Looking for a Win at Kansas
KANNAPOLIS, North Carolina (Oct. 12, 2020) – Aric Almirola, driver of the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), was eliminated from the NASCAR playoffs in the Round of 12 finale Sunday on the Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway “roval,” but it wasn’t for lack of effort.
“I was so hopeful to get through the Round of 12,” he said. “I felt like Talladega was going to be our best chance and we had a good run going there and had an unfortunate end to that after we led laps and had a car capable of winning. Going to the roval, I knew it was going to be a challenge, but I was really looking forward to the next round. I gave it my all.”
It was Almirola’s fourth playoff appearance and second in the Round of 12. He raced his way into the Round of 8 in 2018 and last year didn’t get past the Round of 16. Despite being knocked out of this year’s playoffs, Almirola and the No. 10 Smithfield Ford team are still as motivated as ever for the remaining races on the Cup Series schedule.
“Kansas, Texas and even Martinsville have been really good racetracks for us, so I’m disappointed to not be in the playoffs still, but they’re good racetracks for us,” he said. “We’ll race there again next year, so we’re going into the final four races with the expectations to have a shot at a win.”
Almirola’s track record at Kansas is reason for optimism for a solid finish this weekend. He has seven top-10s in 17 starts there, and he’s earned a top-10 at four of the last five races on 1.5-mile tracks this year. In addition to his sixth-place finish at Kansas during his last visit July 23, he finished 10th at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, eighth at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, and fifth at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
The No. 10 Ford driver’s six top-five finishes this year surpass his previous best of four in a season in 2018. In addition, his 297 laps led is a career high for a season, and his 17 top-10 finishes has tied his season best.
Smithfield Foods, Inc., which sponsors Almirola’s No. 10 Mustang for a majority of the races this season and will again this weekend, is an American food company with agricultural roots and a global reach. Its 40,000 U.S. employees are dedicated to producing “Good food. Responsibly®” and have made it one of the world’s leading vertically integrated protein companies. It has pioneered sustainability standards for more than two decades, including many industry firsts, such as an ambitious commitment to cut carbon impact by 25 percent by 2025. The company believes in the power of protein to end food insecurity and has donated hundreds of millions of food servings to neighbors in need. For more information, visit www.smithfieldfoods.com, and connect on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.
Almirola is back with season two of his documentary series Beyond the 10, where fans can get VIP, behind-the-scenes access by subscribing to his YouTube channel. Episodes showcase never-before-seen footage of Almirola at the racetrack, on family trips, and “A Day in the Life” during the week, as well as all that goes into a NASCAR Cup Series driver’s season. Click here to subscribe on YouTube and watch the latest episode.
Almirola can finish as high as fifth place in the final standings, which he did in 2018. He’s currently 14th with 2,143 points.
Aric Almirola: Driver of the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
What do you like about Kansas?
“I love going to Kansas. I’ve got friends who live there and it’s just a really nice area all around the racetrack. There are lots of things to do. As the new pavement has aged and worn out, we’ve really been moving all around the racetrack and it’s really put on some great races.”
You have had a great season and have run up front for the majority of the year. What is the key takeaway for the remainder of the year?
“Yeah, we have. We’ve been in the top eight or nine in points and I think at one time we were sixth or seventh in points, so we’ve got a few races left and I think our goal should be to go and try and win. I think that’s the one positive, that even though we’re eliminated out of the playoffs, we still get to race. We don’t go home and watch on TV. We still get to race and participate, so now we’ve just got to go and make the most of these last four races and we’ve actually got really good tracks coming up for us. I was so hopeful to get through the Round of 12.”