Smithfield Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing
● Event: Coke Zero Sugar 400 (Round 26 of 36)
● Time/Date: 7 p.m. EDT on Saturday, Aug. 28
● Location: Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway
● Layout: 2.5-mile oval
● Laps/Miles: 160 laps/400 miles
● Stage Lengths: Stage 1: 50 laps / Stage 2: 50 laps / Final Stage: 60 laps
● TV/Radio: NBC / MRN / SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Notes of Interest
● Almirola is officially locked into the 2021 NASCAR playoffs. This is the fourth consecutive playoff appearance in Almirola’s four years at Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) and fifth playoff appearance of his 12-year career.
● Not only will Almirola be in pursuit of his first Cup Series championship when the playoffs begin Sept. 5 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway, he hopes to continue Tampa Bay’s recent sports successes by capping off the regular season with another Cup Series win at Daytona, adding to the accomplishments of his hometown teams – back-to-back Stanley Cup championships are held by the National Hockey League’s Tampa Bay Lightning, last year’s World Series appearance by Major League Baseball’s Tampa Bay Rays, and this year’s Super Bowl championship by the National Football League’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
● History at Daytona: Almirola scored his first career Cup Series win in the rain-shortened July 2014 race at Daytona, when he led 14 laps. In the NASCAR Xfinity Series, he started on the pole in his first outing in July 2007, and he captured a win there while piloting the No. 98 Biagi-Den Beste Ford Mustang in July 2016. Almirola also has three Daytona starts in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series with a best finish of 12th. This marks Almirola’s 20th points-paying Cup Series start at the 2.5-mile superspeedway.
● Almirola’s 2020 season proved successful when he earned a career-high 18 top-10 finishes, six top-fives and led 305 laps. During the season, Almirola went on a five-race streak of top-five finishes and earned nine consecutive top-10s.
● Career Stats: Almirola has career totals of three wins, two poles, 26 top-five finishes, 82 top-10s and 893 laps led in 377 NASCAR Cup Series starts.
● Smithfield Foods celebrates 10 years of partnership with Almirola this season with a special campaign called Taste Victory. As one of the most active partners in NASCAR, Smithfield engages fans all year long by hosting a microsite that provides the opportunity to win when Almirola wins or finishes inside the top-10. When Almirola wins, one fan wins $10,000, and 10 fans win a gift card for each top-10 finish.The microsite also doubles as an Aric Almirola fan page and entertainment source where fans can get behind the wheel of the No. 10 Smithfield Ford with a custom racing game, and learn more about Almirola with fast facts, favorite recipes and custom content about his life on and off the track. Visit www.tastevictory.com to learn more. Thanks to Almirola’s Feb. 11 win in his Duel qualifying race for the Daytona 500 and his July 18 win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, two lucky fans have already won $10,000 each.
● On July 18 at New Hampshire, Almirola claimed the victory after leading 46 laps on the flat, 1.058-mile oval to earn his third career NASCAR Cup Series win. After a year full of adversity and bad luck, the victory put the No. 10 team, which was 27th in the standings and facing a must-win situation if it was going to compete for this year’s Cup Series championship, in prime position to earn one of the 16 coveted berths in the 10-race playoffs that begin Labor Day weekend. Almirola’s award-winning YouTube series “Beyond the 10” captured his entire race day here.
● Beyond the 10 YouTube Series: In 2021, Almirola continues to share his life beyond the No. 10 Ford with season three of his award-winning YouTube series. Fans and media can subscribe on YouTube to see Almirola’s personality on and off the track. Episodes have already featured life as a dad, a husband and an athlete, and it gives fans a unique perspective on what goes on in the life of a professional NASCAR driver. Fans can also follow Almirola’s social media channels: @Aric_Almirola on Twitter and Instagram, and @AricAlmirola on Facebook. Almirola’s latest Beyond the 10 episode addresses the question “are NASCAR drivers athletes” in honor of the Olympic break.
● After the season’s first 25 points-paying events, Almirola and the Smithfield Ford team sit 14th in the playoff standings with 436 points, 568 behind leader Kyle Larson.
Aric Almirola, Driver of the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
Daytona is such an iconic track. What does it mean to go back there every year as a race fan and a competitor?
“Going back to Daytona is always emotional and brings me a lot of joy because I remember going there as a kid and dreaming of being a racecar driver. Then, seeing my life come full circle from being a kid that sat in the grandstands hoping, wishing and praying and actually getting to do that. I realize I’m super blessed and to have the success I’ve had there winning in Cup, Xfinity and the Duels. I always show up to Daytona with a lot of joy.”
What does it take to win at Daytona?
“Survival. When you go to Daytona, that’s really it. We will have fast racecars – there is no doubt about that. Surviving the wrecks. There will be accidents. There are a lot of people in do-or-die situations to where they have to win to get in (the playoffs), so there is going to be a lot of desperation on the track and it will create a lot of intensity and drama. Just making sure you’re in the right place at the right time, which you can’t always predict, is the key – being there at the end.”
You’ve made the playoffs four years in a row. Are you proud of this feat and what does it mean to you to never miss the playoffs at Stewart-Haas Racing?
“Of course, that’s what every driver wants, a shot to win a championship. That’s on my radar. I want to be a champion. I want to be at the top of the top and, in order to do that, you have to make the playoffs and we’ve done that now four years in a row. I’m extremely proud of that in itself because making the playoffs is hard enough, but making it every year I’ve been with Stewart-Haas is something I’m really proud of. I just hope we can go and execute. My expectations are that we can go far in the playoffs if we can do that. We have great people. When you first make the playoffs, it’s new and exciting, but now that I’ve made the playoffs so many years, my eyes are set on going as far as we possibly can.”