Richard Petty Motorsports
Bristol Night Race Qualifying Report
Bristol Motor Speedway
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams had a packed schedule today to get ready for Saturday’s night race. Before the teams qualified, they had two practice sessions to dial in their cars.
Sam Hornish Jr. and the Blue-Emu team made good progress during the day’s two practice sessions and closed out first practice sixth fastest. Hornish made three attempts to make it into the Top-24 during the first round of qualifying but battled the handling of the No. 9 Ford.
An issue sent the No. 43 Smithfield Ford into the wall in the first minutes of first practice. The team worked tirelessly to get the car back on track. With a quick turnaround to final practice, they were only able to make three quick runs in final practice. Aric Almirola battled a loose Ford Fusion in qualifying and qualified 31st.
Denny Hamlin won the pole.
26: Sam Hornish Jr., No. 9 Blue-Emu Ford
31: Aric Almirola, No. 43 Smithfield Ford
Comments from Sam Hornish Jr. after Qualifying at Bristol:
“We made good gains on the Blue-Emu Ford Fusion during practice today. I felt good about the car after practice, and we finished sixth in the first practice. We weren’t quite where we wanted to be in qualifying today, but we made up a lot of ground from where we qualified here in the spring. I’m looking forward to tomorrow night and ready to take the Blue-Emu Ford to the front.”
Comments from Aric Almirola after Qualifying at Bristol:
“We had a test here a few weeks ago, and we were very happy with our car at the test. I put us behind. The car bottomed out, and I wrecked it off of turn two early in practice. We thrashed for two hours just to get the car back on the race track. Cosmetically, we were able to get the car back on the track, but there’s still a lot of work to be done to get the aero back where it needs to be. You wouldn’t think it would matter at a place like this, at Bristol, but it does. We’re going so fast around here, and the aero matters. There is some stuff the guys have to work on tonight to get the aero back in the car, and we’ll be OK. I hate it that I put us all behind, but we typically run really well here. The setup that we’ve got is really close to what we’ve typically run here, and we had a really good test, so we’ve got notes to go off of.”
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 two teams in competition in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Aric Almirola pilots the famous No. 43 Ford Fusion with primary partners Smithfield Foods, U.S. Air Force, STP and Fresh From Florida, and Sam Hornish Jr. drives the No. 9 machine with primary partners Medallion Bank and Twisted Tea. In addition, Dakoda Armstrong wheels the No. 43 WinField Ford Mustang full-time in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. The team is headquartered in Mooresville, N.C.