After a weekend off to recharge in North Carolina, Richard Petty Motorsports is ready to take the No. 43 Smithfield Ford out west to Sonoma Raceway. Continuing each year to build the team's road course program, Aric Almirola recorded his best career road course finishes in the 2015 season at both NASCAR Sprint Cup Series road course tracks, with a Top-15 finish coming at Sonoma. The team is hoping to ride the momentum from last year's strong road course finishes and continue to strengthen the program. A track with more than 160 feet of elevation change and 12 turns, Sonoma Raceway presents many challenges for teams and drivers alike. But, the No. 43 Smithfield Ford team is prepared to use this race as a springboard to begin another climb through the Championship Point Standings.
Almirola has five previous starts at the California road course. He scored his track-best finish of 14th place in last season's race. Also in 2015, he earned his best starting position for a Sonoma race.
Fans will have the opportunity to see both Almirola and "The King" Richard Petty when they judge the Whole Hog Challenge at the Smithfield Display in Sonoma Raceway's Fan Midway. Pre-selected contestants will compete against one another to eat eight Smithfield ribs the fastest. The winner will be crowned by Almirola and Petty and will move on to participate in the final Whole Hog Challenge in Miami at the end of the season. Prior to the Whole Hog Challenge, Smithfield and Save Mart will donate 35,000 lbs. of protein to the Redwood Empire Food Bank through Smithfield's Helping Hungry Homes program.
When: Sunday, June 26 at 9:05 a.m.
Where: Smithfield Display in Sonoma Raceway's Fan Midway
"I have really started to enjoy road racing over the years. In the very beginning, I didn't like it much at all. But, I've really embraced it and have taken an interest in getting better at it. I feel like it has paid off. I've run better, and I've seen results. We've performed better as a team and have been more competitive. As I've run better, I've started to enjoy it more and more as you do anything that you work hard at. Sonoma can be a challenging race with the long green flag runs we tend to see, but it always seems to work out. It's a really unique racetrack with lots of elevation changes and worn out pavement. It's such a fun place to race and hopefully we'll bring home a solid finish in our No. 43 Smithfield Ford."