Richard Petty Motorsports Brickyard 400 Race Report
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Brickyard 400 Race Results:
1: Kasey Kahne
13: Aric Almirola, No. 43 Smithfield Ford
In a wild and memorable Brickyard 400, the No. 43 Smithfield Ford team earned their seventh Top-15 finish of the season. Aric Almirola, in his second race back from injury, finished 13th after running in the Top-10 in the final Stage of the race. Numerous cautions at the end of the race spoiled a strategy for a potential Top-Five finish.
On a hot and humid day, Almirola started 29th and raced 12 laps before rain poured down on the famed 2.5-mile Speedway. Track crews dried the track in about an hour, but darkness was going to become an issue later in the race.
Crew Chief Drew Blickensderfer used the first two Stages to help Almirola with a loose handling car. Wedge, air pressure, and packers in both the front and rear of the car did help Almirola find the speed he needed to move into the Top 20. But, it was fuel that became the largest factor for the team. Almirola was able to pit for fuel halfway into the last Stage. It put him at the end of the pack, but it also gave him the opportunity to race to the end. The strategy worked. With 10 laps remaining in the race, Almirola was in the sixth spot with two cars in front of him still having to pit. A Top-Five run was then ruined when the first of four cautions waved in the final 10 laps and two overtime periods.
Almirola was involved in the first overtime accident. An eight-car wreck on the frontstretch, Almirola was nearly clear of it before being spun around. The damage, however, was able to be fixed on pit road under the five minute clock. Almirola returned for the final overtime and finished 13th.
“We survived that race,” said Almirola. “There was lot going on in the final 10 laps until the end. We had the perfect strategy for a Top Five, but the caution came out. And the restarts were just wild. Everyone is fighting hard. You really needed to be on the bottom.
“We wanted to get back into the Top 10 at the end, but the race ended before we could finish the green-white-checkered. We may be the ‘Hard Charger’ today; we gained a lot of spots with this Smithfield Ford.”
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.