Almirola ride momentum to California

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Team worked hard to improve car setup after Vegas; Ready to compete for win

After a taste of victory at Bristol Motor Speedway, Aric Almirola is ready to head west and compete for the win at Auto Club Speedway. Posting his career-best finish last week was definitely a good shot in the arm for the Richard Petty Motorsports driver, and the No. 43 Farmland Ford team hopes to ride that momentum and get the "Petty Blue" Ford back into victory lane. Last year, the team assembled four consecutive top-10s starting in Texas. They hope the top-five finish at Bristol will start another streak of top finishes.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Aric Almirola
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Aric Almirola

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

After running the new rules package at Las Vegas, Crew Chief Trent Owens and team feel they know what to do to get the No. 43 Farmland Ford handling well at an intermediate track. With nine NASCAR Series starts under his belt, Almirola is poised to make waves in California. His best Sprint Cup finish at the track came last season when he brought the "Petty Blue" Ford home 14th. Owens isn't a stranger to the two-mile track either. He has nine starts as a Nationwide crew chief and collected two top-five and seven top-10 finishes, including his best finish of second with Brian Vickers in 2009.

"Last week gave our team a lot of momentum going into this weekend. It showed that all of our hard work and all the investment from our partners like Smithfield Foods and Farmland is paying off. We have shown speed everywhere we've gone this year, we just haven't seen the results to prove it. We did just that last week.

"We weren't happy with our result at Vegas for sure and last weekend helped us bounce back. We haven't forgotten about that though, and Trent (Owens) and the guys have been working really hard to bring a car that will race well on Sunday at California.

"California is a fun track. I so much enjoy going to the kind of race track where the asphalt is old and worn out. I wish there was a way to repave these racetracks with old asphalt. It would allow Goodyear to bring a tire that is softer and makes a bigger difference. When we go to California, the difference from the first lap on the race track to lap 20 is often times two seconds slower. When the caution comes out, you want to get four fresh tires. You can go anywhere on the race track, too. It seems like the track is getting rougher each year we come, and that makes it a challenge for the crew chiefs and the engineers to figure out how to get the car as low to the ground as they can but without bottoming out on those bumps. I'm confident our team can put together a package that will make us competitive on Sunday."

Richard Petty Motorsports

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Series NASCAR-CUP
Article type Preview
Tags aric almirola, auto club speedway, richard petty motorsports