Aric Almirola scored two consecutive Top-15 finishes to start the 2016 season. After finishing 12th in the historic Daytona 500, Almirola brought the No. 43 Smithfield Ford home 15th in Atlanta. The positive momentum has the team ready to take on Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the second intermediate track of the season. To get extra laps under his belt before the Sprint Cup Series, Almirola will participate in Thursday's test sessions and compete in Saturday's XFINITY Series in the No. 98 Ford for Biagi-DenBeste Racing. Almirola hopes that the additional on-track experience throughout the weekend will help produce a great finish in Sunday's Kobalt 400 and keep him in the Top-10 in points.
Las Vegas Motor Speedway has presented Almirola with challenges in the past. He has made seven starts at the track in the Sprint Cup Series with his best finish of 16th coming from the 2013 race. With two starts in the XFINITY Series, Almirola has a best finish of 11th from last year's March race.
Fans will be able to see Almirola on Sunday morning in Las Vegas Motor Speedway's fan midway when he and "The King" Richard Petty judge Smithfield's Whole Hog Challenge. Pre-selected contestants will compete to eat 2 lbs. of Smithfield bacon the fastest. The competition will begin at 9:45 a.m. at the Smithfield display. The winner of the event will be invited to compete in the final Whole Hog Challenge for the championship title before the final race of the season in Miami.
When: Sunday, March 6 from 9:45 a.m.
Where: Smithfield Display in the Fan Midway at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Fans can get in the car with Almirola by listening to his radio feed during the Las Vegas 500 race on SIRUS XM Radio Channel 134.
"Las Vegas Motor Speedway's track changes a little bit each time we're there, but I don't think it changes as much as we all seem to talk about when we first get there. The bumps are always bad, and I think that because we don't race there very often that we just forget. When we show up each March, we typically get a quick reminder of how rough the track is but also how fast we can go. I think the test day is going to be important for us. And, having one intermediate track race under our belts after Atlanta gives us a really good idea of the direction that we need to be heading. I'm looking forward to Vegas for many reasons, but I'm excited for everyone to see how far our team has come and how fast we'll be."