Notes of Interest
● Aric Almirola will make his 103rd NASCAR Xfinity Series start during Saturday’s Pit Boss 250 at Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas. The 39-year-old veteran has three wins, 13 top-fives, 38 top-10s, five poles and 373 laps led in the series. Almirola’s most recent Xfinity Series start also took place on a road course – on Aug. 4, 2018, at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International, which was his first year at Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR).
● Almirola began the 2023 season with a goal, and that goal is to improve his road-course racecraft. Of his 102 Xfinity Series starts, only five have come at road courses, where he’s netted a pair of top-10s and a top-five finish. The Tampa native’s first road-course start in the series came at Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in August 2007, which resulted in an 11th-place finish. Almirola ran a trio of road-course events in 2011, finishing 22nd in June at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, and eighth and 20th, respectively, on back-to-back August weekends at Watkins Glen and Montreal.
● Less than an hour south of COTA, in New Braunfels, Texas, is the headquarters of Rush Truck Centers, the primary partner for Almirola and his No. 08 Mustang for SS-Green Light Racing in the Pit Boss 250. Rush Truck Centers is the largest network of commercial vehicle dealerships in North America with 150 locations in the United States and Ontario, Canada, and takes pride in its integrated approach to customer needs – from vehicle sales to aftermarket parts, service and body shop operations, plus financing, insurance, leasing and rental, as well as alternate fuel systems and other vehicle technologies.
Aric Almirola, Driver of the No. 08 Rush Truck Centers Ford Mustang:
What made you want to run more road courses this year?
“Road-course racing has always been a style of racing that I have to work to improve and experience, and repetition is the best way to do it. As soon as we got back from Atlanta last weekend, I jumped in the Xfinity simulator to get a head start on this weekend. The simulator is a great tool to get reps in and familiarize yourself with the track, but nothing beats putting yourself in real race situations as much as possible. I didn’t get a lot of opportunities to run road courses in the Xfinity Series or the Truck Series, really, so this year it was a big goal to get behind the wheel on Saturday and hopefully have a car capable of running up front and contending for the win.”
Your last doubleheader weekend came in 2018 at Watkins Glen, and you finished fifth in the Xfinity Series car. Will you be a little rusty when you get behind the wheel for Xfinity Series practice on Friday?
“Yeah, in 2018 we had a great year. I was fortunate to race the Xfinity race at Watkins Glen and we had a really good finish. I think anyone getting in a car that you haven’t driven in years will feel rusty, but that’s what practice is for. Last year, we had to get in a brand new NextGen car and everyone was new to it and picked it up right away. That’s why we are here at the top level of auto racing. I’m really looking forward to it. When I found out I was able to run the Pit Boss 250 at COTA, I was really excited. I get to race all weekend. Who wouldn’t love that?”