Aric Almirola is riding the momentum of a Top-15 finish in the desert heading into southern California's Auto Club Speedway. The No. 43 Smithfield Ford team scored a 13th-place finish in Phoenix, NASCAR's first short track of the season, and currently sits 13th in the Sprint Cup Series Championship Point Standings. Now heading to the Fontana, Calif., intermediate track, the team is ready to take on one of the circuit's most versatile race tracks and continue to build the Richard Petty Motorsports intermediate track program. Almirola will compete in both Saturday's XFINITY Series race in the No. 98 Ford Mustang for Biagi-DenBeste Racing and Sunday's Sprint Cup Series race in the No. 43 Smithfield Ford.
Race fans will be able to see Almirola on Sunday morning in the Auto Club Speedway Fan Midway when he and "The King" Richard Petty judge Smithfield's Whole Hog Challenge. Contestants will compete to eat 2 lbs. of bacon the fastest. The competitor to be the first with a clean plate will be declared the winner and will advance to the championship round of the Whole Hog Challenge in Miami at the end of the season. The contest will begin at 9:45 a.m. at the Smithfield display.
When: Sunday, March 20 at 9:45 a.m.
Where: Smithfield Display in the Fan Midway at Auto Club Speedway
"Fontana is so fun to race at; you can race all over that track. There's times when there is more grip and speed down on the apron, but then you can run just as fast five lanes higher right up against the fence. On the flip side, the seams at California are incredibly tricky. It's one of the toughest places that we go to in terms of how you position your car on the race track to cross over the seams. The tar that holds the race track together gets so hot and slimy that the tire just doesn't stick very well when you go across it. You can bust your butt really quick if you're not careful crossing the seams. But, it's a really cool race track, and I hope they never repave it. I hope we race on that track until it just falls apart. We've shown strength in our intermediate program this year, and I expect the same this weekend. We need to keep working hard on the details both before and during the race, and I think we can put ourselves in a position for a good finish this weekend."