● After 14 races this season, Almirola is the only driver in the NASCAR Cup Series without a DNF (Did Not Finish). He has completed 3,990 of the 3,995 laps run this year – a 99.9 percent completion rate.
● This weekend marks the inaugural NASCAR Cup Series race at Gateway International Raceway in Madison, Illinois, across the Mississippi River from downtown St. Louis. While Cup series racing at Gateway will be new to Almirola, his three NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts there give him plenty of confidence heading to the 1.25-mile oval. In the 2006 Truck Series race, Almirola started 22nd and finished 10th, in 2009 he started 15th and earned a solid fourth-place finish, and in 2010 he started 16th before leading 16 laps and finishing eighth.
● Almirola is no stranger to performing well at inaugural Cup Series events. Last year, the Cup Series for the first time visited Nashville Superspeedway, a 1.33-mile oval similar in size to Gateway. After a string of bad luck leading into that weekend, Almirola and the No. 10 Ford team earned the pole, led a lap and finished fourth.
● #FordfortheBuilders: Calling all builders! This weekend, Ford will adorn the No. 10 Mustang at Gateway with a special campaign and paint scheme that celebrates builders as part of its “Built Ford Proud” program. Ford wants to celebrate not only those who build Ford vehicles, but also those who put in the hard work and take pride in building something special. With 182,000 employees globally, Ford believes that hard work is what builds the future. Their names may not be known, but these builders wake up every day working together to move everyone forward. This weekend at Gateway, their names will be made known. Included on Almirola’s car design will be the names of the builders of the No. 10 Ford Mustang and the names of builders at the Ford assembly and stamping plants located in Chicago. Above the driver-side window, Stewart-Haas Racing will highlight a special “Builder of the Week” named Keith Brady. Brady, who has worked in the industry for more than 30 years, is the lead car shop technician for the No. 10 team and has played a key role in the transition and assembly of the NextGen racecar. Opposite Brady’s name above the passenger-side window will be another Ford “Builder of the Week,” Phil Pryor. Pryor is a predelivery team member at Ford’s Chicago assembly plant and has been a proud Ford builder for 57 years.
● Points: Almirola arrives at Gateway 14th in the driver standings with 342 points, 147 out of first.
● Almirola’s career: In 402 NASCAR Cup Series starts, Almirola has earned three wins, 27 top-five finishes, 88 top-10s, three poles, and has led 899 laps.
● One More Time: On Jan. 10, Almirola released a video on his YouTube channel announcing his retirement from fulltime NASCAR Cup Series racing after the 2022 season to spend more time with his family. His opening remarks were attributed to his grandfather’s mentorship. This year marks Almirola’s 11th fulltime Cup Series season. The official press release can be viewed here.
● Beyond the 10 YouTube Series: In 2022, Almirola is once again sharing his life beyond the No. 10 Smithfield Ford with season three of his award-winning YouTube series. Fans and media can subscribe on YouTube to see Almirola’s personality on and off the track. Episodes have already featured life as a dad, a husband and an athlete, and it gives fans a unique perspective on what goes on in the life of a professional NASCAR driver. Fans can also follow Almirola’s social media channels: @Aric_Almirola on Twitter and Instagram, and @AricAlmirola on Facebook.
● Almirola was the only NASCAR Cup Series driver to finish in the top-10 in this year’s opening three races. He finished fifth in the season-opening Daytona 500 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, sixth at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, and sixth at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Almirola’s top-10 streak ended with a 12th-place finish at Phoenix Raceway despite running inside the top-10 throughout the race.
What are your thoughts heading to the inaugural Cup Series race at St. Louis?
“It’s been a long time since I’ve been there in a truck. Since then the track has been repaved and has had a lot of upgrades, so it’s going to be new to me, but also new to everyone. Getting 50 minutes of practice will be helpful. I’m looking forward to it. We went to Nashville in the Cup cars last year for the first time and we qualified on the pole and ran in the top-five all day. I hope to do something very similar for our first time at Gateway. We’ve had to adapt to new scenarios all year and I know this 10 team can do it.”
Why is it so important to celebrate Ford builders?
“Ford is known for its hard-working builders and so is our race team. Any time we get to celebrate the men and women behind the scenes who build our future and make our racecars faster is great. I’ve never been a fan of promoting myself, so being able to shine a light on the people at Ford and Stewart-Haas Racing who make us better each and every day means a lot. We wouldn’t be where we are today if not for their hard work and passion for growth.”