Richard Petty Motorsports I LOVE NEW YORK 355 at the Glen Race Report
Watkins Glen International
I LOVE NEW YORK 355 at the Glen Results:
1: Martin Truex Jr.
21: Aric Almirola, No. 43 Smithfield Ford
Aric Almirola started 29th in his first road course start this season. Struggling with a loose car in qualifying earlier in the day, the team started really loose but utilized the caution at the end of the first stage to work on adjustments on the No. 43 Smithfield Ford. Almirola gave up the 18th spot at the end of Stage One and pit for a four-tire stop and big chassis changes.
Because most teams elected to pit before the stage break, Almirola had the 32nd starting spot for Stage Two. But, the changes proved fruitful, and he worked the No. 43 Smithfield Ford back to the 29th spot in one lap and started to move forward. Pit and fuel strategy proved to be the storyline of the day. Crew Chief Drew Blickensderfer chose to stay on track through the second stage. Almirola held the 15th spot at the end of Stage Two and again stayed on track. Blickensderfer radioed that the team was about 14 laps from being able to make it to the end of fuel, so they stayed out.
The No. 43 Smithfield Ford restarted 13th. Almirola raced three-wide on Lap 46 and lost momentum and positions before getting back in line. Knowing they would pit soon and other teams had fresher tires, he didn’t push the issue. As the team readied for their final stop under green-flag conditions, NASCAR Officials called the caution for debris on Lap 53. Blickensderfer called Almirola down pit road during the caution, and the No. 43 Smithfield team made a four-tire stop with an air pressure adjustment. The stop was slowed when the 77 car left its pit box, and the crew had to wait to run to the right side of the car.
Almirola restarted in the 27th spot with 36 laps to go. He radioed the car was better in most of the corners but still loose in the esses. On fuel strategy, the team raced up to 24th when some cars started to pit for fuel. The race went green until the end, and the No. 43 picked up three more spots due to fuel strategy to finish 21st.
“We were just so loose all weekend,” said Almirola. “Drew made a good call on adjustments at the end of Stage One. There weren’t very many cautions, so everyone was on a few different strategies. That didn’t give us a lot of options to use pit strategy to get track position. We were good on fuel the final run, but the cars around us did a good job saving. We’ll take 21st and get back focused on racing ovals.”
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.