NASCAR Cup Series

Momentum for Almirola After Top-10 at Las Vegas

After his third start in a Stewart-Haas Racing Ford, Aric Almirola “The Cuban Missile” finally captured his first top-10 of 2018. In his new No. 10 Smithfield Ford Fusion, Almirola finished 10th in Sunday’s Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“Finally a top-10 for our Smithfield Ford Fusion,” Almirola said. “We have had a solid string of races, and obviously everybody has been working really hard at Stewart-Haas Racing, and the cars are obviously fast.”

A “solid string of races” it is.

At Daytona, Almirola stayed out of trouble and was the leader with a lap to go until he was wrecked in the backstretch by Austin Dillon, who ended up spraying champagne in victory lane.

The following weekend at Atlanta, Almirola ran in the top-10 most of the day but finished 13th after having a hiccup on pit road.

Almirola began the weekend at Las Vegas struggling with a bad handling race car.

“Our car was not very good on Friday or Saturday morning,” Almirola said. “The guys made a lot of changes for final practice and we finally hit on something that felt good for me.”

Almirola started back in the 29th position and successfully drove his way up into the top-15 by the end of Stage 1. Throughout the race, he ran among the top-20 allowing him to finish in the tenth position.

“I am proud of everybody at Ford Performance and Stewart-Haas Racing,” Almirola said. “We had to battle back from a lot this weekend.”

Thanks to a phenomenal job by his team, Almirola could finally get the car to handle to his liking which led him to finishing the weekend off strong with momentum going into Phoenix.

The 2018 season has begun strong for Almirola and the whole Stewart-Haas Racing organization. Starting off a year, with speed and consistent runs can really guide Almirola to having a successful season.

Heading into Phoenix, Almirola sits 12th in the overall point standings. Furthermore, this is the first season that he goes on to the fourth race with a top-10 at a track other than Daytona.

During the offseason, Stewart-Haas Racing made a few changes, most notably bringing Aric Almirola over to drive Danica Patrick’s former car.

This year started off with a historic Daytona 500 and two dominant performances by Almirola’s teammate Kevin Harvick. During the offseason, many expressed concern about Ford’s performance in 2018 since a Toyota dominated the previous season and Chevy was introducing the new Camaro ZL1.

However, the Ford camp has shown early success and it’ll be interesting to see Aric Almirola evolve throughout the season with Stewart-Haas Racing.


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By Brandon Rivero

Brandon Rivero lives 45 miles north of Homestead-Miami Speedway. Born and raised in Miami, FL, he currently is a student at Florida International University school of Communications and Journalism with a focus in Public Relations. In addition to POPULAR SPEED, Rivero is a member of his university's Public Relations Student Society of America and an intern for the Florida Panthers NHL Club.