Aric Almirola will head to Indianapolis Motor Speedway with Smithfield on the hood of the No. 43 Ford for the brand's first primary sponsorship at the famed track. Almirola returns to Indianapolis with confidence after running in the Top 10 three races in a row. Bad luck has struck the Ford Fusion in recent weeks, and the team hasn't gotten the finishes deserving of where they've run. However, the speed improvements are encouraging for the team heading to the two-and-a-half-mile rectangle. Richard Petty Motorsports has never had the chance to kiss the bricks at the start-finish line, but Almirola will have a good chance to give "The King" Richard Petty an up-close look at the bricks this weekend.
This will be Almirola's fifth start at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. His best finish of 17th place came in the 2013 season. Almirola was on track to have a strong finish in last year's race, but contact with another competitor ruined his day. He has a best starting position of fourth place in 2012.
Almirola and Petty will partner with Eckrich to honor an Operation Homefront military family on Saturday morning. This is the team's fifth year working with Eckrich to thank and support military families. Fans and media are invited to watch the special moment.
When: Saturday, July 23, 10:00 - 10:30 AM
Where: USAC - 4910 W 16th Street, Indianapolis, Ind. 46222
"I think Indianapolis is going to be a challenge. It's always a challenge with the aerodynamics there. It's such a big race track and so fast. We go there trying to make the maximum amount of downforce that we can because that's how you get the most grip. It's such an aerodynamic-heavy track, and it'll be a very interesting race for sure. The tire that Goodyear is bringing falls off a lot, so I don't think we'll see a lot of track-position gains with two tires and fuel-only pit stops like we've seen in the past. A good handling car is going to be key, especially on restarts. I think restarts will continue to be wild and crazy just like we always see at Indy. We've had a really fast No. 43 Smithfield Ford Fusion these last few weeks, and I think we'll get it dialed in pretty quickly in practice and have a great race this weekend."