Richard Petty Motorsports Bristol Night Race Report
Bristol Motor Speedway
Bristol Night Race Results:
1: Kyle Busch
37: Aric Almirola, No. 43 Smithfield Ford
It was not the No. 43 Smithfield Ford team’s night at Bristol Motor Speedway. The race started with tire issues and resulted in an early exit for broken power steering. Aric Almirola started the race under the lights from the 28th spot. Unfortunately, by Lap 62, the team’s Ford Fusion had a right, front flat tire that sent the car into the outside wall. NASCAR Officials called a caution, and the team came in to change the right-side tires and fix the damage. They came back down pit road to change left side tires and restarted 33rd, two laps down.
As Stage One came to a close, the No. 43 had another right, front flat, but this time, the caution for the end of the stage came out before Almirola fell another lap down. The team pulled more brake tape thinking it was an issue with break temperature, and changed four tires. The next run was better for Almirola. He fought a tight Smithfield Ford in the middle of the corners but didn’t have an issue with the tires. An incident on track brought out the caution on Lap 202, and the team pit for big chassis adjustments to loosen the car in the corners.
The changes helped the next run. The team utilized pit strategy during the Lap 233 caution and stayed out. They restarted 29th for the final seven laps of the second stage. Almirola pit during the stage break for four tires and an air pressure adjustment.
He restarted 28th, but unfortunately, another tire issue hindered the team’s progress forward. Stuck on the high line, Almirola went seven laps down before being able to drive down to pit road. The team quickly changed four tires and went back on track. A caution on Lap 355 allowed the team to pit again, but bad luck stuck again. The No. 43 began smoking, and a few laps later, Almirola radioed that it was the power steering. On Lap 393, he was black flagged for the smoke. He drove into the garage to fix the issue, but the team didn’t have enough time to get it fixed before the end of the race. They finished 37th.
“We had an oil line on the motor that had a hole in it, and it started smoking real bad and caught on fire, so that’s the end of our night. We blew like four or five right-front tires. It was just a long night for our Smithfield team. We’ll have to regroup and go on to the next race.”
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.