No-Excuse Almirola Sets High Expectations LOUDON, N.H. (Sept. 10, 2008) -- When you have limited experience and competing with veterans, it's only natural to set a conservative goal. Unless you're Aric Almirola, a co-driver of the No. 8 U.S.
No-Excuse Almirola Sets High Expectations
LOUDON, N.H. (Sept. 10, 2008) -- When you have limited experience and competing with veterans, it's only natural to set a conservative goal. Unless you're Aric Almirola, a co-driver of the No. 8 U.S. Army Chevrolet in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
The 24-year-old Almirola has absolutely no intention of using a part-time driving schedule as an excuse for Sunday's Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Though he will start in only his ninth Cup race of the season and 15th of his career, Almirola has the confidence of a seasoned veteran and feels his No. 8 U.S. Army/Dale Earnhardt Inc. team has the potential of posting a top-10 finish.
"To say that we can finish in the top 10 at New Hampshire is simply a realistic expectation," said Almirola, who shares the No. 8 Chevy Impala SS ride with Mark Martin. "I know this team and know how well we have done in the past. That's why I feel upbeat and confident about driving the soldiers' car this weekend."
Almirola and the No. 8 team have indeed shared success this season -- finishing eighth and 13th at the two races in Bristol, Tenn. The 13th-place finish in August could have easily been a top 10, but a pit-road miscue late in the race cost Almirola at least four positions.
In New Hampshire's June race, Almirola started 39th and moved to the top 15 before being spun out and hitting the wall. He managed to finish the rain-shortened event 23rd.
"With my limited driving time, it feels nice to go back to the same track," said Almirola, who will be making his second Cup start at the New England facility. "I thought we were coming on strong at the last race in New Hampshire before I got hit from behind. I really like this track - it reminds me of the tracks I grew up on."
"It's hard not to get pumped about this weekend," added Almirola. "I am driving instead of watching and feel we have the potential to knock down a pretty good finish."
Following New Hampshire, Almirola is scheduled to drive in three more Cup races -- Talladega (Oct. 5), Martinsville (Oct. 19) and Phoenix (Nov. 9).