Ford Performance NASCAR: Almirola Anxious To Try New Rules Package at Kentucky Speedway

by Official Release On Fri, Jul. 10, 2015

Ford Performance NSCS Notes and Quotes
Quaker State 400 Advance – Kentucky Speedway
Friday, July 10, 2015

Aric Almirola, driver of the No. 43 Smithfield Ford Fusion, addressed the media this morning before NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice at Kentucky Speedway and talked about not only this weekend’s race, but his chances of making the Chase field for the second straight year.

ARIC ALMIROLA – No. 43 Smithfield Ford Fusion – WHAT HAS IT BEEN LIKE THIS WEEK FROM YOUR STANDPOINT WITH ALL OF THIS RAIN?  “It’s been tough.  As race car drivers we kind of get focused and get our minds set on something and we get ready to go do it.  Being here this weekend and come in the garage and see the new rules package and be anxious to go drive it and see how it feels, and then just sit around kind of stinks.  Hopefully, we’ll get a few laps in here before it rains again.”

WITH ALL THE UNPREDICTABILITY OF RAIN DELAYS AND THE NEW RULES PACKAGE WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU AS FAR AS LACK OF PRACTICE TIME FOR THE RACE?  “It means that whoever’s computer comes up with the best setup is probably gonna have a good weekend.  When we go through weekends like this, where we do have a new rules package coming here to Kentucky Speedway and not getting much practice, the simulation is gonna be really important.  Hopefully, we’ve got all of our I’s dotted and T’s crossed with our simulation and hopefully the car will drive really good here for the little bit of practice we’re gonna get.  Then we’ll line it up and go race it and see what happens.”

WHAT’S THE MOST DIFFICULT PART ABOUT GETTING AROUND THIS TRACK.  YOU’VE COMPARED THE FRONSTRETCH TO A MOTOCROSS JUMP.  WHAT’S IT LIKE?  “That’s probably the toughest part.  Having the bumps be as aggressive as they are here you have to run your car higher or else the car bottoms out a lot.  So with running the car higher it becomes a little bit more of a balance for the crew chiefs and engineers to get the car to ride across the bumps smoothly enough without being too harsh, but then to be able to get the car down and low to the race track in the corners, where it’s not as bumpy.  The crew chiefs and engineers fight that and pull their hair out trying to figure out a good setup for here.”

DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT TO EXPECT WITH THIS NEW RULES PACKAGE?  “I honestly have no idea what to expect.  We’ve made similar changes like this at Michigan and Charlotte, but they’ve been with different tires.  As far as I understand, this is the same tire we were gonna run with the 2015 rules package, so I really do not know what to expect.  I’m anxious to find out, but I’m going into it completely blind.  I’m just gonna feel it out and see what happens.”

COULD YOU JUST LINE THE CARS UP AND RUN A RACE TOMORROW WITH NO PRACTICE TIME?  “We could.  We’re professionals.  I think we could go out there and race.  I think there would be some really ugly handling race cars and there would be some guys that hit it right, that their simulation gets them headed in the direction that’s good.  I think it would be a fine balance between taking a shot in the dark and at the same time going off some notes that we have from doing the Michigan test and the Charlotte test, where we went to a similar rules package as this.”

YOU HAVE  A NEW SPONSOR.  CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THAT?  “We’ve announced Armour coming on board with Richard Petty Motorsports.  Armour is a family brand of Smithfield Foods and they’re gearing up with the racing program.  They’re doing something really cool.  If you go to ArmourMeats.com, somebody can win a trip to Homestead for the race in Miami.  I’m looking forward to that and looking forward to meeting whoever the winning contestant is in Miami.”

IS THERE ANY SORT OF NERVOUSNESS WITH THE RAIN AND WEEPERS?  “Honestly, there’s nothing I can do about it.  If I could control the weather, I wouldn’t be driving race cars.  It is what it is.  If it rains, it rains and we’ll just figure it out.  Like I said, we’re all professionals.  We’ll all go and figure out how to make the best of it.”

A YEAR AGO AT THIS TIME YOU WERE COMING OFF A WIN AT DAYTONA AND KNEW YOU WERE IN THE CHASE.  IT’S  A DIFFERENT SCENARIO THIS YEAR.  WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO DO TO QUALIFY WITH NINE RACES TO GO?  “We just need to run like we’ve been running.  We’ve got to execute and we’ve got to take advantage of everything we can.  We’ve got to be more consistent like we have been and run top-15, and we can’t have anymore mistakes from here to Richmond.  We’ve got to finish races and can’t have any DNF’s.  We’ve got to put pressure on some of the guys ahead of us in points to hope they make mistakes.”

ANY CONCERNS ABOUT THIS WEEKEND?  “I think we all have a little bit of concern with what it’s going to drive like.  We don’t know yet, but we’re getting ready to find out in practice.  At the end of the day we’re all professionals.  Race car drivers will get in anything and go drive it, so we’ll adapt.  That’s what we do.  We adapt to however the car is driving from weekend to weekend or whatever rules package we’ve got.  I think it’s important for the crew chiefs and engineers to get some laps and understand where their travels are gonna be, to understand how the car is gonna react to different changes compared to the different rules packages we’ve had in the past.  I’m anxious.  I’m excited to go drive it and I’m excited to see how the race is gonna play out, to be honest with you.  I know the hope is that we’ll be able to race more side-by-side and pass each other, so I’m looking forward to seeing if that’s the case.”

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