CONCORD, N.C. - Having been a part of NASCAR's playoff picture throughout the season, Aric Almirola and his No. 43 Eckrich Ford team just missed qualifying for the "Chase" this season.
Starting this weekend, with Eckrich colors on the hood and sides of the No. 43 Ford, Almirola is aiming to run up front and grab a win away from a "Chase" contender. The team feels confident in their abilities after testing at the track a few weeks ago.
Throughout the year, Almirola and the Richard Petty Motorsports team have hosted a military family at the track to show their appreciation for their sacrifices. A win this weekend would be extra special for the guests of Eckrich and the race team. It is the last time that Eckrich will be the sponsor the No. 43 car this season and have the opportunity to bring a military family to Victory Lane.
Almirola comes into Chicagoland with one previous start. He started on the outside pole and finished 17th last year.
Comments from Eckrich Ford Fusion Driver Aric Almirola:
"We tested here a few weeks ago and had two really good days. Todd and the guys really learned a lot, and hopefully, that will pay off when we get to the track this weekend. We were pretty fast here last year and started on the front row. We should be even better this time back, and hopefully, we can contend for the win.
"We're going to be aware of the guys in the 'Chase,' but at the same time, we're here to win too. I think we can pay that spoiler role just as much as anyone. We are disappointed that we didn't make the 'Chase' this year, but we still feel confident that we can get a win before the end of the year. We have put a lot of time into this race, so hopefully it will pay off.
"It will be our last race with Eckrich this season, and we will have a very special military family joining us. Our entire team really enjoys having military families with us during the weekend. It's great to honor them, and it's our way of saying 'thanks' for all their sacrifices. We'd want nothing more than to celebrate with them in Victory Lane on Sunday.
"Since this is our last Eckrich race this season, we have really something special planned this week for our military family. It's going to be our best event yet, and we're all really looking forward to it."
Comments from Eckrich Ford Fusion Crew Chief Todd Parrott:
"We felt pretty good when we left our test session there. We stacked up well against the other guys that were at the test, and we have some good notes. Aric has one race here, but he was fast last year and we feel he should be fast again. Aric really likes this track and drives it really well. We'll give him a good car, and we feel confident that we can have a good race on Sunday."
Richard Petty Motorsports