● Aric Almirola has led laps in all four superspeedway-style races this year. He led 16 laps in the season-opening Daytona 500 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway on Feb. 19, 17 laps at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 19, 11 laps at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway on April 23, and 46 laps from the pole at Atlanta on July 9.
● History at Daytona: Almirola scored his first career Cup Series win in the rain-shortened July 2014 race at Daytona, when he led 14 laps. At the 2021 Daytona 500, he won his Duel qualifying race for the first time in his career, and in this year’s Daytona 500, he led 16 laps before getting caught up in an accident during the second of two overtimes, which relegated him to a 21st-place finish. Almirola started on the pole in his first Daytona outing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in July 2007, and he captured an Xfinity Series win there in the No. 98 Biagi-Den Beste Ford Mustang in July 2016. Almirola also has three Daytona starts in the NASCAR Truck Series with a best finish of 12th in the 2010 season opener. He won his second Duel qualifying race at Daytona to kick off the 2023 season.
● Playoffs: Almirola arrives at Daytona 25th in the playoff standings. The 39-year-old veteran is in a must-win situation this weekend if he is to make the 16-driver NASCAR Playoff field.
● Almirola’s career: In 449 career NASCAR Cup Series starts, Almirola has three wins, 28 top-five finishes, 93 top-10s, five poles, and has led 1,068 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.
Could there be a better track for you to be in a must-win situation?
“I don’t think so. I know a lot of guys look at these superspeedways as a wild-card race, but I always look at it as an incredible opportunity for us. We are always consistent at superspeedways and we have continued to be consistent at them this year. I’ve won at Daytona in the Xfinity and Cup series. We have been so close to winning it many times and we are almost always in a position to win if we don’t get collected early. Daytona is my home track, too, so I love going there with the added bonus of winning not far my hometown.”
Why has superspeedway racing fit your driving style?
“Early in my career, I always had to find a way to perform at the superspeedway races because, at Petty, it was our only realistic chance to win. I paid a lot of attention to the superspeedway races and learned strategies and how to be there in the end. Superspeedway racing is a high-speed chess match and you have to make the right moves early to be there in the end. Then seeing the hard work pay off to win in the Xfinity Series and Cup Series at Daytona, and winning at Talladega here at Stewart-Haas in 2018, gave me a lot of confidence moving forward. I think we have a great opportunity this weekend to catapult our way into the playoffs, and I think this first round could be really good to us with Bristol being the cutoff.”
What will it take to win this weekend?
“Honestly, luck will play a big part in winning this weekend. It starts with bringing a fast race car and making the right moves and executing. Luck doesnt matter if you dont have a car fast enough to run up front, but you have to avoid the inevitable wrecks and be there at the end. In the last five laps you have to have the perfect formula of things going your way to execute and win.”