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.”


Smithfield Honored for Diversity Efforts

March 6, 2017

Smithfield Honored for Diversity Efforts

Virginia-based Company Wins NASCAR Partner Award for Their Commitment to Multicultural Outreach

FLA. (March 2, 2017) – Smithfield Foods, Inc., the world’s largest hog producer and pork processor, was awarded the NASCAR Partner Award with Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM) last week. Each year, this award is given to a company that demonstrates a commitment to NASCAR diversity goals through its program support and engagement.

With goals of making communities better throughout our county, Smithfield’s sponsorship of RPM and driver Aric Almirola has amplified its outreach efforts for Helping Hungry Homes®, Smithfield’s hunger-relief initiative focused on alleviating hunger and helping Americans become more food secure.

Smithfield has made a focused effort of giving back to the community, especially in NASCAR markets, throughout its partnership with RPM. In 2015, Smithfield’s Helping Hungry Homes® initiative joined Almirola and NASCAR Diversity to donate 43,000 pounds of protein to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. In total, Helping Hungry Homes® has provided more than 49 million servings of protein to food banks throughout the country.

“At Smithfield Foods, we feed people – it’s what we do,” said Dennis Pittman, senior director of hunger relief for Smithfield Foods. “Through Helping Hungry Homes, we are able to donate millions of pounds of nutritious, high-quality protein to food banks across the country each year and raise awareness of food insecurity across our country through our donation events.”

Last year, Smithfield also partnered with RPM to host school events in California and Illinois at middle schools with a high percentage of Hispanic and low-income students. The two events treated the students and their families to a Smithfield dinner prior to meeting Almirola. In 2016, over 500 students and their families heard Almirola’s message to stay in school and that hard work pays off. The program will expand to four events this year and kicked off last week in Almirola’s hometown of Tampa, Florida.

“Aric came to us and wanted to give back to the Hispanic community and inspire them to chase their dreams,” said Pittman. “Aric is the perfect example of the ‘American Dream’, and we were thrilled to be able to join together to give back to these kids and their families. The schools have high percentages of free or reduced lunches and low income families, and we’re proud that we can take the burden off for one night and feed their families while Aric inspires them with his story.”
Smithfield joined Almirola in the 59th Annual Daytona 500 Sunday, Feb. 26. Almirola finished fourth place in the race, his career-best Daytona 500 finish.

At Dover International Speedway in Dover, Delaware on October 1, 2016. CIA Stock Photo

Atlanta Motor Speedway Race Report 3.5.17

March 6, 2017

Richard Petty Motorsports
Atlanta 500 Race Report
Atlanta Motor Speedway

Atlanta 500 Results:
1: Brad Keselowski
27: Aric Almirola, No. 43 Smithfield/Waffle House Ford
Aric Almirola and the No. 43 Smithfield/Waffle House team went to Atlanta Motor Speedway knowing it would be a gauge for what changes they made in the off-season on their intermediate track program with no intermediate tests in the off-season. The team came off the truck too loose and the problem worsened throughout the weekend.

Almirola started 30th after experiencing a steering problem in qualifying. The team improved the problem in practice before Sunday’s race. He quickly moved the No. 43 Smithfield/Waffle House Ford up three spots early in the run but as tires wore off became very loose. He fell back to 35th and one lap down before the team’s first pit stop.

Crew Chief Drew Blickensderfer called for a four-tire pit stop with a shock adjustment in the rear. Still loose and struggling to turn in the center, Almirola continued to diagnose the car while Blickensderfer continued to make adjustments during pit stops. Almirola continued to race in the Top 34 throughout most of the race as the Smithfield/Waffle House team worked on the car.

By the Lap 263 caution, Blickensderfer decided to go another direction with the adjustments to test the cars reaction. Almirola said the adjustments helped a little, so Blickensderfer continued down that path. After the final stop, Almirola said the team scratched the surface on improving the car and was able to move up to 27th for the finish. The team is now 13th in Championship Points.

“Today was definitely disappointing,” said Almirola. “We worked extremely hard in the off-season on our intermediate program and did all we could to test on simulation without an intermediate track test. We struggled being loose all weekend, but these guys worked hard to make adjustments. By the end, we went the right direction to get the Smithfield/Waffle House Ford handling a little better. Now, we’ll work hard to make progress before we head to Vegas.”

At Dover International Speedway in Dover, Delaware on October 1, 2016. CIA Stock Photo

Atlanta Motor Speedway Race Preview

March 1, 2017

Almirola and Smithfield Team Look for Results in Atlanta
Team Worked Hard in Off-Season to Improve Intermediate Track Program


Aric Almirola and the No. 43 Smithfield Ford team worked hard in the off-season on the Daytona 500 but their main focus was improving the intermediate track program. This weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway will be a big weekend for the team to see how they have improved the program from last season. The team gained momentum last weekend with a fourth-place finish in the Daytona 500, a career-best for Almirola and the first Top-Five finish for the No. 43 since Richard Petty drove the famed number. The team is sixth in points and ready to compete for a spot in the Playoffs.

