Aric Almirola, driver of the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang, returns to New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon for Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 looking to better last year’s performance at the 1.058-mile oval in which he led a career-best 42 laps.
Last year’s race at Loudon was a thriller for Almirola. The Smithfield driver battled adversity from the beginning of the race when an issue with the right-front tire demoted him to 28th place in Stage 1 before he was able to battle his teammate Kevin Harvick for the lead in Stage 3. A caution period on lap 257 sent him to the pits for four tires and fuel. He restarted third and that’s where he finished the race.
“I was extremely disappointed,” Almirola said. “Even though we earned a top-five and our best finish of the year, we had the fastest car, hands down. I’m excited to go back to Loudon because the Smithfield No. 10 team and I have some unfinished business to take care of.”
The Smithfield Ford driver has two top-five finishes and three top-10s in 16 Cup Series starts at Loudon. In 19 Cup Series starts this year, Almirola has one pole, one top-five finish, 10 top-10s and has led 100 laps. In 299 career starts, Almirola has two wins, two poles, 16 top-five finishes, 59 top-10s and 457 laps led.
Almirola has qualified on the front row six times this season – one pole and five outside-front-row starts.
He has one NASCAR Xfinity Series start at Loudon, which he started and finished in the top-five. The Ford driver has also made five NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts as the “Magic Mile” with two top-10 finishes.
Almirola is ranked 10th among Cup Series drivers in his last 10 starts at tracks less than 1.5 miles in length, with four top-10 finishes, three top-fives and 91 laps led.
This weekend’s event at Loudon marks the 18th points-paying event during which the Smithfield livery has adorned Almirola’s No. 10 Ford Mustang this year. Smithfield, a brand of Smithfield Foods, which is based approximately five hours northeast of SHR headquarters in Smithfield, Virginia, is in its eighth season with Almirola and its second with SHR. Founded in 1936, Smithfield is a leading provider of high-quality pork products, with a vast product portfolio including smoked meats, hams, bacon, sausage, ribs, and a wide variety of fresh pork cuts.
Also, fans can now get VIP, behind-the-scenes access in following “Aric ‘Beyond the 10’” by subscribing to his YouTube channel and following episodes on Facebook and Instagram TV. Episodes showcase never-before-seen footage of Almirola at the racetrack, on family trips, and “A Day in the Life” during the week, as well as all that goes into a NASCAR Cup Series driver’s season. Click here to subscribe on YouTube and watch the latest episode.
Almirola sits 10th in the championship standings heading to Loudon, 204 points out of first and six positions ahead of the cutoff for the playoffs.
While he looks for redemption this weekend, his drive to put the Smithfield Ford Mustang in victory lane will occur during his milestone 300th Cup Series start.
ARIC ALMIROLA, Driver of the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
What do you like about going to New Hampshire Motor Speedway?
“It kind of takes you back to Saturday-night, short-track racing. It’s a mile track but it races like a short track. You go there and see the Modified division there and it makes you feel like when you were a kid and racing Late Models. It’s a fun track to race at and I’ve had some success there and I’ve run well there in the past.”