Electrical Problem Curtails Almirola's Strong Driving Performance PHOENIX (Nov. 11, 2007) --- The 26th-place finish was not nearly indicative of the solid driving effort by rookie Aric Almirola in Sunday's Nextel Cup race. The 23-year-old U.S.
Electrical Problem Curtails Almirola's Strong Driving Performance
PHOENIX (Nov. 11, 2007) --- The 26th-place finish was not nearly indicative of the solid driving effort by rookie Aric Almirola in Sunday's Nextel Cup race.
The 23-year-old U.S. Army driver, who was starting only his sixth career Cup race, was on course of posting a top-15 finish at Phoenix International Raceway. But on Lap 140 of 312, the alternator in his 01 Chevrolet shut down, causing a number of power issues and forcing Almirola to drive a handicapped car through the tight corners at the one-mile oval.
"Aric had his hands full, but did an outstanding job under adverse conditions," said crew chief Ryan Pemberton. "We had to cut back power inside the car to finish the race. What really hurt was not being able to use the brake blowers like we needed to. The brakes were getting too hot and Aric was not able to get into the corners with full power. That was costly to say the least."
Before the alternator malfunctioned, Almirola was running in the mid to high teens and on the lead lap.
"It was a challenge getting the Army Chevy through the corners," said Almirola. "Because we didn't have full braking function, I couldn't get after it as hard as I needed to. We were on a good run until the alternator quit. Though it was disappointing about what happened, it did feel good to be competitive and finish a race. However, it would have been nice to bring home a better result for the Army, especially on Veterans Day."
Sunday's race was the last Cup event of the season for Almirola, who has been sharing the 01 Army ride with veteran Mark Martin since August. Almirola will continue to share the Army ride with Martin in 2008.
"This has been a great opportunity to co-drive the Army Chevy with Mark and be part of Dale Earnhardt Inc.," added Almirola, whose 26th-place result was the best of his six career Cup starts. "This was a positive performance today, which makes me even more excited about next year."
The 01 DEI team remains 17th in owner points.