Talladega II: Aric Almirola preview

Talladega Study Continues for Almirola TALLADEGA, Ala. (Oct. 1, 2008) -- Aric Almirola passed his initial tests at Talladega Superspeedway, but the U.S. Army driver feels he has not quite reached a point of receiving a diploma from NASCAR's ...

Talladega Study Continues for Almirola

TALLADEGA, Ala. (Oct. 1, 2008) -- Aric Almirola passed his initial tests at Talladega Superspeedway, but the U.S. Army driver feels he has not quite reached a point of receiving a diploma from NASCAR's biggest track.

Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Talladega will be Almirola's third start at the 2.66-mile oval, where he has had mixed results in the finishing column at the last two races.

Will the third time be the charm for the 24-year-old rookie?

"The first thing I learned about Talladega is never to make a prediction and always expect the unexpected," said Almirola, who shares the No. 8 ride with veteran Mark Martin. "I was okay with my performances in the last two Talladega races and feel if we can avoid the wrecks and mechanical failures, the Army Chevy Impala SS will be running in the lead pack. I am looking to deliver a strong race for our Soldiers."

In his Talladega Cup debut last October, Almirola was running in the lead draft with track position in the top 20 when his engine expired on Lap 156 of 180.

His luck wasn't much better in this year's spring race at the Alabama track. Almirola charged from the back to the front early before a flat tire and an ensuing pit-road speeding penalty put him two laps down. He finished 33rd.

"Aric has done an outstanding job at Talladega for making only two starts there," noted Army crew chief Tony Gibson. "We're confident that if we can avoid the Talladega mess we're going to have a good day."

The Talladega race will mark Almirola's 10th Sprint Cup race of the season and the 16th of his career. His two best results came this season at Bristol Motor Speedway where he posted finishes of eighth and 13th. He finished 18th in his last Cup start -- Sept. 14 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

"I am pleased with the progress that we've made this year," offered Almirola, who is scheduled to drive in two more Cup races after Talladega. "This is a good team -- we're 15th in owner points and only 50 points away from 13th. I am looking forward to finishing off the season with some strong results."

-credit: dei

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Aric Almirola , Mark Martin