Almirola made six starts in the Monster Energy Series at Atlanta Motor Speedway and tallied a best finish of ninth in 2014. He scored one Top-10 and three Top-15 finishes. Last season, he struggled with the handling of the No. 43 Ford but scored a 15th-place finish.

Almirola will once again compete in the NASCAR XFINITY Series this weekend with the No. 98 Fresh From Florida Ford. He was poised to get a good finish last weekend before a part failure in the front-end of the Ford Mustang. The team is regrouped and ready to compete in the Rinnai 250. Almirola has just two XFINITY starts at the 1.5-mile track and a best finish of eighth.


Almirola will join Richard Petty, Dale Inman, Crew Chief Drew Blickensderfer and Sirius XM NASCAR’s The Morning Drive LIVE from the Waffle House. The foursome will stop by the Waffle House for some waffles, Smithfield bacon and good conversation.

When: Friday, March 3, 7-11 a.m.
Where: Waffle House, 1064 Bear Creek Blvd, Hampton, GA 30228

Almirola will stop by the Air Force display to sign autographs before he hops into the No. 43 Ford for the Atlanta 500.

When: Sunday, March 5, 10:25 a.m.
Where: Air Force display in the Fanzone

Fans can celebrate #KINGs80th, as well as the 25th anniversary of Petty’s final race, at Atlanta Motor Speedway With the purchase of a $69 Upper Petty Grandstand ticket for Sunday’s race, fans can add a $10 upgrade which includes a replica ticket from the 1992 Hooters 500, a commemorative Richard Petty hero card, access to an exclusive Q&A session with Richard Petty on race day and a chance to win one of 43 replica 1992 Hooters 500 tickets signed by “The King” himself. One dollar from each upgrade purchase will go towards the Petty Family Foundation and Victory Junction.

The package is also available as an upgrade for any fan who has previously purchased a Sunday ticket valued at $69 or more and member of Atlanta Motor Speedway’s Insiders Club, regardless of seat location.


“Daytona is its own animal. We’re thrilled we got a fourth-place finish this week to start our season off on a high note. But, we’re looking forward to seeing where we compare to the competition in Atlanta. We felt like we really needed to improve our intermediate track program and worked really hard in the off season to get where we need to be. Atlanta will be a great test for us to see where we can still work to improve.”


Smithfield, Winn-Dixie & Almirola with RPM Donate Protein to Food Bank

February 27, 2017


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.- Feb. 23, 2017 -This week, Smithfield Foods’ Helping Hungry Homes® initiative, a program focused on alleviating hunger and raising awareness of food insecurity across the country, joined forces with Winn-Dixie and Aric Almirola with Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM) to donate 60,000 pounds of protein to Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. This donation, totaling more than 240,000 servings of protein, will help the nearly 500,000 people struggle with hunger every day in Central Florida.

“Protein is not always a readily available resource for our food bank or those we serve,” said Greg Higgerson, vice president of development for Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. “This generous donation from Smithfield, Richard Petty and Winn-Dixie makes that resource a guarantee in the coming weeks for families in need throughout our area.”

Smithfield and Winn-Dixie delivered 30,000 pounds of protein to Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida’s Orlando branch on Tuesday. Today, Aric Almirola with RPM joined Smithfield and Winn-Dixie to deliver an additional 30,000 pounds to the food bank’s Daytona Beach location. At both events, each organization’s representatives discussed the impact of food insecurity in Central Florida, where one in six people struggle with hunger.

“We have a long-standing relationship with Smithfield and share a true passion for helping those in need throughout the communities we serve,” said Eddie Garcia, regional vice president for Winn-Dixie. “This donation to Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida is yet another way we deliver on this mission, and we are proud of the positive impact made on our Central Florida neighbors.”

The donation to Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida was part of Helping Hungry Homes® 2017 donation tour where Smithfield will provide large-scale protein donations to nearly 50 food banks across the country. At today’s event, Aric Almirola, a Florida-native who has partnered with Smithfield in recent years to donate thousands of pounds of protein, helped present the donation.

“We are honored to participate in Smithfield and Winn-Dixie’s donation leading into the race weekend here in Daytona Beach,” said Aric Almirola. “I’m humbled to partner with Smithfield and Winn-Dixie yet again to give back to this community-a state that I have called home most of my life and community that has become part of my family during my racing career.”

To date, Helping Hungry Homes® has provided more than 49 million servings of protein to food banks across America.

“As a global food company, we value our role to provide high-quality protein to our communities in need,” said Dennis Pittman, senior director of hunger relief for Smithfield Foods. “We are proud to stand with Winn-Dixie and provide Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida with a donation that will provide nutritional support to families across the 16 counties the food bank serves.”
Following this week’s events, Helping Hungry Homes® will make its way to Las Vegas, Nevada on March 9. The donation tour will then host donation events in Austin on March 21 and Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas on March 23. For more information about Helping Hungry Homes® and a list of upcoming donation events, visit

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