Aric Almirola and the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Fusion team for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) head to Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth for the 34th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race this season. The event also marks the second race in the Round of 8 in the 2018 Cup Series playoffs. Almirola is coming off of an 11th-place finish Sunday at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.
|The entire four-car SHR contingent remains in the hunt for the winner-take-all Championship 4 season finale Nov. 18 at Homestead-Miami Speedway with only this weekend’s event at Texas and next weekend’s race at ISM Raceway near Phoenix left to try and qualify.The two-time championship-winning SHR organization, which makes up 50 percent of the remaining playoff field, is the first since Joe Gibbs Racing in 2016 to have all of its entries reach victory lane. Almirola currently ranks eighth in the playoff standings with 4,033 points, 25 behind the final cutoff spot for the Championship 4. A win this weekend or next would automatically lock him into the Championship 4.
The 34-year-old Almirola’s trip to Texas earlier this season resulted in an accident just past the halfway point in the race. Before this year’s spring race, Almirola had completed all of his previous starts at Texas. Almirola has one Cup Series top-10 there with an average starting position of 19.9 and an average finishing position of 20.6 in 15 starts.
Almirola and his No. 10 Ford Fusion team are hoping a special paint scheme featuring Smithfield’s Spiral Sliced Ham product will bring good luck this weekend. With the holiday season just around the corner, Smithfield is promoting its perfectly cooked, spiral sliced ham as an ideal addition to most every kind of holiday feast to make family and friends feel special, and by making holiday cooking a breeze, as well as providing equally flavorful leftover dishes. Fans can visit Smithfield.com/HolidayHub, for information on how to make every holiday soiree a breeze, as well as foolproof tips and simple recipes that are sure to wow holiday guests with flavor-filled dishes for all the celebrations the season brings.
|Aric Almirola: Driver of the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:|
What is the most difficult thing to get right or figure out at Texas Motor Speedway?
SHR has four teams in this Round of 8. What is an advantage, and what is a disadvantage with that scenario?
“I think the advantage of having all four cars in the Round of 8 is that everybody is still fully vested. There isn’t a team that’s checked out and just like, ‘Alright, let’s just get through the end of the year and get to the offseason.’ Everybody’s adrenaline it high and they’re still putting long hours in at the shop and shooting for excellence every week. I feel like that elevates everybody else around you and, when you have that in the four walls around you at Stewart-Haas Racing, it keeps the attention to detail very, very high on all fronts. I don’t think there is a disadvantage. I think it’s purely upside to having all four cars still in the playoffs, especially for the organization. As an organization, when you set out to build your team with the staff, the drivers and all of those things, you do it with every intention of having the four best. Currently, we have four of the eight cars in and now we have to figure out how to get as many as possible in the Championship 4 at Homestead.”