Almirola ‘having a lot of fun’
By Kyle McFadden
May 5, 2018
DOVER, Del.—Aric Almirola has mentioned many times this season he has the best chance to win in his new ride at Stewart-Haas Racing.
On Saturday morning, Almirola was the fastest in NASCAR Monster Energy Series final practice ahead of the Drive for Autism 400 on Sunday afternoon at Dover International Speedway.
The driver of the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Fusion has just one win in 254 Cup Series starts (2014 Coke Zero 400 at Daytona), and feels confident in his push for career win No. 2 on Sunday.
“I feel really good,” Almirola told The Racing Experts immediately after final practice. “Our car has some speed. We’ll try and make some adjustments. We need a little bit more. Overall, my Smithfield Ford Fusion is fast and we’re ready for the race.”
After a middling six-year stint with Richard Petty Motorsports—a run that produced just 11 top fives and 35 top 10s in 214 races and a point standings finish no higher than 16th—Almirola has four top 10s through 10 races this year and sits 11th in points heading into Sunday.
The 34-year-old was also in position to win the Daytona 500 in February, but eventual winner Austin Dillon put Almirola in the wall on the last lap to vanquish those chances.
When asked about his experience at SHR, Almirola said, “It’s unbelievable. They bring fast race cars to the race track every single week. I’m just having a lot of fun. You show up to the racetrack every weekend with a good car.”
Almirola has two top fives and three top 10s in 11 starts at the Monster Mile, which is his third-best track on the circuit in terms of average finish (17.0). He’ll start 13th Sunday, looking to end his 129-race winless streak.
“It’d be huge,” Almirola said. “It’d be a great weekend. We’re still early in the season. This relationship [with SHR] is still very new, and we’re learning each other—the team, myself, the crew chief. It’d be a great way to continue to build into the rest of the season.”
Dominic Aragon/TRE Franklin Romero/TRE