● Aric Almirola won the July 2021 NASCAR Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. After a two-hour rain delay, he and the field battled daylight. With darkness closing in on the 1.058-mile oval, Almirola sprung to life late and pulled off the surprise victory. The win catapulted him from 27th in the standings to the playoffs for the fourth consecutive year and fifth time in his career. Almirola is in the exact same points position heading into this weekend’s race.
● History at New Hampshire: While the 2021 win was his first at New Hampshire, Almirola has been on a hot streak there since joining SHR. In the last five races at “The Magic Mile,” he’s ranked fourth overall. In his first start at New Hampshire with SHR in 2018, he finished third, then 11th the following year. In 2020, he started from the pole and finished seventh before returning the next year for his first career victory at the track. Last year, Almirola started seventh and raced in and around the top-five before a mechanical issue ended his day, putting him 19 laps down. In 20 starts at New Hampshire, he has five top-10 finishes and three top-fives with 81 laps led.
● Last weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Almirola earned his second pole position at the 1.5-mile oval and his fifth pole of his career. In Sunday’s rain-shortened race, he led the first 46 laps of the 185 run before handling issues demoted the No. 10 driver to the middle of the pack. He finished 18th.
● While Almirola is seeking a victory in the NASCAR Cup Series to catapult him into the 2023 NASCAR Playoffs, the 39-year-old veteran raced his way to victory lane June 10 in the Xfinity Series race at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway.
● Driver Points: Almirola arrives at New Hampshire 27th in the driver standings, 311 points out of first.
● Almirola’s career: In 443 career NASCAR Cup Series starts, Almirola has three wins, 28 top-five finishes, 92 top-10s, five poles, and has led 1,064 laps.
● Smithfield has been a sponsor of Almirola’s for the entirety of his fulltime NASCAR Cup Series career – making it one of the longest-lasting partnerships in NASCAR. Smithfield is an American food company with agricultural roots and a global reach. Its 63,000 team members are dedicated to producing “Good food. Responsibly.®” Smithfield is one of the world’s leading vertically integrated protein companies. The company has pioneered sustainability standards for more than two decades, including its industry-leading commitments to become carbon negative in U.S. company-owned operations and reduce GHG emissions 30 percent across its entire U.S. value chain by 2030. Smithfield believes in the power of protein to end food insecurity and has donated hundreds of millions of food servings to local communities.
● Beyond the 10 YouTube Series: In 2023, Almirola is continuing to share his life beyond the No. 10 Ford with season five 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 the show 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.
What is it about New Hampshire that you love?
“New Hampshire is a special place to me. It was one of my very first touring series starts in the Truck Series – I think my third start in a Truck, and I ran really well. From that point forward, I just really love going there. I love going up there for the people. I think the race fans are some of the biggest race fans in our sport. It’s such a good vibe coming to the New England area in the summer and it’s just a beautiful part of the country.”
Does it give you a lot of confidence knowing you won at New Hampshire in 2021?
“It certainly does give me a lot of confidence going back to New Hampshire and to know that we are capable of winning. I get really excited about going to a place where I have notoriously run well at and, every time I show up to New Hampshire, I have just a tremendous amount of confidence. I know what I need out of my racecar. I know what I want it to feel like and so, because of those things, I just show up with the right mindset. And, if we have the car and we execute, I know we’re capable of winning. I do get excited and fired up about going to New Hampshire. It was an awesome day in 2021, and holding that lobster in victory lane and celebrating with all my team guys and knowing that that catapulted us into the playoffs gives me a lot of good memories as I get ready to go to New Hampshire this weekend, knowing that we can do that again.”
You earned your second pole at Atlanta last weekend and led the most laps of your career there. Were you disappointed that the race was cut short by the weather?
“Early in the race, we lost track position after leading the first 46 laps and then, from that point forward, we just couldn’t get the handling of the car to be where I needed it to be to get back up and battle for the lead. So we kept working on it, and then we were playing the whole lightning and rain strategy game and trying to figure out when that was going to come. We got off sequence trying to position ourselves for when the rain was going to come in and then the rain came a little bit earlier than we anticipated, and that kind of messed up our strategy. So we finished 18th with a car that was plenty capable of running the top-10 and, if we would’ve made the right adjustments and the race plays out all the way to the end, maybe we find ourselves with a shot to win.”