Aric Almirola, driver of the No. 10 Smithfield Hometown Original Heroes Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), looks to continue leading laps and running up front Thursday night at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City.
Last Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Almirola led 35 laps before he was handed a penalty for a blend-line violation. He raced his way back to third by the final stage before an ill-timed caution put him and the rest of the leaders a lap down. Almirola raced back to another top-10 finish, however, and gained confidence knowing the team continues to bring cars capable of winning.
The 36-year-old native of Tampa, Florida, is the highest average-finishing driver in the last seven races at 5.3, with no visit to victory lane.
“We’re continuing to put our Smithfield Ford Mustang up front and that’s all we can really ask for right now,” Almirola said. “Our sport relies a lot on circumstances. I have to do my part and the team has to do theirs, but at the end of the day, if a caution is thrown at the wrong time, your shot to win could be done right there regardless of what strategy you have. We expect to keep running up front with fast cars every weekend. One of these races are going to go our way and we’re going to see victory lane this year.”
Almirola is riding a string of seven consecutive top-10 finishes, the best of his career. He finished fifth June 14 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, third June 22 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, third June 27 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway, fifth June 28 at Pocono, third July 5 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, eighth July 12 at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta and 10th last Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. His previous best streak was a run of six consecutive top-10s in 2019 that began with the second race at Atlanta Motor Speedway and lasted through the series’ seventh race at Texas.
This is Almirola’s best season to date and the first time in his career he has earned consecutive top-five finishes. His five top-fives are the most he’s had in any single season during his nine-year full-time Cup Series career.
The No. 10 Ford driver sits eighth in the playoff standings for his career-best points position after 18 races. In his first two seasons at SHR in 2018 and 2019, Almirola was 10th in the standings after 18 races.
Almirola has career totals of two wins, two poles, 23 top-five finishes, 71 top-10s and 790 laps led in 334 starts. Almirola has led 218 laps this year at six different venues.
Almirola continues to provide fans with content from his documentary series Beyond the 10, where they can get VIP, behind-the-scenes access by subscribing to his YouTube channel. 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 and his longtime partner Smithfield Foods debuted a new paint scheme last weekend that honors frontline hometown heroes and will again run that scheme Thursday night at Kansas. Smithfield looks to honor those who are putting their own health and safety at risk in a selfless act to protect and nourish others around them. The Smithfield “Hometown Original Heroes” program provides the opportunity for fans to share the stories of their own “Hometown Hero.” Be it a nurse, doctor, food worker, public servant or anyone who is on the frontlines each and every day, Smithfield and Almirola want to hear their stories and give.
To nominate a hometown hero, visit www.SmithfieldHometownHeroes.com and submit a one-minute video nominating the “Hometown Hero”. Ten heroes will be chosen to have their stories told and will have their names riding onboard the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang at a race during the NASCAR playoffs this fall. The heroes will also receive a VIP race day experience and full-year supply of Smithfield “Hometown Original” bacon.
“I’m really looking forward to Kansas on Thursday knowing we had such a great car at Texas this weekend and continuing the momentum at 1.5-mile tracks,” Almirola said. “This team really deserves a win and we’re in a position to do whatever it takes to make that happen.”
ARIC ALMIROLA, Driver of the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
What do you like about Kansas?
“I love going to Kansas. I’ve got friends who live there and it’s just a really nice area all around the racetrack. There are lots of things to do. As the new pavement has aged and worn out, we’ve really been moving all around the racetrack and it’s really put on some great races.”