Almirola Finishes 11th at New Hampshire
Smithfield Ford Driver Earns First Stage Win of Season; Gains Spot in Points Standing
Date: July 21, 2019
Event: Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 (Round 20 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon (1.058-mile oval)
Format: 301 laps, broken into three stages (75 laps/75 laps/151 laps)
Start/Finish: 9th/11th(Running, completed 301 of 301 laps)
Point standing: 9th with 586 points, 197 out of first
Race Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner: Aric Almirola of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-75):
● Aric Almirola started ninth and finished third, earning eight bonus points.
● The No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang gained two positions by lap 10.
● On lap 29, Almirola noted loose-handling conditions, but crew chief Johnny Klausmeier said he was turning the fastest laps on the track.
● Almirola drove to sixth before the caution on lap 46 was called. He pitted for four tires, fuel and air pressure and chassis adjustments to tighten the No. 10 Ford.
● During the restart Almirola battled to second place before continuing to report loose conditions and finishing the stage in third.
● At the conclusion of the stage, he pitted for four fresh tires, fuel, and air pressure and chassis adjustments.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 76-150):
● Almirola started sixth and finished first, earning 10 bonus points and one playoff point.
● The No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang advanced to fourth place during the restart.
● On lap 101, Almirola held his car inside the top-five but continued to note loose-handling conditions.
● During the caution on lap 110, he pitted for only two tires and fuel. Almirola restarted sixth and drove to fourth past teammate Clint Bowyer. On lap 120 he made the pass for third.
● Almirola was instructed to stay out of the pits during a lap-137 caution, enabling him to assume the lead.
● When the green flag waved Almirola held the lead, but the caution was called again for a spin. When racing resumed, he held onto the top spot to earn his first stage win of the season.
● When Almirola came to pit road at the conclusion of the stage, the No. 21 car slid through the No. 10’s pit box and tangled the air hose, slowing the pit stop.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 151-301):
● Started 20th and finished 11th.
● Almirola weaved the Smithfield Ford through traffic to enter the top-15 by lap 188.
● The caution was called on lap 214 with Almirola in 14th. He pitted for four tires, fuel, and air pressure and chassis adjustments, and came off pit road in 13th.
● After another caution just a few laps later, Almirola restarted 12th. He raced to ninth place by lap 231.
● During the final caution period on lap 266, Almirola pitted from eighth place for two tires, fuel and right-rear air pressure. Contact on pit road with the No. 18 car slightly damaged the nose of the No. 10 Ford.
● When Almirola restarted from ninth place he was caught in traffic, ultimately pushing him a spot outside the top-10 by the time the checkered flag waved.
● Almirola earned his 12th top-12 of the season and his fourth top-12 in 17 career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at New Hampshire.
● This was Almirola’s third straight top-15. He finished 14th in the series’ last race at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta.
● The Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 marked Almirola’s 300th career start in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
● This was Almirola’s second straight top-12 at New Hampshire. He finished third in the series’ previous visit to the track last July.
● Almirola led once for 12 laps to increase his laps-led total at New Hampshire to 54.
● Harvick won the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 to score his 46th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his first of the season and his fourth at New Hampshire. His margin of victory over second-place Hamlin was .210 of a second.
● Harvick is now tied with NASCAR Hall of Famer Buck Baker for 16th on the all-time NASCAR Cup Series win list.
● This was Harvick’s 23rd Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory and his milestone 100th top-10 since joining SHR in 2014.
● There were nine caution periods for a total of 48 laps.
● Only 18 of the 37 drivers in the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 finished on the lead lap.
● Joey Logano remains the championship leader after New Hampshire with a three-point advantage over second-place Kyle Busch.
Aric Almirola, Driver of the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“We scored a lot of points, but we just got behind. It’s kind of a double-edged sword when the caution comes out late like that in the stage. You’ve got to make a decision on scoring points or trying to win the race, and we chose to score stage points and that paid off. We won the stage, but in the end we got behind and couldn’t recover from track position.”
The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Gander RV 400 on Sunday, July 28 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. The race starts at 3 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBCSN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.