No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing
● Event: Richmond 400 (Round 7 of 36)
● Time/Date: 3:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, April 2
● Location: Richmond (Va.) Raceway
● Layout: .75-mile oval
● Laps/Miles: 400 laps/300 miles
● Stage Lengths: Stage 1: 70 laps / Stage 2: 160 laps / Final Stage: 170 laps
● TV/Radio: FS1 / MRN / SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Notes of Interest
● History at Richmond: In 21 starts, Aric Almirola has earned eight top-10 finishes and two top-fives on the .75-mile Richmond (Va.) Raceway oval. In his last six qualifying attempts there, he has started outside the top-10 just twice with a best start of sixth in the September 2018 race. Almirola’s best finish of fifth came in September 2018, his first year driving for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR). He finished eighth in his most recent Richmond start last August.
● The 39-year-old veteran also has five starts in the NASCAR Xfinity Series with a best finish of seventh.
● Almirola is ranked 14th in the last 10 NASCAR Cup Series races at tracks less than a mile in length with four top-10 finishes, one pole, and 36 laps led.
● Almirola’s 33 laps led this year marks his second-highest number of laps led through the first six races of a NASCAR Cup Series season. He led 69 laps through the first six races in 2019.
● Overcoming adversity is a hallmark of Almirola’s career. While the start to the 2023 season has not been what the No. 10 Smithfield Ford team feels it is capable of, due largely to bad luck and mechanical issues, Almirola has always seemed to find his way back on top. In 2021, the No. 10 team was in a similar points position (26th) through the first six races as it is this year (28th), but Almirola still made the playoffs for his fourth consecutive season at SHR. He is known to thrive as the underdog.
● In 2014, Almirola’s SHR teammate Kevin Harvick started the season in a fashion similar to Almirola’s start to this season. Harvick finished outside the top-30 on four occasions over the first seven races of the season and was 26th in the standings. From there, he went on to win five races and claimed the 2014 Cup Series championship.
● Last weekend at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, Almirola raced as high as 12th place. But he was involved in a multicar accident on the last lap of the race and finished 30th.
● Almirola had a solid first two outings this season. First, he won his heat race and started on the pole during the non-points Busch Light Clash at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Then, in the points-paying season opener at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, the 38-year-old veteran won his Duel qualifying race and led 16 laps of the Daytona 500 – the most laps he’s led at Daytona in 23 starts.
● Driver Points: Almirola arrives at Richmond 28th in the driver standings, 141 points out of first.
● Almirola’s career: In 430 career NASCAR Cup Series starts, Almirola has three wins, 28 top-five finishes, 91 top-10s, three poles, and has led 1,007 laps.
● Richmond is a home race for Smithfield Foods, whose headquarters are located just 80 miles southeast of the track. Fans will see the iconic white, black, and gold Smithfield Foods scheme adorn Almirola’s Ford Mustang this weekend. 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 to 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:
How would you describe your season so far?
“We’ve had speed. We’ve run up front. We’ve led laps. We just have not gotten the finishes that are indicative of how we have run. In life, that happens. The effort doesn’t always equal the results and that’s where we’re at right now. If we keep bringing fast racecars to the track, eventually our luck will turn. It can’t stay like this forever. The tide doesn’t always go out. It also comes in, so I know it will change.”
What are your thoughts on heading to Richmond this weekend?
“Finally we’re going to a place that I love to go to. These next six weeks are some of my favorite racetracks on the entire circuit. I’ve run really well over the years at Richmond. It’s a really special place for me to run. It’s the first Busch (NASCAR Xfinity Series) race I ran with Joe Gibbs Racing a long time ago. It’s only about 45 minutes away from Smithfield’s headquarters, so it’s a backyard race for them, and so we take a lot of pride in flying the Smithfield colors and running up front at Richmond. Hopefully, we can have a great weekend and start to turn our season around and get everything back on track.”
What kind of challenge does a short track like Richmond present?
“I would say Richmond is one of the most challenging racetracks we go to for managing your tires throughout the run. The first 10, 15 or 20 laps of the run can make you feel like Superman roaring through the field, but you will pay a major penalty for that by lap 40. It makes it fun because, when we show up at Richmond, it really is about managing tire fall-off and making sure your car stays consistent throughout the run as the tires fall off.”