May 8, 2017
Richard Petty Motorsports
Talladega 300 Race Report
Talladega 300 Results:
1: Aric Almirola, No. 98 Fresh From Florida Ford
Aric Almirola showed speed and driving prowess in the XFINITY race today at Talladega Superspeedway in the Biagi DenBeste Racing No. 98 Fresh From Florida. Almirola started 23rd and in just the first lap, drove into the 16th spot. The middle lane was fruitful for the No. 98 Mustang, and Almirola was able to hold his position with little help. He held the 14th spot for the first caution for fluid on the track. The field went green on Lap 12, and Almirola used the next eight laps to wheel his way to the lead. He held the lead when a nine-car wreck brought out the caution and a red flag. Almirola restarted in the lead and was able to hold off the field for the next three laps to get the Stage 1 win.
The team elected to pit for four tires and restarted 22nd as some of the field pit on the earlier caution. Again showing speed, Almirola quickly moved up to the 11th spot one lap after the restart. Just one lap later, he raced into the Top 10 where he raced for the remainder of the second stage. Again finding speed in the middle lane, he raced into fourth and held the spot at the end of the stage.
Changing four tires during the pit stop, Almirola restarted sixth on Lap 55. He quickly drove into the Top Three and had the No. 98 Fresh From Florida Ford in the lead by Lap 60. He got stuck in the middle lane with no help and fell back into the pack, but by the time the field crossed the start/finishline, he was in the fifth spot. The field settled to single file until Lap 71 when teams started green-flag pit stops. One of two in the front pack that didn’t pit, the No. 98 team elected to pit the following lap with the No. 20 car. Half the field didn’t pit, so Almirola raced in the 19th spot until Lap 92 when the other half of the field pit under green.
Debris on the frontstretch brought out the caution on Lap 99 with the Fresh From Florida Ford in 11th. The team pit for four tires and fuel to better position them for the win. They restarted 11th, and Almirola teamed up with fellow Ford Performance teammate Joey Logano. The duo worked the field and, in three laps, were in the Top Five. Almirola positioned himself to take the lead on Lap 110 and held off Logano and Elliott Sadler to win. This marks his third win in the XFINITY Series and second win with Biagi DenBeste Racing.
“It means so much,” said Almirola. “First, I want to thank God. And then I want to thank Fresh from Florida, and everybody at this Biagi DenBeste race team. They let me run this thing seven or eight times a year, and I have so much fun, especially at the speedway races. Doug Yates brings some awesome horsepower, and our Ford Mustang was super-fast. I knew it right from the beginning of practice. We ran about 10 laps in practice and I said, ‘Put it on jack stands. We’re ready to go. This thing is fast.’ What an awesome day. I feel really bad about the 16. I got in the back of the 16 and tore up a lot of cars there, but I got a good push, and I got in the back of him. I was trying to help him, trying to make the Fords work together and I hooked him, so I feel sorry about that. But, an awesome job. I told the kids we were gonna get soaking wet again. They’ve talked about Daytona for a year, and it’s just awesome to get this Fresh from Florida Ford Mustang into Victory Lane, so we’ll drink down a cold glass of orange juice and get ready to qualify.”