Aric Almirola looks to end the 2013 season with momentum from the last two races. Heading to Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway this weekend, his goal is to score a solid finish in the No. 43 Smithfield Ford as the team competes with a different tire from when they raced here in the spring.
Almirola has 14 NASCAR starts at the one-mile track in all three National series. In five Sprint Cup starts, he scored his best finish of 12th in the 2012 spring race. This season, he brought home a 15th-place finish in his first start in a Gen-6 car at the track. He tallied his best track finish of third in the truck series in 2009 and scored a pole in the Nationwide Series in the fall event in 2011.
Comments from Smithfield Ford Fusion Driver Aric Almirola:
“Phoenix is certainly losing grip. Goodyear is bringing a softer tire for this race, so that should make it better for us. We should have more grip which should put on a better race. Hopefully, the tire will wear out so you won’t see us taking two tires or no tires like we have been on this new surface. Hopefully, it will be more like a typical short track race where four tires will mean something. I like the new configuration. I think it will just get better and better as it gets older, wore out, loses grip and Goodyear is able to bring a softer and softer tire. I think it will be a lot of fun this weekend.
“With two races left this season, it is really important that we end the season on a high note. We are really focused on these last two races. We did really well at the end of the year last year and that momentum really helped this season. Our goal is to do that again this year and start next season on a high note.”
Comments from Smithfield Ford Fusion Crew Chief Greg Ebert:
“We had a pretty good race here in the spring. We raced in the second spot for a good portion of the race. We struggled a little with the harder tire and are excited to see what the new tire here brings. We have had mixed results this season short track and look to turn that around this weekend. Our biggest goal for the last two races is to get some good momentum leading into the off-season, and I think we can do just that starting this weekend at Phoenix.”
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