Watkins Glen: Aric Almirola preview

The Glen Begins Busy Month for Almirola WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (Aug. 5, 2008) -- Aric Almirola returns to NASCAR Sprint Cup racing, driving the No. 8 U.S. Army Chevroletin this weekend's road race at Watkins Glen International. It will be the ...

The Glen Begins Busy Month for Almirola

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (Aug. 5, 2008) -- Aric Almirola returns to NASCAR Sprint Cup racing, driving the No. 8 U.S. Army Chevroletin this weekend's road race at Watkins Glen International.

It will be the sixth Cup race of the season for the 24-year-old rookie and his first since last month'sannouncement that he will pilotthe No. 8 entry full-time for Dale Earnhardt Inc. in 2009.

Almirola, who has been sharing the No. 8 ride with Mark Martin, is scheduled to compete in 12 Cup races this season, including three in the next four weeks. His last Cup race was June 29 in New Hampshire.

Though a road course venue might not be a favorite setting at this stage of his career, Almirola is looking forward to thechallenge afterclaiming a respectable outingin his first career Cup road race in Juneat Infineon Raceway in Sonoma,Calif.

"Once I started to get a hang of racing on a road course I actually started to like it," said Almirola, who finished 28th in Sonoma. "The goal for Watkins Glen will be the same as in Sonoma --to keep all four tires on the pavement and get the best finish possible in the soldiers' car."

Tony Gibson, crew chief for the No. 8 team, was impressed with Almirola's road course debut in Sonoma and feels the young talent from Tampa, Fla.will continueto bea quick study.

"Aric did everything we asked of him -- and more," said Gibson of Almirola's performance in Sonoma. "He kept the car out of trouble, stayed on the lead lap and improved as the race went on. He's a quick learner, who has loads of talent."

Sunday's event in upstate New York will be the start of three Cup races in a four-week span for Almirola, who will also drive the No. 8 Chevy Impala SS at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway (Aug. 23) and at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif (Aug. 31).

"Don't get me wrong, I am fortunate to learn from Mark (Martin), but being on the sidelines is not any fun," said Almirola. "I want to get in there and be part of the action. I am really looking forward to the next four weeks, driving the Army Chevy and representing our brave soldiers."

Along with Watkins Glen being his sixth Cup race of the season, it will also mark Almirola's 12th career Cup start. He drove in six Cup races last year.

-credit: dei

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