Aric Almirola and the No. 43 Farmland team head to Kansas Speedway a couple days early this week to participate in a two-day test on the newly repaved track. But there's one "test" that this partnership has already passed - that together they can raise awareness for hunger relief.
The Farmland Foods paint scheme on Almirola's Ford Fusion marks the success of "Bacon a Difference," a summer-long campaign that raised funds for Harvesters-The Community Food Network. With each package of Farmland bacon purchased from Memorial Day to Labor Day in the Kansas City area, Farmland pledged to donate 4.3 cents to the area food bank, with a minimum donation of $43,000. Total funds raised will be announced by Farmland, Harvesters and race team owner Richard Petty at a special event on Thursday in Kansas City, Mo.
In addition, Farmland has already pledged to double the donation if Almirola wins Sunday's Hollywood Casino 400 at the 1.5-mile oval. The driver has as good a shot as anyone in the field, with the racing surface being new to everyone. Almirola has one previous Sprint Cup start at Kansas Speedway before the repave - a 23rd-place finish in April of this season. He's coming off a 12th-place finish at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway last weekend, where his fast Ford Fusion ran in the top 15 the entire race.
Comments from Farmland Ford Fusion Driver Aric Almirola:
"It'll be great to go back to Kansas with Farmland on our No. 43 Ford Fusion. Farmland is headquartered in Kansas City, so we obviously want to have a good showing at their home track. We'll also be celebrating a successful 'Bacon a Difference' campaign for hunger relief. We sometimes take it for granted that we can go to the store and buy food for our families. We don't often think about how some people can't. So we were proud to help bring awareness to this campaign all summer and now celebrate its success with Farmland and Harvesters on our car this weekend.
"Kansas Speedway is a whole new ballgame with the new pavement and the added banking, so it'll be good to get out there and test for a couple days, get a feel for it and collect some data. Our mile-and-a-half program has progressed a lot since the first trip to Kansas this year - something I think we proved last Saturday at Charlotte. And we're taking a car that's run well on mile-and-a-half's, so I can't wait to get on the track and put together another good weekend with this No. 43 Farmland team."
Comments from Crew Chief Todd Parrott on Kansas:
"The Kansas track was repaved after our last race there and they also added some variable banking, so it will be a whole new track when we get there. But we've got two days of testing Wednesday and Thursday to go run all over it and collect some data to help us prepare for the race weekend. The track will be smooth and fast and have a lot of grip, which will put a lot more emphasis on track position for us, so we'll look to qualify well on Friday to give us a good starting spot for Sunday."