● After 21 races this season, Aric Almirola is the only driver in the NASCAR Cup Series without a DNF (Did Not Finish).
● Almirola has 31 road-course starts in the NASCAR Cup Series with two top-10 finishes and a best of eighth at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway, five top-20s at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International with a best finish of 12th, three top-20s on the Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway Roval with a best finish of 14th, and a top-12 finish in the non-points Busch Clash in 2020 on the Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway road course.
● The Verizon 200 at the Brickyard serves as the fourth of six road-course races on the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series schedule. The season’s first road-course race was March 27 at Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas, where Almirola finished 19th. The second road-course race was June 12 at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway, where Almirola finished 14th. In the series’ most recent road-course race July 3 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, Almirola finished 28th after and early race incident caused damage. The two remaining road-course races after Indianapolis are Aug. 21 at Watkins Glen and Oct. 9 on the Charlotte Roval.
● Driver Points: Almirola arrives at Indianapolis 13th in the driver standings with 514 points, 273 out of first.
● Playoff Points: The No. 10 Ford driver sits 18th in the playoff standings, 140 points behind the top-16 cut line.
● Almirola’s career: In 409 NASCAR Cup Series starts, Almirola has earned three wins, 28 top-five finishes, 90 top-10s, three poles, and has led 899 laps.
● The Mobil 1 branding on Almirola’s No. 10 Ford Mustang goes more than skin deep as the world’s leading synthetic motor oil brand gives Almirola an added advantage. Mobil 1 products are used throughout his racecar and they extend beyond just engine oil. Power steering fluid, transmission fluid, gear oil and driveline lubricants from Mobil 1 give Almirola a technical advantage over his counterparts by reducing friction, heat and rolling resistance. Mobil 1 is a sponsor whose technology makes Almirola’s No. 10 Mobil 1 Ford Mustang faster.
● GEARWRENCH®, a premier hand tool brand from Apex Tool Group, will adorn Almirola’s No. 10 Ford Mustang this weekend. GEARWRENCH is the No. 1 worldwide professional-grade mechanics’ hand tool brand, offering products that are designed and manufactured to meet the requirements of pros, mechanics and auto techs who make a living with their tools. GEARWRENCH understands the problems mechanics face every day and provides tools that increase productivity through speed, strength and access. Since the launch of the original five-degree ratcheting wrench, the GEARWRENCH brand has led the industry with breakthroughs in pass-thru ratchets, sockets, screw/nut drivers, pliers, extraction tools and specialty tools. Learn more at GEARWRENCH.com.
● 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.
You’re two positions behind the playoff cut line right now and 140 points out. What is the game plan for the next five races?
“Win. Fortunately, we’re 13th in the point standings so a win would put us in a good spot if we had more than 16 winners before the playoffs begin. There has been so much parity this year that you don’t know who’s going to be good each weekend. There are some guys that are better on road courses than others, but you look at Michigan, Richmond and Daytona as complete wild cards. We even had guys far back in the standings that have run top-three at road courses, too. Hopefully, this weekend is one we show a lot of speed. A lot can change in the next five weeks and we hope it doesn’t come down to a Hail Mary at Daytona.”
How would you rate your road-course improvement over the year?
“I think we saw the most improvement at Sonoma. Drew (Blickensderfer, crew chief) and the guys brought us a great car and put us on a really good long-run strategy. Toward the end of the race, we were passing the Hendrick cars and the guys you typically see dominate at road courses and, if we had more laps, I think we would have had a top-10, so that was a big sign of improvement for us. We got some damage at Road America early on, so it’s hard to judge how we were there. The Indy road course calls for a mix of speed and handling, so if we have a fast car it could play into our favor like Sonoma did.”
What are your thoughts on racing the Indianapolis road course instead of the oval?
“I think racing on the oval was so cool just because I was a kid and went and watched an Indy 500 back in the late ’90s. It was a special place and to race on the oval was just special. I mean, you think about the history of that racetrack and the people that have run around that rectangular racetrack and crossed that Yard of Bricks and all those things, and all the races that went on before you dating back to the early 1900s, it’s just a very special place. So, to not race on the oval is weird, but the fans love these road-course races and they put on a great show, so we’re looking forward to seeing what we can do.”