Almirola to Make Cup Road Race Debut in No. 8 U.S. Army Chevy SONOMA, Calif. (June 17, 2008) -- It's been nearly two months since Aric Almirola has competed in the No. 8 U.S. Army Chevrolet for Dale Earnhardt Inc.The pause in his schedule will...
Almirola to Make Cup Road Race Debut in No. 8 U.S. Army Chevy
SONOMA, Calif. (June 17, 2008) -- It's been nearly two months since Aric Almirola has competed in the No. 8 U.S. Army Chevrolet for Dale Earnhardt Inc.The pause in his schedule will end this weekend at Infineon Raceway where Almirola faces the daunting task of competing in his first Sprint Cup road race.
"I'm not going to sugar coat the degree of difficulty -- it's going to be a tough race," said Almirola, who co-drives the No. 8 Army ride with veteran Mark Martin.
Almirola's only competitive experience at a road course was last summer in the Nationwide race in Montreal, where he-put on an impressive performance with an 11th-place finish in the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing entry.
But competing in NASCAR's premiere level at the highly technical, 11-turn Infineon circuit, presents a few more challenges for the 24-year-old Almirola.
"My plan is simple -- to stay on the pavement and not make too many mistakes," offered Almirola. "I need to be patient and not over do it in the turns. It's all about feeling comfortable in a new environment."
The Sonoma event will be Almirola's fourth of his scheduled 12 races in 2008. He finished eighth in Bristol, Tenn. in his first race of the year. He also competed in Martinsville and Talladega. He had a mechanical problem in Martinsville and suffered a flat tire under green flag conditions in Talladega. The combination of Almirola and Martin has the No. 8 DEI team 15th in owner points after 15 Cup races.
"I just want to run a smart race and get as many owner points as I can for DEI and the Army," said Almirola. "I have spent a lot of time preparing for this race."
Almirola took road racing lessons from Chris Cook, an instructor at Infineon Raceway and also tested at Virginia International Raceway (VIR).
Almirola will also drive the Army Chevrolet Impala SS in next week's Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.