Martinsville: Aric Almirola preview

Almirola Keeps Wave of Momentum in Check MARTINSVILLE, Va. (March 25, 2008) - After posting a stellar eighth-place finish in his first NASCAR Sprint Cup start of the season nearly two weeks ago in Bristol, Tenn., Aric Almirola is approaching ...

Almirola Keeps Wave of Momentum in Check

MARTINSVILLE, Va. (March 25, 2008) - After posting a stellar eighth-place finish in his first NASCAR Sprint Cup start of the season nearly two weeks ago in Bristol, Tenn., Aric Almirola is approaching this weekend's race at Martinsville Speedway with the maturity of a veteran driver.

"You don't look in reverse in this sport, it's all about going forward," said the 24 year-old Almirola. "What happened in Bristol was good, but that was last week. We need to maintain the consistency."

Though Almirola doesn't like to dwell in the past, no one would blame him if he acted a bit giddy the past week. After all, the Bristol event turned out to be his best finish in seven career Cup starts.

"Bristol was a huge confidence builder for both myself and the U.S. Army team," offered Almirola. "We need to continue what we started in Bristol, and I have all the confidence we will keep on improving."

The modest Almirola would never tell anyone, but when asked, he did acknowledge that his cell phone rang frequently after Bristol with congratulatory calls from fellow drivers, crew members, friends and family. One of the first calls came from Mark Martin, who shares the No. 8 Chevrolet ride with Almirola.

"Mark called me immediately after the race to offer his congratulations," said Almirola. "He is my mentor and that was a big lift to get his feedback."

With the Sprint Cup Series taking Easter weekend off, Almirola had an extra week to ponder Sunday's Goody's Cool Orange 500, his second of 12 scheduled Cup races in 2008.

But the extra week also gave the No. 8 Dale Earnhardt Inc. team an opportunity to conduct a test session at Tri-County Motor Speedway, the .416-mile flat track located in Hudson, N.C.

"We had a great test session and that's one more reason why I am feeling upbeat heading into Martinsville with the soldiers' car," added Almirola. "Our team chemistry is really good and we're having a lot of fun working and being together."

Martinsville Speedway won't be a new venue for Almirola. He has competed at the historic half-mile track five times, but only once in the Cup series, which was last October in an event Almirola would rather store in a memory-lapse bank. He finished 43rd, retiring from the race early (Lap 111 of 500) after a fire ignited under the hood of his car.

"Again,my thought process is all about the future," explained Almirola, who also competed in Martinsville in two late model races and a pair of Craftsman Truck races. "If I do look back it's only to learn from I did right and from what I did wrong. I don't see any good out of what happened in Martinsville the last time I raced there."

-credit: dei

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Aric Almirola , Mark Martin