Aric Almirola, driver of the No. 10 Valley Tech Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), will attempt to beat another personal record he set in 2018 when he earned his first top-10 at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta after five starts at the 1.5-mile oval, site of Saturday night’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Kentucky 400.
“Last year was an incredible year for Stewart-Haas as a team and a great year for me, personally,” Almirola said. “We brought a lot of speed to the track each weekend and contended for top-fives, top-10s and even wins all year, which was new for me. We started this season strong at intermediate tracks and we’re all just trying to get back to where we were. I’m looking forward to improving our 1.5-mile program this weekend at Kentucky.”
Almirola has scored three top-10 finishes and two top-15s at 1.5-mile tracks so far this season. In addition his eighth-place finish in last year’s Cup Series race at Kentucky, he earned a sixth-place finish there in the June 2011 in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race.
For the second consecutive weekend, the Cup Series has a main event under the Saturday-night lights, which are not only overwhelming fan favorites who enjoy seeing racecars leave a trail of sparks as they navigate the track, but a challenge for teams in dealing with constant handling changes on the racecars as temperatures cool as the night wears on. In Sunday’s Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, Almirola drove the No. 10 Ford to a seventh-place finish after severe weather ended the race prematurely on lap 127 of a scheduled 160 laps. His seventh-place finish advanced him one position in the championship standings.
Valley Tech joins SHR for the second of two races this season in hopes of riding Almirola’s No. 10 Ford Mustang to victory lane this weekend. Valley Tech Learning partners with companies, educational institutions, and municipalities to provide always-on, on-demand interactive instruction for the most in-demand technical skills for today’s marketplace. Through a unique, highly accessible platform designed to more effectively upskill current employees and future workforce members, Valley Tech enables communities to become more competitive and serve all who aspire to learn and succeed in today’s knowledge economy.
Almirola has always valued the importance of an education, even as he worked his way toward the pinnacle of North American motorsports. While he rose through the racing ranks from the World Karting Association to open-wheel Modifieds to Late Model stock cars, he attended the University of Central Florida, where he pursued a degree in mechanical engineering. But after two years in college, Almirola earned an opportunity with Joe Gibbs Racing that ultimately led him to the NASCAR Cup Series.
“My parents and grandparents instilled in me the value of an education,” he said. “In order to go racing, I had to perform in school, and that included college. I continue to use what I learned in high school and at UCF to this day. Racing is a detail industry where knowledge is power. I can’t thank all of my teachers and professors enough. Between them and my family, they gave me the tools to succeed.”
Fans can now get VIP, behind-the-scenes access in following “Aric ‘Beyond the 10’” by subscribing to his YouTube channel and following episodes on Facebook. Episodes showcase never-before-seen footage of Almirola at the racetrack, on family trips, and “A Day in the Life” during the week, as well as all that goes into a NASCAR Cup Series driver’s season. Click here to subscribe on YouTube and watch the latest episode.
The 35-year-old Ford driver has earned one pole award, one top-five, 10 top-10s and has led 100 laps through 18 races this season. His qualifying efforts have also been strong with five front-row starts and eight top-five starts this season.
Aric Almirola: Driver of the No. 10 Valley Tech Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
How much different is a night race versus a day race?
“You know to plan for it. You know your car isn’t going to be perfect. If it’s perfect when you start the race, you better be prepared to make major changes as the sun goes down. The track is going to change so much. It’s important for me to provide constructive feedback on how the car is handling so that the crew can make the right adjustments. So much can change from day to night, it’s important to have patience.”
No. 10 Valley Tech Ford Mustang Team Report
Kentucky 400 – Kentucky
Car No. 10: Valley Tech Ford Mustang Team Report
At Track PR Contact: Dakota Hunter with True Speed Communication (Dakota.Hunter@TrueSpeedCommunication.com)
Driver: Aric Almirola
Hometown: Tampa, Florida
Crew Chief: John Klausmeier
Hometown: Perry Hall, Maryland
Car Chief: Chad Haney
Hometown: Fairmont, West Virginia
Engine Builder: Roush Yates Engines
Headquarters: Mooresville, North Carolina
Engine Specialist: Jon Phillips
Hometown: Jefferson City, Missouri
Spotter: Joel Edmonds
Hometown: Dobson, North Carolina
Fuelman: Jeremy Howard
Hometown: Dalhart, Texas
Front Changer: Daniel Coffey
Hometown: Granite Falls, North Carolina
Carrier: Jon Bernal
Hometown: Shelby, North Carolina
Rear Changer: Chris McMullen
Hometown: Canton, Michigan
Jackman: Brett Morell
Hometown: Windham, Maine
Transporter Driver: Todd Cable and Scott Robins
Hometowns: Shelby, North Carolina, and Woodsville, New Hampshire, respectively
Tire Technician: Keith Eads
Hometown: Arlington, Virginia
Shock Specialist: Brian Holshouser
Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina
Engineers: Mike Cook and Marc Hendricksen
Hometowns: Annapolis, Maryland, and Clinton, New Jersey, respectively
Underneath Mechanic: Stephen Gonzalez
Hometown: Mooresville, North Carolina
Front End Mechanic: J.D. Frey
Hometown: Ferndale, California
Interior Mechanic: Trevor Adams
Hometown: Naples, Florida
Notes of Interest:
● Aric Almirola will make his 299th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start and his seventh at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta.
● Almirola has one top-10 at Kentucky earned last season on July 14. He also earned a sixth-place finish there in the 2011 NASCAR Xfinity Series race.
● Almirola has earned three top-10s and two top-15s at 1.5-mile tracks this season.
● Career: Almirola has career totals of two wins, two poles, 16 top-five finishes, 59 top-10s and 457 laps led in 298 starts.
● 2019: Almirola has earned one pole, one top-five finish, 10 top-10s and has led 100 laps in 18 races this season.
● Last win: Almirola’s Oct. 14, 2018 win at Talladega was his most recent in the Cup Series.
● Point standings: Almirola is 10th in the Cup Series standings with 512 points, 188 out of first place. There are nine regular-season races remaining.
● Crew chief Johnny Klausmeier is in his second full-time season as a Cup Series crew chief. The Perry Hall, Maryland, native transitioned from an engineer to Almirola’s crew chief for the 2018 season. Klausmeier has one win as a substitute crew chief while filling in for Tony Gibson at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway in June 2016, and one win as a crew chief for Almirola last fall at Talladega. As a race engineer at SHR, Klausmeier worked with drivers Ryan Newman, Danica Patrick and Kurt Busch.
● Valley Tech Learningjoins SHR for the second of two races this season in hopes of riding Almirola’s No. 10 Ford Mustang to victory lane at Kentucky. Valley Tech Learning partners with companies, educational institutions, and municipalities to provide always-on, on-demand interactive instruction for the most in-demand technical skills for today’s marketplace. Through a unique, highly accessible platform designed to more effectively upskill current employees and future workforce members, Valley Tech enables communities to become more competitive and serve all who aspire to learn and succeed in today’s knowledge economy.
● ‘Beyond the 10’ – Almirola announced that fans can now get VIP, behind-the-scenes access in following “Aric ‘Beyond the 10’” by subscribing to his YouTube channel and following episodes on Facebook and Instagram TV. Episodes will showcase never-before-seen footage of Almirola at the racetrack, on family trips, and “A Day in the Life” during the week, as well as all that goes into a NASCAR Cup Series driver’s season. Click here to subscribe on YouTube and watch the latest episode.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!