Almirola Finishes 12th in Busch Clash
Smithfield Ford Driver Earns His Best Finish on Daytona Road Course
Date: Feb. 9, 2021
Event: Busch Clash (non-points race)
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway (14-turn, 3.61-mile road course)
Format: 35 laps, broken into two segments of 15 laps and 20 laps
Start/Finish: 21st / 12th (Running, completed 35 of 35 laps)
Race Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
● Aric Almirola started 21st and finished 12th.
● Almirola drove the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang to 16th before a caution on lap eight.
● He pitted under caution for four fresh tires and fuel and said his rear turn was better.
● The No. 10 Ford driver restarted 13th and advanced to seventh before the competition caution waved.
● He pitted during the competition caution for four tires, fuel and adjustments.
● After taking time for several adjustments on pit road, Almirola restarted 18th.
● Almirola pitted for four tires and fuel during another caution period on lap 21.
● He drove to 15th before another caution on lap 28.
● Almirola opted not to pit and restarted fifth.
● The No. 10 Smithfield driver was contacted on the restart and held his Ford Mustang inside the top-15 before the checkered flag waved.
● This was Almirola’s sixth career Busch Clash. His best finish was sixth in 2013.
● There were four caution periods for a total of eight laps.
● A random draw determined the starting positions for the race.
● Kyle Busch won the Busch Clash to record his second win in the preseason, exhibition race.
● The 21-car field was comprised of Busch Pole winners from last season, past Busch Clash winners who competed fulltime in 2020, Daytona 500 winners who competed fulltime in 2020, former Daytona 500 Busch Pole winners who competed fulltime in 2020, as well as any NASCAR Cup Series drivers who made the playoffs in 2020, won a race in 2020 or won a stage in 2020.
● This was the first Busch Clash on the 14-turn, 3.61-mile road course.
Aric Almirola, driver of the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“We learned a lot tonight. We tried some things for the road course race in a few weeks and found speed that will hopefully carry over. Our Smithfield pit crew team did a great job tonight. It’s good to be back racing.”
Daytona 500 qualifying takes place at 7 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Feb. 10, with live coverage on FS1. Only the top-two positions will be locked into the 63rd Daytona 500. The rest of the field will earn their respective starting positions in the Bluegreen Vacations Duel – twin 150-mile heat races that set the rest of the Daytona 500 field. The Duel gets underway at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 11, with live coverage on FS1. Daytona Speedweek then culminates with the Daytona 500 at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 14, with live coverage provided by FOX beginning at 2:30 p.m.