Almirola’s win was the first win for the No. 43 car since 1999. The victory ensured Richard Petty Motorsports its first Chase berth since 2009.
Although Almirola never held a Chase-eligible position on points alone during the regular season, the driver’s win in July enabled him to clinch his first career Chase berth.
Almirola told the media Saturday night in Richmond he and his team don’t feel as if they are under pressure going into the Chase.
“We’re major underdogs, so we’re going to let all hang out for these next ten weeks and see what happens,” said Almirola, who has scored two consecutive top-ten finishes heading into Chicagoland.
Even though Almirola said he is an underdog, that doesn’t mean the driver and his team are content to just be among the 16-driver playoff system.
Photo by NASCAR Via Getty Images
Aric Almirola turns laps at Daytona International Speedway.
“We don’t want to be just happy to be in the Chase,” Almirola said. “We want to go and execute the next ten weeks.
“We’re going to have to be flawless for the next ten weeks to have a shot, but we’re up for the challenge.”