Date: March 3, 2019
Event: Las Vegas 400 (Round 3 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Las Vegas Motor Speedway (1.5-mile oval)
Format: 267 laps, broken into three stages (80 laps/80 laps/107 laps)
Start/Finish: 25th/7th (Running, completed 267 of 267 laps)
Point standings: 10th with 92 points, 41 out of first
Race Winner: Joey Logano of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Joey Logano of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-80):
● Aric Almirola started 25th, finished 11th.
● The No. 10 Smithfield Ford driver raced to the top-20 by lap 20 and noted tight handling conditions.
● Almirola pitted on lap 47 for four tires, fuel and adjustments under green-flag conditions.
● He battled to the 11th position by lap 63, where he finished the first stage.
● Almirola pitted for four fresh tires, fuel and air pressure adjustments at the end of Stage 1.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 81-160):
● Started 12th and finished seventh to collect four bonus points.
● Almirola advanced the Smithfield Ford Mustang to fifth place after the restart.
● He fell back to ninth and pitted on lap 124 for four tires, fuel and air pressure adjustments.
● Almirola was scored in the eighth position when green-flag pit stops cycled through and raced to seventh place before the stage concluded.
● He brought the No. 10 Ford to the pits at the end of Stage 2 for four tires, fuel and chassis adjustments.
Stage 3 Recap (Laps 161-267):
● Started ninth and finished seventh.
● Almirola jolted the Smithfield Ford to fourth place by lap 173 – his highest running position of the day.
● He ran in and around the top-five and pitted under green on lap 215 for four tires, fuel and adjustments.
● The Smithfield Ford driver was scored seventh after green-flag pit stops cycled through and battled for the sixth and seventh spot for the remainder of the race.
● Almirola earned his second top-10 finish of the season and his third top-10 in 12 career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at Las Vegas.
● Almirola’s seventh-place result was one short of his previous best finish at Las Vegas – sixth in last September’s South Point 400.
● Almirola finished seventh in Stage 2 to earn four bonus points.
● Joey Logano won the Las Vegas 400 to score his 22nd career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his first of the season and his first at Las Vegas. His margin of victory over second-place Brad Keselowski was .236 of a second.
● There were two caution periods for a total of 12 laps.
● Only 18 of the 38 drivers in the Las Vegas 400 finished on the lead lap.
● Logano leaves Las Vegas as the championship leader with a six-point advantage over second-place Denny Hamlin.
Aric Almirola, driver of the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“We have a lot of learning to do, but overall a good day for a Smithfield Ford team. We saw a lot of similarities from Atlanta where we’re good on the short runs and fall off on the long runs. Everyone at Stewart-Haas is working hard to make our cars as competitive as can be, and we’ll get there. Right now, I think we’re a fourth- to eighth-place car, and we have some work to do if we want to win.”
The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the TicketGuardian 500k on Sunday, March 10 at ISM Raceway near Phoenix.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!