Date: June 30, 2019
Event: Camping World 400 (Round 17 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois (1.5-mile oval)
Format: 267 laps, broken into three stages (80 laps/80 laps/107 laps)
Point standing: 11th with 482 points, 195 out of first
Race Winner: Alex Bowman of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Winner: Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-80):
● Aric Almirola started 15th, finished 12th.
● The Smithfield Ford driver had raced his way to 11th when inclement weather postponed the race.
● Almirola pitted for four tires, fuel and adjustments on lap 52 from 11th place under green-flag conditions.
● Crew chief Johnny Klausmeier told Almirola he was turning top-five lap times after his pit stop from 27th place.
● Multiple cars pitted under green, helping the Ford Mustang driver move to 11th before a lap-79 caution.
● At the conclusion of the stage, Almirola pitted for four tires, fuel and adjustments to improve the car’s handling.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 81-160):
● Started 12th, finished 10th and earned one bonus point.
● Almirola raced the Smithfield Ford to the top-10 by lap 100.
● During a caution on lap 103, Almirola pitted and remained inside the top-10.
● At the end of the stage, Almirola pitted for four fresh tires, fuel and adjustments to gain four positions on pit road.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 161-267):
● Started sixth, finished 16th.
● Almirola battled for fifth on lap 169 and advanced to fourth place after a lap-172 caution.
● Almirola pitted on lap 218 under green-flag conditions for four fresh tires, fuel and air pressure adjustments.
● After falling back outside the top-10, the Smithfield Ford driver said the balance of his car was back to normal.
● He noted tight-handling conditions for the remainder of the race but held position just outside the top-15, finishing 16th.
● Almirola earned his 14th top-20 of the season and his fourth top-20 in eight career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at Chicagoland.
● Almirola finished 10th in Stage 2 to earn a bonus point.
● Alex Bowman won the Camping World 400 to score his first career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory. His margin of victory over second-place Kyle Larson was .546 of a second.
● There were five caution periods for a total of 25 laps.
● Only 17 of the 38 drivers in the Camping World 400 finished on the lead lap.
● Joey Logano remains the championship leader after Chicagoland with an 18-point advantage over second-place Kyle Busch.
Aric Almirola, Driver of the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang:
“When we started the race I felt like we had a good car to contend with. We found some of that speed again in the final stage and raced toward the front but couldn’t hold it together at the end. We learned a lot and at least we’re in a decent points position. I’m looking forward to Daytona.”
The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Coke Zero Sugar 400 on Saturday, July 6 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. The race starts at 7:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBC and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!