Aric Almirola, driver of the No. 10 Smithfield Hometown Original Heroes Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), heads to Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth with gratitude for both his recent success on the track but, more importantly, the hometown frontline heroes who have worked tirelessly to help others.
Each day, we are introduced to new sets of heroes who are helping the nation get through the COVID-19 pandemic. With operations throughout the United States, Smithfield is proud to share hometowns with many of these heroes and to keep them fed with various Smithfield products, including an Almirola household favorite, “Hometown Original” bacon.
Along with SHR and Almirola, 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 them an opportunity to be rewarded for their service.
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.
With a positive outlook on his championship contention this year, Almirola is motivated to bring his team and the hometown heroes more solid finishes, starting Sunday at Texas, where last November he led 62 laps and finished runner-up to teammate Kevin Harvick.
“Texas is a track I had circled on the list this year,” Almirola said. “It’s a track that I have really become comfortable with over the years. Last year, we had an incredible run and came up just short of a win. We’ve been good at tracks this year that haven’t been my best in the past. Now we’re headed to some venues that, statistically, I’m better at. With the momentum and points cushion we have right now, all we have to do is run a clean race and hope to be there in the end.”
Almirola is riding a string of six consecutive top-10 finishes – fifth at Homestead-Miami Speedway, third at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, third and fifth, respectively, in the series’ first modern-era doubleheader weekend at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway, third at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and eighth last Sunday at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta.
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 17 races. In his first two seasons at SHR in 2018 and 2019, Almirola was 11th in the standings after 17 races. Almirola’s next-best streak of races 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.
The No. 10 Ford driver has career totals of two wins, two poles, 23 top-five finishes, 70 top-10s and 755 laps led in 333 starts. In addition to his recent string of top-fives, he has nine top-10s and has led 218 laps.
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.
While Almirola is the highest average finishing driver in the last six races at 4.5, he’ll try to cap it off with a win Sunday to secure his position in the playoffs.
Aric Almirola: Driver of the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
What do you think about your new paint scheme?
“It looks fast. I love it. The fact that we’re honoring frontline heroes every weekend is awesome. I’m grateful to be able to run a paint scheme that does good for others.”
What is the most difficult thing to get right or figure out at Texas Motor Speedway?
“I think the most difficult thing at Texas is that it’s repaved and they changed the banking in turns one and two, and it’s just the speed you carry through the banked corner of turns three and four, and then you have to get slowed down for the flat turns one and two. That has made it very challenging. Then, the exit of turn two is very flat, so you’re carrying some speed there and the car just doesn’t have a lot of grip because there isn’t any banking.”