Richard Petty Motorsports and the U.S. Air Force announced today that they will once again team up for the 2017 season. The U.S. Air Force will continue to use the No. 43 Ford as a vehicle to connect with America's best young adults for the ninth consecutive season. Aric Almirola will once again pilot the No. 43 Air Force Racing Ford for two of the most patriotic race weekends of the year: Memorial Day weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway and the Veterans Day weekend race at Phoenix International Raceway.
As part of the partnership, the U.S. Air Force will also be continuing its Summer Engineering Internship with U.S. Air Force Academy Cadets at Richard Petty Motorsports applying their knowledge of aerodynamics, fuels and engineering systems to optimize the No. 43 car. The U.S. Air Force will remain an associate partner on the historic No. 43 for the entirety of the 2017 season and will continue to hold swear-in ceremonies of Airmen in the Delayed Entry Program at NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, giving fans an up-close, in-person look at the moment when groups of young Americans commit themselves to serving their country.
Proving a great fit for the U.S. Air Force, Almirola was born on Eglin Air Force base in Florida while his dad served in the Air Force and appreciates the partnership and what it means for the Air Force. In 2014, Almirola drove the No. 43 Air Force Ford to victory at his home track Daytona International Speedway on the 30th anniversary of "The King" Richard Petty's historic 200th win.
"I've been lucky enough to experience a lot of things and meet a lot of people through our partnership with the Air Force," said Almirola. "I've had rides in fighter planes, experienced refueling missions and toured many bases, but the thing I love most about the partnership is being able meet and thank the men and women of the Air Force. The things they do to keep our country safe is nothing short of amazing. It's remarkable to see that the Air Force and all of its members are working at the forefront of technology and truly making a difference. I'm honored to be able to represent them and share the message of the Air Force will all of our race fans."
This season marks the Air Force's 17th season in NASCAR and ninth consecutive season with Richard Petty Motorsports.
"The Air Force is excited to partner with Richard Petty Motorsports again in 2017, for the ninth consecutive season," said Maj Jacob Chisolm, Air Force Recruiting Service National Events Branch Chief. "NASCAR is a great venue to inspire young adults, communicate the service's mission and build awareness about career opportunities within the Air Force. It's also a great way to highlight the connection between our Air Force mission and the science, technology, engineering and math principles that play a major role in NASCAR."