From Fascination to Reality, Almirola is Ready for Martinsville Cup Debut MARTINSVILLE, Va. (Oct. 17, 2007) -- As an open-wheel modified racer growing up in Tampa Bay, Fla., Aric Almirola would watch as many NASCAR Cup events on television as...
From Fascination to Reality, Almirola is Ready for Martinsville Cup Debut
MARTINSVILLE, Va. (Oct. 17, 2007) -- As an open-wheel modified racer growing up in Tampa Bay, Fla., Aric Almirola would watch as many NASCAR Cup events on television as time would allow. His teenage schedule was hectic --along with the weekly races in which he competed, there was also the parental rule of homework before pleasure.
But the young Almirola would always seem to find time on Sunday afternoons to catch the Cup races at Martinsville Speedway, the shortest oval on the NASCAR circuit.
"I was always fascinated with the Martinsville races," said Almirola. "Short, flat tracks are what I grew up on and it was a learning experience to watch the pros braking and then maneuvering through the tight corners."
Though the 23-year-old Almirola has competed in two late model races and two Craftsman truck events at Martinsville, Sunday's Subway 500 will be his first Cup event at the half-mile track. It will also be his fifth career Cup race and his fourth in the 01 U.S. Army Chevrolet.
In his three previous Cup races with the Dale Earnhardt Inc./Army team, Almirola has had a best finish of 30th, which came two weeks ago at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.
"It's been a learning experience for all of us and I feel we are close to putting it all together," added Almirola. "But the first priority is to have a solid and consistent run in the soldiers' car. If we can do that, then a strong finish will most likely follow. I am not worrying about the result, it's the overall performance that counts at this stage."
Almirola claimed respectable results at Martinsville during the 2005 Craftsman truck season with finishes of 18th and 16th respectively.
"The veterans will say that this is one of the hardest tracks and I don't disagree," noted Almirola. "From my experience in the trucks and late models, it's easy to be too aggressive at Martinsville. It's a long day with 500 laps and you want to have all of the fenders on the car and be able to race at the end."
Almirola, who joined DEI in mid July, is sharing the Army ride with Mark Martin. The twosome will also co-drive the Army Chevy during the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup season.