Aric Almirola, driver of the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), is looking forward to Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. It’s a track he’s had circled on the 36-race schedule all year due to his recent success at the 1.5-mile track.
Almirola has earned three consecutive top-10 finishes at Texas and has led laps in each of those appearances. The 36-year-old has only finished outside of the top-10 once at Texas since joining SHR. Last November, Almirola led 62 laps and battled teammate Kevin Harvick for the win before earning a runner-up finish. It was his best finish at Texas and brought his average finish in the last three races there to 6.3.
“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 and we weren’t in the playoffs at that point. We’re in the same position this year and we’ve had a much better year. I’m really excited to see if we can keep it up front this weekend.”
In addition to his Cup Series experience at Texas, Almirola has four NASCAR Xfinity Series starts, all top-20 finishes with five laps led. He’s also made nine NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series starts at Texas with two top-10s and 14 laps led.
Almirola sits 13th in the playoff standings with 2,167 points. He is currently the second-highest-ranked SHR driver.
The No. 10 Ford driver’s six top-five finishes this year surpass his previous best of four in a season in 2018. In addition, his 297 laps led is a career high for a season, and his 17 top-10 finishes has tied his season best.
“It’s been a great year for us,” he said. “We wish circumstances could have been different at Talladega, where we had a shot to win or earn some good stage points and get us into the next round, but overall for the first year with a new crew chief and team, we have exceeded expectations. We’ve got three more races to earn a win at and cap off the season the right way.”
Smithfield Foods, Inc., which sponsors Almirola’s No. 10 Mustang for a majority of the races this season and will again this weekend, is an American food company with agricultural roots and a global reach. Its 40,000 U.S. employees are dedicated to producing “Good food. Responsibly®” and have made it one of the world’s leading vertically integrated protein companies. It has pioneered sustainability standards for more than two decades, including many industry firsts, such as an ambitious commitment to cut carbon impact by 25 percent by 2025. The company believes in the power of protein to end food insecurity and has donated hundreds of millions of food servings to neighbors in need. For more information, visit www.smithfieldfoods.com, and connect on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.
Almirola is back with season two of his documentary series Beyond the 10, where fans 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 can finish as high as fifth place in the final standings, which he did in 2018. He’ll race for his fourth consecutive Texas top-10 this weekend.
ARIC ALMIROLA, Driver of the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
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.”
If you’re in the same position this year racing your teammate Kevin Harvick for the win, who is in the playoffs and racing for a spot in the Championship 4, would you race him any differently?
“Kevin and I raced each other clean last year and I would do the same this year. He’s my teammate racing for a championship. If I have the faster car, I’m going to do everything I can to win for my team, Smithfield and SHR, but he had the faster car on the long run and eventually passed me last time to win his way into the championship race. You want to do whatever it takes to win for your team as long as you don’t jeopardize a championship opportunity for your organization.”