Richard Petty Motorsports
Atlanta 500 Race Report
Atlanta Motor Speedway
Atlanta 500 Results:
1: Brad Keselowski
27: Aric Almirola, No. 43 Smithfield/Waffle House Ford
Aric Almirola and the No. 43 Smithfield/Waffle House team went to Atlanta Motor Speedway knowing it would be a gauge for what changes they made in the off-season on their intermediate track program with no intermediate tests in the off-season. The team came off the truck too loose and the problem worsened throughout the weekend.
Almirola started 30th after experiencing a steering problem in qualifying. The team improved the problem in practice before Sunday’s race. He quickly moved the No. 43 Smithfield/Waffle House Ford up three spots early in the run but as tires wore off became very loose. He fell back to 35th and one lap down before the team’s first pit stop.
Crew Chief Drew Blickensderfer called for a four-tire pit stop with a shock adjustment in the rear. Still loose and struggling to turn in the center, Almirola continued to diagnose the car while Blickensderfer continued to make adjustments during pit stops. Almirola continued to race in the Top 34 throughout most of the race as the Smithfield/Waffle House team worked on the car.
By the Lap 263 caution, Blickensderfer decided to go another direction with the adjustments to test the cars reaction. Almirola said the adjustments helped a little, so Blickensderfer continued down that path. After the final stop, Almirola said the team scratched the surface on improving the car and was able to move up to 27th for the finish. The team is now 13th in Championship Points.
“Today was definitely disappointing,” said Almirola. “We worked extremely hard in the off-season on our intermediate program and did all we could to test on simulation without an intermediate track test. We struggled being loose all weekend, but these guys worked hard to make adjustments. By the end, we went the right direction to get the Smithfield/Waffle House Ford handling a little better. Now, we’ll work hard to make progress before we head to Vegas.”
About Richard Petty Motorsports
A performance and marketing driven company, Richard Petty Motorsports, co-owned by NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty and successful business entrepreneur Andrew Murstein, is one of the most recognized brands in all of motorsports. With a history of over 200 wins and business partnerships with national and global leaders, today the race operation fields one team in competition in the NASCAR premier series with driver Aric Almirola. Almirola will return to the iconic No. 43 Ford with partners Smithfield Foods, STP, United States Air Force and Fresh From Florida. The team is headquartered in Mooresville, N.C.