Ford Performance NASCAR: Texas 2 Aric Almirola Media Availability

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Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)

AAA Texas 500 (Texas Motor Speedway)

Friday, November 2, 2018

Aric Almirola, driver of the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Fusion, met with media members prior to opening Cup Series practice at Texas Motor Speedway Friday morning.

 

ARIC ALMIROLA, No. 10 Smithfield Ford Fusion — NEXT WEEK AT PHOENIX WITH THE STARTING LINE MOVED, HOW WILL THAT CHANGE THINGS THERE? “I think it will just make the restarts really hectic and interesting. We are not allowed to pass until we get to the start-finish line so I think when you look at Phoenix with the start-finish line being before the dogleg, I would imagine that we will cross the start-finish line and be nine-wide going though the dog leg and then try to figure out how to get back to two-wide by the time we get to the new turn one. That is a really flat, tricky corner. Running much more than two-wide is pretty difficult through there. I am sure it will fan out and get really exciting. I think when it gets down late in the race the restarts will be really, really intense and chaotic with guys trying to make moves in desperation and trying to make that final round of four.”

 

“You can run two-wide through the old three and four, the new one and two I guess it will be. YOu can run two-wide pretty comfortably through there. I think there is potential for us to be four, five, six-wide going through that dog leg. We have seen that when it was just the back straight away, so now going through the gears will be pretty crazy.”

 

YOU WON AT TALLADEGA WHEN YOU HAD TO, DO YOU FEEL YOU ARE BACK IN THAT POSITION AGAIN TO HAVE TO WIN ONE OF THE NEXT TWO? “I feel like the situation we were in going into the playoffs that the only round where we could make it through on points was the first round. Once we got through the first round, at that point, we were far enough behind on bonus points that we were going to need to win. You can’t count on that many people in front of you on points having worse weekends than you. There is a reason that the guys are who they are. The top-eight or top-12, it is because they always run the top-10. They are the same people challenging to win races. You can’t bank on just out-pointing them. We are in a similar situation where we are showing up here and we are like 50 points out. You aren’t going to make that up in two weeks. It is pretty plain an simple for us. We have to go win.”

 

WHAT IS IT LIKE BEING TEAMMATES WITH YOUR SHR GUYS? “It has been incredible to have their experience. You look at Kevin and Kurt, they are champions. To be able to lean on them and learn from them and study their driving techniques and everything about the way they approach the weekend, practice, debrief after final practice on Saturday and the things that they are looking for out of their race cars on Saturday to make sure that they are good on Sunday. They have so much knowledge and so much history at all these race tracks that they know what they are looking for. They know the feel they are looking for. Then you have Clint (Bowyer) who has been very successful in our sport and won a bunch of races. Challenged for a championship a few times and came up just barely short. He finished second or third in points on a couple different occasions. They are really talented race car drivers and I get to work alongside them and learn from them. I am the youngest guy of the group so it feels nice to be able to have that experience to lean on.”

 

CAN YOU TAKE ME THROUGH A LAP THERE AND THE WAY YOU HAVE TO DRIVE IT NOW WITH THE REPAVE AND RECONFIGURATION VERSUS THEY WAY YOU USED TO DRIVE TEXAS? “Yeah, Texas of a few years ago was really fast but the tires started to wear out and the pavement started to get abrasive and wear on the tires similar to like Atlanta, Chicago type of place. Then now they have reconfigured the track and repaved it so the tires don’t wear out and we are going insanely fast around this place. In turn three and four, there is so much grip and the bottom is the fastest way around the race track right now because the repave has so much grip there. You have to kind of run in the rubber. Where the rubber is not laid down the track is very slick. In turn one and two it is weird because you are going so fast when you get there and then with the reduced banking with the reconfiguration, in a way you kind of have to tiptoe through there. Most 1.5 mile race tracks we go to you are really aggressive and you rifle the car off into the corner and the banking kind of holds the car and you kind of just get after it. If you do that in turn three and four here you are fine but in one and two you are running 210 mph, 212 mph when you get there and then you kind of have to let way out of the gas and use some brake and kind of tiptoe through there. It is so flat that the car is just not as stuck to the race track. Then with it being a repave you kind of have to wait for the track to rubber in before you can even really try to attack it. When I say attack it, it is very cautiously.”

 

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