Aric Almirola: "I know the word ‘excited’ is way over-used"

Press Conference with: Aric Almirola – No. 43 Smithfield Ford Fusion

DO YOU THINK SOME OF THE ISSUE AROUND RICHARD PETTY’S COMMENTS CENTER ON THEY DIDN’T HEAR THE AUDIO? SOMETIMES WORDS IN PRINT OR TEXTS CAN BE MISUNDERSTOOD. “That’s the thing. People always talk about, especially me, I’d rather pick up the phone and call somebody than text them or email them because there’s no emotion in text or email. In text and a newspaper or website there’s no emotion in that. You can’t see his facial expression. You can’t hear what was talked about pre- and post- that one liner, so there is a lot that goes into it. People love a story.

Aric Almirola, Marcos Ambrose, Richard Petty
Aric Almirola, Marcos Ambrose, Richard Petty

Photo by: Getty Images

We all know that. People love drama, so he said one sentence that got taken out of context and blown up all over the media and now it’s gone viral. I’m sure if you asked him if he could take it back he probably would, but, at the end of the day, he said it and what he probably meant is exactly what I’m telling you. For those expectations of people to think, ‘Hey, is Danica Patrick gonna win a race this year?’ Maybe, but the likelihood probably not.

I’ll go on record saying that, too. I think it’s just tough. I’m telling you, look at guys like Denny Hamlin. He goes all year until Homestead without winning a race. Dale Jr. goes all year and doesn’t win a race. You guys are the ones that know all the statistics on all the drivers who have these winless streaks. It’s not easy. If it was easy, everybody would do it and I think she does a damn good job. I think the time will come that she will go to victory lane and that’s about all I have to say about that.”

DO YOU FOLLOW OTHER SERIES? “Occasionally, but we don’t have time to really follow that many other series because we stay so busy and we’re on the road traveling all the time. I occasionally catch and F-1 race or qualifying and stuff like that, but mostly I put all my focus and attention on NASCAR. I like to go to Sprint Car races every once in a while when I can bum a ride from Tony Stewart and fly with him and go watch his Sprint Cars race, but, other than that, I’m totally focused on what we’ve got going on in NASCAR.”

ARE THERE ANY DRIVERS YOU’D LIKE TO SEE TAKE A CRACK AT CUP? “I don’t know. I think it would be interesting to see Sebastian Vettel. He’s dominated so well over there in F1 – for him to come over here and give it a go. You look at Juan Pablo, Kimi Raikkonen, Dario Franchitti – I know he wasn’t in F1, but he was in IndyCar – you look at those guys that have run that open wheel stuff and they come over to this sport and I know it’s different for them and it’s obviously out of their element because they’ve grown up open-wheel racing and have raced those cars that have half as much horsepower as we have and four times the amount of downforce, so it’s very different. I know if I went and did that I would be completely out of my element as well, but you see those guys come over to our sport and they don’t succeed and they’ don’t run as well as everybody expects them to, and that tells me how great and how competitive our sport is and how tough it is.”

ANY CUP DRIVERS WHO COULD TRY F1? “I think so. I’m biased obviously because I race in this sport and I think we have the largest talent pool in any motorsports there is in the world, and I think these are some of the best drivers in the world. I think if you put Jimmie Johnson or Jeff Gordon or Tony Stewart or Matt Kenseth or you could go down the list, there is guy after guy in our garage area that I think could go overseas and get in an F1 car and be extremely competitive.”

DO YOU HAVE A CAR COLLECTION? “I don’t. I learned at a young age to not collect cars because they collect dust and the batteries go dead.”

DO YOU LIKE OLD CARS? “I like old cars a lot. I honestly don’t have a dream car. I’d like one of those Ford GT40s. That would be pretty cool. Maybe we can get Edsel to work on that, but I really don’t. There’s no car that I think is cool enough to just store in my garage and drive every once in a while. I’m a very practical person and a very frugal person. I have a pick-up truck, and F-250 as a matter of fact, that gets me from point A to point B and that’s all I need. I don’t need anything else.”

WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ON THE NEW RULES. MARCOS SAID IT HELPS TEAMS LIKE YOURS, DO YOU AGREE? “I think it does. I think it absolutely helps teams like ours. We have a team that doesn’t have a humongous notebook to go back and look at things, so to start fresh and start clean with a clean sheet of paper on all these new rules and the way that we can set these cars up is great for us. And also to have Trent Owens as our crew chief and being fresh and new in the Sprint Cup garage with a whole new set of ideas and he can put those to use because we’re starting from scratch. We need new ideas because we have a new car, and a new setup, and new setup procedures, so I think it’s gonna be great. I think it’s gonna really show what our team is capable of and all the resources that Smithfield has put into RPM this year and the things we’ve been able to do – the on-track testing, the off-track testing as far as the windtunnel and seven-post and all that stuff, I think all of that is gonna show up when we start hitting the race track.”

YOUR THOUGHTS ON SPEEDWEEKS BEING HERE. “I know the word ‘excited’ is way over-used, especially when we get down here for media day in Daytona, but ‘excited’ is the perfect word to talk about Richard Petty Motorsports and specifically this 43 team. We just have so much good momentum going behind our team throughout this off-season and we’re ready. We’ve tested more times this off-season than I’ve ever tested. We’re doing everything we can in our power to come out of the box strong. To win this Daytona 500 would be amazing. I grew up two hours away in Tampa, Florida, so I’ve sat in those grandstands and watch many races and dreamed of what it would be like to run around this race track or race on this race track. But what it would be like to win the Daytona 500 would be unbelievable. You couldn’t dream something up like that, so, hopefully next Sunday I’ll have to figure out a way to talk about that.”


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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Matt Kenseth , Tony Stewart , Kimi Raikkonen , Dario Franchitti , Jimmie Johnson , Richard Petty , Marcos Ambrose , Trent Owens , Denny Hamlin , Sebastian Vettel , Aric Almirola , Danica Patrick
Teams Richard Petty Motorsports
Article type Interview
Tags aric almirola, daytona, ford, nascar-cup