Martinsville Race Advance
No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing
● Event: Xfinity 500 (Round 35 of 36)
● Time/Date: 2 p.m. EDT on Sunday, Oct. 30
● Location: Martinsville (Va.) Speedway
● Layout: .526-mile oval
● Laps/Miles: 500 laps / 263 miles
● Stage Lengths: Stage 1: 130 laps / Stage 2: 130 laps / Final Stage: 240 laps
● TV/Radio: NBC / MRN / SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Notes of Interest
● History at Martinsville: In 27 starts, Almirola has earned seven top-10 finishes, two top-fives and has led 75 laps on the .526-mile, paperclip-shaped Martinsville (Va.) Speedway oval. Almirola qualified second and finished eighth in this year’s first race there April 9.
● 2022 Season: Through 34 races, Almirola has earned two top-five finishes, seven top-10s and has led 81 laps. He also qualified on the pole for the first time this season at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway in September. His average finish of 17.8 and seven top-10s this season have bettered his totals for all 36 points-paying races in 2021.
● Driver Points: Almirola arrives at Martinsville 19th in the driver standings with 720 points.
● Almirola’s career: In 422 NASCAR Cup Series starts, Almirola has earned three wins, 28 top-five finishes, 91 top-10s, four poles, and has led 974 laps.
● Smithfield Foods is an American food company with agricultural roots and a global reach. Its 63,000 team members are dedicated to producing “Good food. Responsibly.®” Smithfield is one of the world’s leading vertically integrated protein companies. The company has pioneered sustainability standards for more than two decades, including its industry-leading commitments to become carbon negative in U.S. company-owned operations and reduce GHG emissions 30 percent across its entire U.S. value chain by 2030. Smithfield believes in the power of protein to end food insecurity and has donated hundreds of millions of food servings to local communities. Smithfield boasts a portfolio of high-quality iconic brands, such as Smithfield®, Eckrich® and Nathan’s Famous®, among many others. For more information, visit www.SmithfieldFoods.com, and connect on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.
● Ever wanted to be behind the wheel of the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang? Well now it’s possible – virtually, that is. Fans can head over to www.Smithfieldraceface.com to explore the augmented reality app where fans can wear Almirola’s helmet and firesuit. Snap a photo and tag @Aric_Almirola on social media for a chance to be featured.
● Back for More: Earlier this year, Almirola announced that he would step down from fulltime racing following the 2022 season.Through the course of the year, Almirola has discovered a new balance between his passion for racing and dedication to his family. His wife Janice, and kids Alex and Abby, join him on most race weekends, oftentimes enjoying once-in-a-lifetime experiences together as they travel the country. His rapport with crew chief Drew Blickensderfer has flourished, and the intense pressure he had put on himself was replaced with the joy of simply being present. Not only did Almirola see a new perspective on the sport, but so did anchor partner Smithfield Foods, who broached the subject of Almirola returning to fulltime racing in 2023. On Aug. 26, Almirola, Stewart-Haas Racing, and Smithfield Foods announced his return with a multi-year agreement and the largest allotment of races since joining the team in 2018.
● Beyond the 10 YouTube Series: In 2022, Almirola is once again sharing his life beyond the No. 10 Smithfield 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 was the only NASCAR Cup Series driver to finish in the top-10 in this year’s opening three races. He finished fifth in the season-opening Daytona 500 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, sixth at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, and sixth at Las Vegas. Almirola’s top-10 streak ended with a 12th-place finish at Phoenix Raceway despite running inside the top-10 throughout the race.
Aric Almirola, Driver of the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
With two races left in the season, what are your expectations and what do you want to accomplish?
“With the last two races being Martinsville and Phoenix, I think we have a really good opportunity to close out the year strong. We had a good car at Martinsville and Phoenix earlier this year and I think we have learned a lot, especially at the shorter tracks. I couldn’t ask for two better tracks to try and finish strong at. We’re still hunting that win, but shooting for the top-five in both races is very realistic.”
How important is it to close out the season on a high note?
“Closing out the season strong is so important because it’s the last thing you do on track for three months, so for the guys back at the shop and, me personally, you want to go into the offseason with your head up knowing you ran well before the next season. It’s a confidence boost for everyone, which is why we’re really working hard to have a clean race and finish top-10 or top-five in both. If we’re capable of that, we’re capable of being in a position to win.”
What is it about short-track racing that drivers love?
“Short-track racing is where we all came from. It’s where our sport began. You get to put the racing back in the driver’s hands and there’s a lot of beating and banging involved. You can’t pass much, so you have to stay mentally and physically focused the entire time. It’s close-quarter racing at its finest.”