Aric Almirola is probably working harder than he ever has as a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver and he’s loving every minute of it.
Since joining Stewart-Haas Racing before the start of the 2018 season, Almirola already came a half-a-lap of winning the season-opening Daytona 500 and sits 11th in the series standings, just two points behind 10th place Kyle Larson.
“I’m having a blast. I’m having the time of my life,” Almirola said. “Every time I get on the airplane (to a track), I have a shot to win.
“The SHR organization from the top down is incredible. The amount of people who go every day to the shop to figure out how to make the cars go faster is amazing.”
But Almirola has a role to play in that success as well, and not just as the driver on race day.
Almirola calls himself “self-driver” and his preparation for each weekend’s race goes far beyond watching old race footage.
“I’ll look at my driver data and compare it to my teammates. I write notes every single weekend, throughout the weekend,” Almirola explained. “I’ll log it into my laptop and, after the race is over, I’ll go in and write a race report about how the race went.”
As for what he includes in those reports: “What happened in the race, how I thought the track changed, how the line changed and my driving style changed to adapt to the changing track conditions.”
Almirola does the same after practice sessions, all in an effort to take advantage of the opportunity and resources that SHR has to offer.
He believes the resources at SHR should help him even more this weekend at Dover (Del.) International Speedway, a track which is already one of Almirola’s favorites.
In 11 career starts at Dover, Almirola has two top-five and three top-10 finishes and has completed 98.6 percent of all possible laps SHR as an organization has two victories at Dover – with Tony Stewart in June 2013 and Kevin Harvick in October 2015.
“It’s just a fun place to go to,” Almirola said of Dover. “It’s the one place we go where we are running 170 mph but it feels like you’re going 300 mph. The sensation of speed at Dover is incredible.”