Almirola Finishes 26th at Kansas
Farmland/Hy-Vee Ford Driver Plagued by Handling Issues
Date: Oct. 24, 2021
Event: Hollywood Casino 400 (Round 34 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Kansas Speedway in Kansas City (1.5-mile oval)
Format: 267 laps, broken into three stages (80 laps/80 laps/107 laps)
Start/Finish: 20th / 26th (Running, completed 263 of 267 laps)
Point Standing: 15th with 2,147 points
Race Winner: Kyle Larson of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Winner: Kyle Larson of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 2 Winner: William Byron of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-80):
● Aric Almirola started 20th and finished 23rd.
● Almirola drove into the 11th position just seven laps into the 267-lap race, but after the car tightened up he slipped back to 14th on lap 11 just as rain began to fall.
● Under caution after a 16-minute red flag, Almirola reported something was amiss with the Farmland/Hy-Vee Ford Mustang. He visited pit road for the team to look over the car and also received fresh Goodyear tires.
● The race returned to green on lap 16 with Almirola in the 25th position.
● While riding 26th, the driver of the No. 10 Farmland/Hy-Vee Mustang radioed that he was really tight on lap 60, just before going down a lap to the leaders.
● Almirola finished the first stage in the 23rd position before pitting at the break for tires, fuel and multiple adjustments for his Ford Mustang.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 81-160):
● Almirola started 19th and finished 20th.
● The No. 10 Farmland/Hy-Vee Ford driver began the second stage in 19th, one lap down, and was able to maintain his position in the top-20 until a scheduled green-flag pit stop on lap 122.
● After the pit stop, Almirola was scored 26th, two laps down. He drove his way back into the top-20 on lap 149.
● Almirola completed the second stage in 20th and pitted at the break for tires and a wedge adjustment to help with a tight-on-exit handling condition.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 161-267):
● Almirola started 25th and finished 26th.
● The No. 10 Farmland/Hy-Vee Ford driver started the final stage 25th on lap 168. A caution on lap 173 allowed Almirola to pit for tires and adjustments while the leaders stayed out. He lined up 25th for the restart on lap 179.
● On lap 183, Almirola reported that he might have a loose wheel. He made a pit stop under green on lap 186 for four fresh tires, but a crew member over the wall too soon brought the Farmland/Hy-Vee driver back to pit road for a pass-through penalty.
● After serving his penalty, Almirola was scored four laps down. A caution on lap 217 allowed the No. 10 team to stay on track as the leaders pitted to gain a lap back.
● A caution on the lap 223-restart brought Almirola to pit road for tires and a chassis adjustment. He returned to the track in 27th on lap 229.
● The No. 10 Farmland/Hy-Vee Ford driver gained two positions in the final laps to finish 26th.
● Kyle Larson won the Hollywood Casino 400 to score his 15th career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his series-leading ninth of the season and his first at Kansas. His margin over second-place Chase Elliott was 3.619 seconds.
● There were seven caution periods for a total of 33 laps.
● Only 15 of the 40 drivers in the Hollywood Casino 400 finished on the lead lap.
Aric Almirola, driver of the No. 10 Farmland/Hy-Vee Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“It was a pretty tough day. We had good speed early on, but our Farmland/Hy-Vee Mustang was just too tight, and I couldn’t get it to turn without it getting really tight on exit. The guys did all they could, it’s just tough to come back from being a few laps down. We’ll regroup and head on to Martinsville.”
The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Xfinity 500 on Sunday, Oct. 31, at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. It is the penultimate race of the 10-race playoffs and the final race in the Round of 8. It starts at 2 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBC and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.