Cut Tire Ends Almirola’s Day Early at Las Vegas
Smithfield Ford Driver Faces Handling Issues, Race-Ending Flat Tire
Date: March 7, 2021
Event: Las Vegas 400 (Round 4 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Las Vegas Motor Speedway (1.5-mile oval)
Format: 267 laps, broken into three stages (80 laps/80 laps/107 laps)
Start/Finish: 28th / 38th (Accident, completed 178 of 267 laps)
Point Standing: 28th (41 points, 146 out of first)
Race Winner: Kyle Larson of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Winner: Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Kyle Larson of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-80):
● Aric Almirola started 28th and finished 16th.
● The Smithfield Ford driver pitted on lap 28 for four fresh tires, fuel and air pressure and chassis adjustments. He came off pit road 20th.
● A caution for debris was brought out on lap 48. He pitted for four tires, fuel and more adjustments to correct tight-handling conditions.
● He restarted 17th and drove inside the top-15 before handling issues continued to damper his speed.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 81-160):
● Almirola started 19th and finished 25th.
● The No. 10 team pitted on lap 129 for four tires, fuel and more adjustments.
● Almirola went one lap down toward the end of the stage.
● He pitted at the conclusion of the stage for four fresh tires, fuel and adjustments.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 161-267):
● Almirola started 28th and finished 38th.
● The caution was called on lap 170 with Almirola one position away from the free pass spot to rejoin the lead lap.
● On lap 179, Almirola endured a flat tire and tried to nurse the Smithfield Ford to pit road. Unfortunately, the tire completely let go while driving into the turn and sent Almirola’s racecar into the wall, causing irreparable damage.
● Kyle Larson won the Las Vegas 400 to score his seventh career NASCAR Cup Series victory and his first at Las Vegas. His margin over second-place Brad Keselowski was 3.156 seconds.
● There were six caution periods for a total of 30 laps.
● Only 14 of the 38 drivers in the race finished on the lead lap.
● Denny Hamlin remains the championship leader after Las Vegas with a 38-point advantage over second-place Keselowski.
The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Instacart 500k on Sunday, March 14, at Phoenix Raceway. The race begins at 3:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FOX and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.