Recent Performances Have Almirola, No. 8 Team Excited About Martinsville MARTINSVILLE, Va. (Oct. 15, 2008) -- Sunday's Sprint Cup event at Martinsville Speedway will be Aric Almirola's 11th of 12 scheduled races in 2008, driving the No 8 U.S.
Recent Performances Have Almirola, No. 8 Team Excited About Martinsville
MARTINSVILLE, Va. (Oct. 15, 2008) -- Sunday's Sprint Cup event at Martinsville Speedway will be Aric Almirola's 11th of 12 scheduled races in 2008, driving the No 8 U.S. Army Chevrolet for Dale Earnhardt Inc.
Though he has driven in only one-third of the Cup races, the 24-year-old rookie has come on strong -- claiming three top-20 finishes in his last four events, including a 18.5 finishing average during this period. His results in his last four races were: 13th at Bristol, 30th at California, 18th at New Hampshire and 13th at Talladega.
Almirola's recent performances have been gratifying, but not surprising to his mentor and driving teammate -- Mark Martin.
"What Aric has done in a short time is what I've always felt -- that he has all the tools to be a successful driver in the Cup series," said Martin. "He's been an excellent student and it is evident to me that he has a great future in this sport."
Almirola said he has been encouraged, but not satisfied with his late-season results.
"Unless I am running with the leaders you'll never hear me say that I am satisfied," offered Almirola. "But looking how far we have come, I feel good about the future of this No. 8 DEI team. We have a talented crew at the track and the same type of excellent talent back at the shop. It's all good and I am looking forward to my final two races of the season along with driving the No. 8 Chevy Impala SS full time next year."
Almirola, whose best finish of the season was eighth at the spring race in Bristol, feels confident about capturing another solid result in Sunday's Tums QuikPak 500. For the record, he qualified third at the spring event in Martinsville, but in the race a punctured radiator sent him home early from the half-mile track with a 42nd-place finish.
"That was sure deflating to leave Martinsville the way we did after a strong qualifying effort and two excellent practice sessions in race trim," recalled Almirola. "We were coming off the eighth-place run in Bristol and felt that we were as good or better in Martinsville. But while short track racing is fun, the bumping and banging also takes a toll on the equipment as it did with our radiator."
Almirola's next race in the No. 8 Army Chevy will be the season finale in Homestead, Fla, Nov. 16.