Aric Almirola and the No. 43 Jani-King/STP Ford team improved their finishing position by four spots from the spring to fall races last season, eighth and fourth, respectively. This weekend they are looking to improve by another four spots and take the historic No. 43 back to victory lane in Sunday's STP Gas Booster 500.
The last time the iconic No. 43 won was when John Andretti drove the No. 43 STP car to victory lane at Martinsville Speedway in 1999. The No. 43 has a solid history at the .526-mile track as it holds the most wins at Martinsville Speedway with 16 wins, 15 captured by Richard Petty himself.
The partners joining the team this week include old and new. One of Richard Petty Motorsports newest partners, Jani-King, will make their 2013 debut on the hood, while STP will boast the Gas Booster logos on the sides of the No. 43.
Almirola's paint scheme will commemorate STP's relationship with Petty and the first time the STP logo was on Petty's car at Riverside in 1972.
Comments from Jani-King/STP Ford Fusion Driver Aric Almirola:
"Our team did a great job at Martinsville last year. We had two top-10 finishes - first an eighth and then up to fourth in the fall. We're hoping we can move up another four spots and get to victory lane. It would be really special to win there. We have STP on the car, the same as the last win for the 43 car, and they are the race sponsor too. We also have Jani-King riding on the hood, and they are a great company. They came on board last year as our partner. We'll have a lot of people here this weekend, so it will be nice to have a good run.
"History means a lot to me, so to be driving the Riverside paint scheme this weekend is a huge honor. Richard has the most clocks from Martinsville, but I know he would really like to add another to his collection. I sure would love to put one in my house too. Todd (Parrott) really knows what it takes to get a car around this track. I feel good that we will have another good run on Sunday and gain a lot of points.
"This is a difficult track to be successful. It is really hard on equipment. You really have to take care of the car and start well to be there at the end. I think last year we had a car that almost looked like it did when it left the shop after the race. We just stayed pretty clean during both races, and that makes a big difference the last 100 laps."
Comments from Crew Chief Todd Parrott on Martinsville:
"We had a really good finish at Martinsville last fall. Aric does a really good job of taking care of the car, especially the brakes, which is so important at Martinsville. Qualifying is also really important since it's a short track and hard to pass. We will work really hard on Friday to make sure we have a good starting spot for Sunday. We finished fourth last year, so now we really want the win - especially with all of the history Petty has here."