This past weekend, Aric Almirola finished in 14th place in the No. 43 Smithfield/Waffle House Ford. Almirola had a strong race, fighting back from being a lap down to finish in the Top 15 on the lead lap. The team will use that momentum rolling into Michigan, a track the team struggled to get a handle on earlier in the year. The first Michigan race of the 2016 season was the first time the proposed 2017 aerodynamics package had been tested in a points race setting. With the confidence boost from a strong race at Bristol and lessons learned from trying out the package earlier this year, the team is ready to head back to the two-mile race track.
Almirola has nine previous starts in the Sprint Cup Series in the Irish Hills of Michigan. His best finish of 14th came from the August race last season. He scored six Top-20 finishes at Michigan International Speedway.
"I'm looking forward to another opportunity to race this new 2017 aero package at Michigan this weekend. It'll be beneficial for us to get more time with it to see how we can make it work best for our team moving into next season. Michigan itself is an interesting track to race at because it's a predominantly bottom-lane track. It hasn't widened out much with the repave they did a few years ago. You can run two-wide there, but the bottom is very much preferred. It's a challenge to make the top work. Hopefully as the new pavement ages, we'll get back to being able to run all over the track because it was definitely fun. With that style of racing and the new package, our team struggled to get a handle on our No. 43 Smithfield Ford the last time we were there. But, we learned a lot during the June race that we can apply to our strategy this weekend and make it work for us."