No. 10 Smithfield Ford Racing: Aric Almirola Darlington Advance

Stewart-Haas Racing

●  History at Darlington: In 16 starts at the 1.33-mile egg-shaped oval, Almirola has earned two top-10 finishes, which came in back-to-back starts in May (seventh) and September 2020 (ninth), respectively. He finished 21st at Darlington this past May after running in and around the top-10 for the majority of the race. He finished 11th in last year’s May and September races. 

●  Last weekend at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, Almirola finished third after executing a flawless race. It was the 39-year-old’s second-best career Daytona finish behind his July 2014 win, and his best of the 2023 season. 

●  Point Standings: Almirola arrives at Darlington 23rd in the driver standings. He gained two positions after last weekend’s third-place run. 

●  Almirola’s career: In 450 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. 

Aric Almirola;

Do you think the No. 10 team belongs in the playoffs this year?

“I feel like this No. 10 team belongs in the playoffs again this year. There were just so many things that went wrong to put us in that must-win situation (at Daytona last weekend). You have to get an early win in the NextGen era to lock yourself in. Last year, we were in on points for a long time and then there were more and more new winners. I think there were a few opportunities, like New Hampshire, Richmond, Martinsville and Atlanta, where we could have capitalized and didn’t, or we had a major mechanical failure. We still have 10 weeks of work to do to try and run up front, and we’re not going to take our foot off the gas to do it. There are still a few tracks we can capitalize on and this NextGen car allows the non-playoff drivers to be a lot more competitive.” 

Do you enjoy racing at Darlington?

“I always enjoy going to Darlington. It is a really tough racetrack – they call it ‘Too Tough Too Tame’ and that’s the slogan for a reason. The technicality of that racetrack is so difficult. It’s not like any other racetrack we go to and I know that each and every racetrack is unique, but Darlington is very unique. It has two corners that are very different and the racing surface is very narrow. We predominately race up against the fence, so we’re at 180 miles an hour and you’re trying to run 1 to 2 inches off the wall with very little room for error. One little slip and one little slide and you’re in the fence, so it’s just a very difficult racetrack, but that’s why we all love it. You’ve got to make sure it stays good on long runs. Darlington is notorious for wearing out tires, so you’ve got to have a car that has good grip and not wearing out the tires. Qualifying is important, too. You’ve got to make sure you have a good day on pit road and make sure you’re not losing spots and just put together solid races on those types of tracks. You can’t really afford to lose any positions because it’s so difficult to make them back up.”


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