Almirola Sixth at Richmond
Smithfield Ford Driver Brings Home First Top-10 of Season
Date: April 18, 2021
Event: Richmond 400 (Round 9 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Richmond (Va.) Raceway (.75-mile oval)
Format: 400 laps, broken into three stages (80 laps/155 laps/165 laps)
Start/Finish: 22nd / 6th (Running, completed 400 of 400 laps)
Point Standing: 27th (137 points, 297 out of first)
Race Winner: Alex Bowman of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Winner: Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner: Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-80):
● Aric Almirola started 22nd and finished 12th.
● Almirola drove to 19th before the competition caution. He reported loose-handling conditions during the 30-lap run.
● The No. 10 Smithfield Ford team pitted for four tires, fuel and air pressure and chassis adjustments.
● Almirola continued to radio difficult handling conditions, but he impressively drove to 12th place before the stage ended.
● He pitted at the end of the stage for four fresh tires, fuel and chassis adjustments.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 81-235):
● Almirola started 12th and finished 10th, collecting one bonus point.
● Almirola cracked the top-10 on lap 117.
● He pitted for four fresh tires and fuel on lap 137 from 11th place.
● The caution was called shortly after, putting Almirola and the majority of the field a lap down. He opted to wave around during the caution period and restarted 15th behind lapped traffic.
● Almirola pitted under green from 15th on lap 186 and drove back to the top-10 before the stage concluded.
● He pitted at the end of the stage for multiple adjustments.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 236-400):
● Almirola started 10th and finished sixth.
● The Smithfield Ford driver raced his way to sixth place before pitting under green on lap 294 for four fresh tires and fuel.
● He came off pit road in ninth place and drove to seventh by lap 306.
● Almirola pitted under green from seventh place with 58 laps to go. He came off pit road in seventh.
● Almirola advanced to sixth place with 33 laps to go and passed teammate Kevin Harvick with 23 to go.
● On lap 381, the caution was called with Almirola running fifth.
● The Smithfield Ford driver pitted for four tires, fuel and air pressure adjustments. He came off pit road in fifth place.
● Almirola drove to fourth during the restart. He battled the No. 20 car for multiple laps until losing grip and crossing the finish line sixth.
● Almirola earned his first top-10 of the season and his seventh top-10 in 18 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Richmond.
● This was Almirola’s second straight top-10 at Richmond. He finished eighth in the series’ prior visit to the track last September.
● Alex Bowman won the Richmond 400 to score his third career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his first of the season and his first at Richmond. His margin over second-place Denny Hamlin was .381 of a second.
● There were five caution periods for a total of 39 laps.
● Only 14 of the 38 drivers in the Richmond 400 finished on the lead lap.
● Hamlin remains the championship leader after Richmond with an 81-point advantage over second-place Martin Truex Jr.
Aric Almirola, driver of the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“Man, I really battled for fifth there at the end but burnt up my tires on the outside in the process. Finally, a solid day for our Smithfield team. Everyone did their part, and we were mistake-free today. We showed what this team is capable of today. Let’s fire it up and keep it rolling.”
The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the GEICO 500 on Sunday, April 25, at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. The race begins at 2 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FOX and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.