The rain may have put a damper on NASCAR's Texas race weekend, but Aric Almirola and the No. 43 Smithfield Ford team are looking forward to Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend. The half-mile short track is one of Almirola's favorites and best on the NASCAR circuit. The third short-track race of the year, Almirola finished in 13th position in the Phoenix desert and 40th in Martinsville after an engine failure. Richard Petty Motorsports has put a lot of emphasis on improving the team's short-track program in recent years, and the No. 43 Smithfield Ford team is looking forward to on-track time at the Tennessee oval and moving up from 22nd in the Championship Point Standings.
He will also be competing in Saturday's XFINITY race in the No. 98 Fresh From Florida Ford for Biagi-DenBeste. This will be his fifth XFINITY race of the 2016 season.
One of his best tracks with 13 starts in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Almirola has a top-finish of thirdplace at Bristol Motor Speedway in the 2014 spring race. He qualified for his best starting spot of fifth position in the 2012 fall race. Almirola has five starts in the XFINITY Series at Bristol with his best finish of fifth coming in the 2011 season. He has started 15th three times at Bristol Motor Speedway in the XFINITY Series races.
"I'm really excited about running double duty this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway. It's one of my favorite race tracks because we run really well there. It's crazy to go to 'The Last Great Coliseum' and have a sense of comfort, but I do. I really like our No. 43 Smithfield Ford's chances of going there and having a great day and possibly even getting to Victory Lane. At the old Bristol, the only way to pass was to run over somebody because everyone stayed on the bottom. Now, there's three grooves at a little half-mile, high-bank race track. It's a lot of fun for all of the drivers. After Texas, I'm looking forward to rebounding and there is no better place than Bristol. I've had some of my fastest cars ever at this track, so hopefully, we will unload fast and have a solid weekend."
"And now that they've added the heat races to the XFINITY race on Saturday, it'll be an even better show for the fans. I'm excited to race in the heat races and see what they'll be like. I was looking forward to watching just as a fan of the sport, so to be a part of it is going to be a blast. Hopefully we'll have a fast No. 98 Fresh From Florida Ford Mustang and be able to win one of the heat races to get ready for the main."