No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing
● Event: Ally 400 (Round 17 of 36)
● Time/Date: 7 p.m. EDT on Sunday, June 25
● Location: Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway
● Layout: 1.333-mile, concrete oval
● Laps/Miles: 300 laps/399.9 miles
● Stage Lengths: Stages 1: 90 laps / Stage 2: 95 laps / Final Stage: 115 laps
● TV/Radio: NBC / PRN / SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Notes of Interest
● 2021 marked the inaugural NASCAR Cup Series race at Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway, which was new for most everyone involved. This weekend, Almirola and the No. 10 team will head back to the 1.333-mile concrete oval with a little extra confidence. Not only did he earn the inaugural Cup Series pole at Nashville in 2021, he piloted his No. 10 Ford to a fourth-place finish. Last year, Almirola qualified 11th and finished 17th.
● Almirola is one of the few drivers in this weekend’s Ally 400 field who has raced at Nashville Superspeedway in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Truck Series. In four Xfinity Series starts at the track, he has three top-10 finishes and one top-five with a best finish of fifth. In four Truck Series starts, Almirola has earned two top-10s and a top-five with a best finish of third.
● While a Cup Series win is the ultimate goal for Almirola, the 39-year-old veteran made his way to victory lane two weekends ago in the Xfinity Series at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway, behind the wheel of the No. 28 RSS Racing Ford Mustang. It was the first road-course victory of his career.
● Driver Points: Almirola arrives at Nashville 26th in the driver standings, 265 points out of first.
● Almirola’s career: In 440 career NASCAR Cup Series starts, Almirola has three wins, 28 top-five finishes, 92 top-10s, four poles, and has led 1,018 laps.
● Smithfield has been a sponsor of Almirola’s for the entirety of his fulltime NASCAR Cup Series career – making it one of the longest-lasting partnerships in NASCAR. Smithfield 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.
● Beyond the 10 YouTube Series:In 2023, Almirola is continuing to share his life beyond the No. 10 Ford with season five 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 the show 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.
Aric Almirola, Driver of the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
You won a pole and ran in the top-five at Nashville two years ago, but didn’t have the same speed last year. Do you look forward to going back there?
“I do think we learned some things last year at Nashville, where we missed the setup and where we felt like we were off, so I do look forward to going back there. I really enjoy that racetrack. It’s a track that I liked a lot when I ran Trucks and Xfinity races there, and then the first time there in a Cup car qualified on the pole and ran top-five, so it’s a place that I really enjoy running at and I hope that we learn from some of the things we felt like we did wrong last year with this new car that will make us better.”
It hasn’t been the easiest path to success for you. Is there something to be said about embracing the challenge and fighting to get what you want?
“Absolutely. Life is not easy. Everybody has good days and bad days. Everybody has good years and bad years. There are seasons to life. There are seasons to a career and, for me, it doesn’t water down the fact that I’m still racing at the highest level of stock car auto racing – something that I dreamed about as a kid. I’m getting to live out my childhood dream driving a NASCAR Cup Series car against 39 of the other best race car drivers in the world that drive stock cars, so I am very appreciative and very grateful of what I get to do. Do I want more wins and championships and all those things? Absolutely. I’m a competitive person, but at the end of the day you sit there and you look at Richard Petty, who is the king of our sport. I’ve gotten the opportunity to spend a lot of time with Richard and he doesn’t ever sit down at Thanksgiving with all 200 of his trophies – ever. He sits down at Thanksgiving with his family and he sits down to share a meal with people he cares about. All the time I’ve ever gotten to spend with him and talk about things outside of racing and talking about life, he’s been a huge impact on me just being able to recognize and realize that you don’t always have to chase the success because it doesn’t really define who you are once you stop driving a racecar. What defines who you are is how you treat other people and how you are with the people you love, so, yeah, I think as a competitive person I want to win everything, but the reality is that’s not the case.”
Your fellow Ford driver Ryan Blaney won the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte and ran up front all day. Does that give you more direction as a Ford team heading into tracks similar in length?
“I think that we have potential in our cars. Blaney at Charlotte showed that. I still think that our cars are really aero sensitive in traffic compared to the other manufacturers. Blaney did a great job of executing for all 600 miles and never really lost his track position, so when you look at that, I think that’s a key component of it. I feel like our cars have the capability and the potential to go fast, but one of the things we’re continuing to work on is just making our cars raceable. It seems like we don’t quite have that figured out as well as the other manufacturers as far as being able to race in traffic. I know that all the cars are bad in traffic, but it seems like we tend to be a little bit worse in traffic than our competition, so that’s one of the things we’re continuing to strive to get better at is making our cars better in dirty air. But we certainly know that we have potential to make our racecars go fast. We’ve got to execute and I feel like, as a manufacturer, if you talk to all the Ford drivers, our window is pretty small. If we hit it, we hit it. If you’re slightly off, you’re really off, where it does seem like the competition has a little bit bigger of a window to be closer to hitting the setup.”