Aric Almirola, driver of the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) returns to Pocono (Pa.) Raceway, where he will race for his third career top-10 finish at the 2.5-mile triangle during Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Gander RV 400.
Before Almirola joined SHR, his best finish at Pocono was 18th. In two of his last three starts, he’s earned finishes of seventh and 10th.
“Pocono has not been my favorite track over the past several years, but the last few times racing there with Stewart-Haas Racing has been a lot more fun and competitive to run up front,” Almirola said. “I’m looking forward to going back there. I think going back there with some notes from the first race (in June) after finding decent speed there. At times, we were pretty competitive. But now, there are just more unknowns.”
The Smithfield Ford driver has two top-10s in 14 Cup Series starts at Pocono. In 20 Cup Series starts this season, Almirola has one pole, one top-five finish, 10 top-10s and has led 112 laps. In 300 career starts, Almirola has two wins, two poles, 16 top-five finishes, 59 top-10s and 469 laps led.
Almirola has qualified on the front row six times this season – one pole and five outside-front-row starts.
While Almirola has yet to earn a win on Pocono’s “Tricky Triangle,” crew chief Johnny Klausmeier has one win as a substitute crew chief while filling in for SHR’s Tony Gibson there in June 2016.
This weekend’s event at Pocono marks the 19thpoints-paying race during which the Smithfield livery has adorned Almirola’s No. 10 Ford Mustang this year. Smithfield, a brand of Smithfield Foods, which is based approximately five hours northeast of SHR headquarters in Smithfield, Virginia, is in its eighth season with Almirola and its second with SHR. Founded in 1936, Smithfield is a leading provider of high-quality pork products, with a vast product portfolio including smoked meats, hams, bacon, sausage, ribs, and a wide variety of fresh pork cuts.
Also, 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 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 hereto subscribe on YouTube and watch the latest episode.
Almirola sits ninth in the championship standings heading to Pocono, 197 points out of first.
While top-10 finishes keep Almirola safe in the playoff point standings, a win is the only thing on the Smithfield driver’s agenda this weekend at Pocono.
Aric Almirola: Driver of the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
How will the racing be different this weekend compared to the past at Pocono?
“They’re putting down some of the traction compound on all three corners and that’s going to change the racing, for sure. We’ve seen it change the dynamic at many of the other tracks. I think that will be interesting and it will put on a great race. The restarts are already wild and crazy and now, with the outer groove being more of an option, that is really going to open up a lot of opportunities on restarts and being able to run side by side.”
No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang Team Report
Round 21 of 36 – Gander RV 400 – Pocono
Car No. 10: Smithfield 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 301st career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start Sunday at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway.
● Almirola has one start at the “Tricky Triangle” in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in June 2016, which resulted in an 11th-place finish. He’s also made one start in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series in July 2010 and earned a fourth-place finish.
● Career: Almirola has career totals of two wins, two poles, 16 top-five finishes, 56 top-10s and 469 laps led in 300 starts.
● 2019: Almirola has earned one pole, one top-five finish, 10 top-10s and has led 112 laps in 20 races this season.
● Last win: Almirola’s Oct. 14, 2018 win at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway was his most recent in the Cup Series.
● Point standings: Almirola is ninth in the Cup Series standings with 586 points, 197 out of first place.
● Ford has 23 all-time series wins at Pocono, and most recently earned one win each in 2016 and in 2017.
● 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 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.
● Smithfield rejoined SHR this season and is the primary partner for the majority of the season on the No. 10 Ford Mustang piloted by Almirola. Founded in 1936, Smithfield is a leading provider of high-quality pork products, with a vast product portfolio including smoked meats, hams, bacon, sausage, ribs, and a wide variety of fresh pork cuts.
● ‘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.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!