars smacked the outside wall, and Almirola couldn’t slow and plowed into Logano’s car.

Almirola immediately dropped his window net after the wreck, signaling he was OK, but was extricated from his car and placed onto a headboard. He is scheduled to fly back to North Carolina on Sunday.

 

The team did not provide an update on how much time, if any, Almirola would miss with the injury and said further updates would be provided provided when available.

Below is the full statement:

“Aric Almirola, driver of the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford, has been released from a local Kansas hospital and will fly back to his home in Mooresville, N.C. today.

Almirola suffered a compression fracture to his T5 Vertebra after a multi-car accident at Kansas Speedway Saturday night.  Almirola is mobile and will follow-up with his doctors in Charlotte.

Richard Petty Motorsports will provide further updates when available.”

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Kansas Motor Speedway Race Advance 5.13.17

May 10, 2017

Two Top-10 Finishes Catapult Almirola into Kansas
No. 43 Smithfield Team Look to Continue Positive Momentum

WEEKEND STATISTICS AND NOTES

A ninth- and fourth-place finish in the last two races catapults Aric Almirola and the No. 43 Smithfield Ford team into Kansas. The team hopes momentum from the good runs will continue this weekend at Kansas Speedway. The team moved up three spots in the Championship Standings and looks to continue their journey forward at a track that is historically good for them.

Almirola has 10 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at the 1.5-mile track. He scored three Top-10 finishes with his best of eighth coming in the spring of 2013 and 2014. Almirola also has experience leading the field at Kansas Speedway. In the fall race in 2012, Almirola led 69 laps and was poised for the win when a blown tire ended the team’s day early. Last season wasn’t as good as the team hoped. They raced as high as 14th in the spring race and finished 18th. In the fall, an accident early ended their day early.

ALMIROLA WEEKEND CHATTER

“We’re definitely on a good run here. The last two weeks have been really good for us. This team has worked hard all season, and we’re finally getting the results to show for it. We hope the momentum continues this weekend at Kansas. I like Kansas and have had fast cars here in the past. We’ve been working hard on our intermediate track program. Even though it’s been a few weeks since we raced at an intermediate track, the program is still at the forefront of what we are working on at the shop. The key is to unload fast and tweak the car to get better. We hope we have that this weekend with the No. 43 Smithfield Ford.”

At Talladega Super Speedway in Talladega, Alabama on May 7, 2017. CIA Stock Photo

Talladega Superspeedway 5.7.17

May 8, 2017

Richard Petty Motorsports
GEICO 500 Race Report
Talladega Superspeedway

GEICO 500 Results:
1: Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
4: Aric Almirola, No. 43 Fresh From Florida Ford
Hot off his XFINITY Series win, Aric Almirola and the No. 43 Fresh From Florida team were confident heading into the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series GEICO 500. Almirola started 21st and quickly showed speed on the 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway. He raced into the Top 10 by Lap 7 and radioed that the Ford Fusion was really fast but uncontrollably loose. A caution on Lap 18 for the No. 42 found Almirola in ninth. Looking to help the loose condition, Crew Chief Drew Blickensderfer called for two tires, an air pressure adjustment and a chassis adjustment.

The No. 43 Ford restarted 17th, but unfortunately, the changes made the car too tight in the center and exit of the corner. Almirola stayed out of trouble and used the caution at the end of Stage 1 to go back on the change and pit four tires on the Fresh From Florida Ford. Restarting 22nd, he worked up to 16th when an incident on the track brought out the caution on Lap 83. Blickensderfer made a strategy call for fuel only and pulled tape off the nose. The team restarted 12th, and in 14 laps, Almirola broke the Top 10 and raced in ninth. He continued to race in the Top 15 before the conclusion of Stage 2.

More comfortable with the No. 43 Fresh From Florida Ford’s handling, the team made a four tire pit stop with no changes. Almirola restarted 16th on Lap 117 and drove through the field. He showed the speed of the car and battled for the lead on Lap 134 as he raced in second for six laps. He continued to jockey for position before the field made green-flag pit stops. The No. 43 team pit for two tires on Lap 150. Again tight on two tires, Almirola fell back and held the 19th spot when the caution came out on Lap 162.

Almirola said he found something in Turns 3 and 4 and felt they were better on four tires. So, Blickensderfer called for a four tire stop and put tape on the grille. Four tires were key, and Almirola started his way back through the field. It took 170 laps to get the ‘Big One’, and big it was. Seventeen cars were involved in the incident that started in front of the No. 43 Ford. Almirola maneuvered around the wreckage and came through unscathed. After a red flag, the team elected to pit for four tires and a small chassis adjustment to set the car up for a final shootout.

The field took the green on Lap 173 with Almirola in 13th and eyeing the middle lane. He drove into the ninth spot when the field slowed twice for incidents on the track that set the field up for a green-white-checkered finish. During the caution, Almirola and Spotter Joel Edmonds strategized the best situation and felt their best bet was to run in the middle line. Almirola succeeded and drove to a fourth-place finish. The finish was the team’s second Top Five with the other a fourth-place finish in the Daytona 500.

“I thought I was right where I wanted to be,” said Almirola. “My car was really good through the middle of the pack, and I didn’t want to get shuffled to the bottom. I was adamant about that, but I thought we had some pretty good runs toward the end. I thought we were going to have a shot at it, but just getting side drafted and stuff, we got stalled out. All in all, it was a great day for our Fresh from Florida Ford Fusion and another Blue Oval two days in a row goes to Victory Lane.”

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