Transcripts: Aric Almirola – NASCAR All-Star Open Frontstretch Interview – North Wilkesboro

Q. Aric Almirola just misses making the All-Star Race by one spot. Before the stop you guys seemed like you were pretty darned consistent, maybe had something to work with. What were you missing there at the end to move up one spot?

ARIC ALMIROLA: They made their cars better on the pit stop, and we made ours a little bit better, but they made their cars significantly better.

I thought we were still better than them in traffic. Surprisingly on a little half-mile racetrack, traffic still matters. I didn’t do myself any favors choosing the outside of that restart. I thought I could maybe make it work. The 48 was kind of slow taking off.

I thought if I could just get a good launch and clear him off of 2, I’d get some clean air and be able to ride and save my stuff. But I wasn’t able to clear him and wasn’t able to get between him and the 54, and I lost a spot to the 41, a spot to the 16 and had to really use my stuff up more than I wanted to get back by those guys and try and run the leaders down, and I used him too much of my stuff.

I was kind of hanging on there at the end trying to hustle to make something of it, and just wasn’t able to get close enough to make a move. Just frustrated. Had a really fast Smithfield Ford Mustang. Proud of the guys. Starting deep in the field against those guys that started on the front row, to drive from ninth all the way up there and have a shot to outrun those guys says how good our car was, but needed more laps.

I didn’t need that last run to have all those cautions. I really would have liked to have seen it go green.

Q. Describe the disappointment in missing the All-Star Race.

ARIC ALMIROLA: Yeah, I think we work a lot regardless, so I don’t think the work is anything different. So I’m not — I don’t think too much about that. I’m more disappointed just because there’s going to be a race without us, and these guys deserve to be in in that race. We’re a great race team and we had a great race car here this weekend. I thought we were a fifth-place car in practice on average. On a long run for sure we were one of the best cars.

I would have liked to see it play out tonight here in such an iconic event and running for a million dollars here at North Wilkesboro would have been awesome, so that’s what I’m most disappointed about, just not being in the show tonight and having to watch it on TV. That hurts.