Richard Petty Motorsports
Can-Am 500 Race Report
Can-Am 500 Race Results:
1: Matt Kenseth
9: Aric Almirola, No. 43 U.S. Air Force Ford
Richard Petty Motorsports scored their sixth Top-10 finish of the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series during Sunday’s Can-Am 500 at the Phoenix Raceway. Aric Almirola raced the No. 43 U.S. Air Force Ford from its 22nd starting position to finish ninth at the end of the 312-lap race.
Stage 2 was the key to the race. Crew Chief Drew Blickensderfer made major changes to loosen the No. 43 as Almirola battled through the first stage to a 22nd-place. Almirola said the No. 43 Air Force Ford was really tight. The team made wholesale changes during the stage break and Almirola launched up to 17th during the middle of Stage 2.
A Lap 149 caution ended Stage 2, just as Almirola said the car was loosing grip. He finished the stage 17th. The final stage, Almirola moved up to 15th, showing speed to race with the leaders. After a long run, the car fell off pace and the team decided to pit early. Soon after pitting, the caution came out, trapping the team two laps down. They waved around to get one lap back and raced into the free pass position soon after. They were back on the Lead Lap after a Lap 251 caution.
The final 55 laps, Almirola was smart and aggressive. He moved up to 13th with 25 laps left and used the last caution to get four tires. On the restart, Almirola raced to ninth, where he finished.
“It was a great run for us, a Top-10,” said Almirola. “It’s been a great effort to close out the season. We had the U.S. Air Force with us all weekend, Veterans Day weekend, and it’s fitting to get them up front. I’m proud of this team and we have one more to go. We all want to finish strong.”
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 wheels 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.