Ford Performance NASCAR: Kansas 2 Aric Almirola Media Availability

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Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)

Hollywood Casino 400 (Kansas Speedway)

Friday, October 19, 2018


Aric Almirola, driver of the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Fusion, fresh off his win last weekend at Talladega, met with media members ahead of the first practice session this weekend in Kansas with a spot in the third round of the NASCAR playoffs cemented.


ARIC ALMIROLA, No. 10 Smithfield Ford Fusion — WAS THERE SOMETHING THIS WEEK THAT REALLY MADE THE WIN SINK IN FOR YOU? “I think the one thing that kind of hit home for me was when we were at the shop talking with Johnny and talking about Martinsville, Texas, Phoenix. Those are the three races we have left besides this one and we are already looking ahead. For me, sitting down and talking about that, we are literally racing for a championship all the way to the end of the year. We will find out in the second to last race of the year whether or not we are going to have the opportunity to go to Homestead to race for a championship. That is an incredible feeling to know we are right in the thick of it all the way down to the wire. That is something I have never had in my career. It is a really good feeling and it hit home for me thinking about going into that round of eight and battling for a spot in the final four at Homestead.”


YOU ARE DOING THE TIRES TEST TUESDAY AT CHARLOTTE. CAN YOU LEARN MUCH ABOUT THAT PACKAGE WITH JUST FOUR OF YOU THERE? “I don’t know but I know it is good to get experience and laps on the track with the new Ford Mustang. That is the important thing for us, to wrap our hands and heads around not only the new package – we have a pretty good idea on the new package with the Ford Fusion at the All-Star race – but just kind of working through some aero stuff and some different things with that new Ford Mustang. There has been a lot of behind the scenes work getting ready to unveil the Ford Mustang for 2019 and then now to put that to application on the race track, we will be the first ones to have a Ford Mustang on the race track making competitive laps with it. That will be just a good opportunity for us to collect data. I don’t think we will put too much stock into the raceability or anything like that because there are only a handful of cars and we are expecting more pack style racing there. It won’t be as much about that as it will be just getting data on a brand new race car for us.”


WHAT IS THE CHALLENGE THIS WEEKEND WHEN IN ONE SENSE IT DOESN’T MATTER? I KNOW PLAYOFF POINTS MATTER, BUT YOU DON’T NEED TO WIN. “There is really no step back for us. If anything I think it allows us to be less guarded. Coming to Kansas, there is no downside and only opportunity for upside. If we wreck on lap one, it doesn’t matter. We are still going to the Round of 8. If we win both stages and win the race, we can have seven more points when the points reset next week. So that is really what we are looking at. Everybody would love to have that bet in their stock portfolio, right? You can only go up. You can’t go down. That is what we have. That is the opportunity we have ahead of us. There is no down side going into this weekend and only potential for upside.”


WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE ROUND OF 8, YOU WILL PROBABLY NEED TO EITHER WIN ONE OF THOSE OR FINISH AT LEAST TOP-FIVE IN ALL THREE. DO YOU THINK YOU CAN WIN ONE? “I think that is two-fold. You have to run top-five, no doubt about that. We are going to have to run top-five and run up front. Running 15th at any point in those three races is not going to be good enough. But when you run top-five, you are putting yourself in position to win. You look at all these races this year and there have been races where we have been the dominant car. Chicago, Loudon, and we didn’t win. Then you look at Keselowski at Indy, he was not the dominant car and didn’t have the best car but he won. Darlington, Dover. The dominant car was the 4 and then when he had his trouble we were the next best car and Chase wins. You don’t have to be the dominant car to win, you have to run top-five. I don’t think it changes anything for us going into that Round of 8. You have to do what we have been doing and I feel like if you look back at our last couple of months, we have been a top-five, top-seven car. If we keep doing that, it will put us in position to capitalize on opportunities to win races.”


Greg Engle
About Greg Engle 7421 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.