With the final off-weekend of the 2016 season in the books, Aric Almirola feels recharged and ready to return to Bristol Motor Speedway, one of his favorite tracks on the NASCAR circuit. Almirola will run with Waffle House Powered by Smithfield on the hood of his Ford Fusion. The last time Almirola had the black and yellow of Waffle House as his primary sponsor, he competed for a win at Richmond International Raceway in the final race of the 2015 regular season. A win would've put Almirola into The Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship, but he was able to drive it home for a solid fourth-place finish, which was his best of the season. The team is hoping the paint scheme will once again bring them good luck and a great finish.
This will be the third race in which Smithfield, Waffle House and Richard Petty Motorsports have teamed up on track. Through the three-year partnership, the companies created Waffle House Race for Rewards, an app that allows patrons to earn points by eating at Waffle House and redeem those points for Waffle House merchandise and Smithfield racing gear. This season, fans could redeem 250 Race for Rewards points to have their name featured on the hood of the No. 43 Smithfield/Waffle House Ford. The Ford Fusion will race at Bristol Motor Speedway with the names of 436 Waffle House Race for Rewards fans on the hood.
Almirola has 14 previous starts at "The Last Great Colosseum". His best finish of third place came at the spring race of the 2014 season. He earned his best starting spot of fifth place during NASCAR's second visit to the track in 2012.
On Friday morning, Almirola will join SiriusXM's "The Morning Drive" live from Waffle House in Piney Flats, Tenn. He'll talk with the crew and cook up delicious bacon and waffles behind the counter. It'll be a party at Waffle House with appearances from Almirola, Brian Scott, "The King" Richard Petty, and Dale Inman. Fans are welcome to come join in for breakfast!
When: Friday, August 19, 7:00 - 11 AM, Almirola to appear from 8:00 - 8:30 AM
Where: Waffle House, 6575 US-11E, Piney Flats, TN 37686
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 Bristol Motor Speedway's Fan Midway. Pre-selected contestants will compete against one another to eat eight Smithfield ribs the fastest. The winner, crowned by Almirola and Petty, will move on to participate in the final Whole Hog Challenge Championship in Miami at the end of the season.
When: Saturday, August 20, 4:30 - 5:00 PM
Where: Smithfield Display, Bristol Motor Speedway Fan Midway
"Bristol is an animal of its own. It's a very unique racetrack. When we race there, the speeds are lower, and the baking holds the car to make the grip. So the downforce package isn't as much of a factor when we go to Bristol as it is in other places. But, I think we took good notes away from the spring race there, and I'm looking forward to going back in our No. 43 Smithfield/Waffle House Ford. It's a place we always run really well, and I always have it circled on the calendar. We've got high hopes going to Bristol, and we're thinking that we could make our way to victory lane there this weekend."