Aric Almirola left Richmond with a Top-20 finish but was not able to clinch a spot in The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. The team rallied back from a cut tire early on in the race that left them three laps down to finish in the 17th position on the lead lap. A promising comeback, the No. 43 Smithfield Ford team will carry that momentum to Chicagoland Speedway this weekend. Even though the team will not compete for the championship trophy, there are still 10 opportunities to win races in 2016. Looking to wipe the 2016 slate clean and start fresh as the sport begins its version of the playoffs, Almirola is confident that this visit to Chicago will be a great springboard for the team.
Almirola has four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at the mile-and-a-half track. His strongest finish of 10th place came in last season's race. A favorite track of Almirola's, he earned two fourth-place finishes in 2011 in the XFINITY Series.
It's time to go racing with Smithfield and Jewel-Osco! Almirola and teammate Brian Scott will have three minutes to race through a Chicago-area Jewel-Osco to find Smithfield products and various other items. Each will be paired with a pre-selected fan, and the driver to collect the highest dollar amount of correct products will win the entire grocery cart of products for their fan partner. Fans are invited to come and watch the race through Jewel-Osco before their personal grocery shopping trip. Chicago's Hottest Country US*99's Kasper will also be broadcasting live from the event while the No. 43 Smithfield Ford, No. 44 Jewel-Osco Ford and replica 1967 Belvedere will be on hand for fans to see.
When: Friday, September 16, 8:30 - 9:30 AM
Where: Jewel-Osco, 2480 Route 59, Plainfield, IL, 60544
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 Chicagoland Speedway's Fan Midway. Pre-selected contestants will compete against one another to eat two pounds of Smithfield bacon 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: Sunday, September 18, 10:45 - 11:15 AM
Where: Smithfield Display, Chicagoland Speedway Fan Midway
"Chicagoland Speedway promotes a lot of great racing all over the racetrack. It's a fun track to race at, and I'm excited to go back there. We're not in The Chase, but we still have a really great opportunity to go there and try to win the race. Hopefully, we'll be able to run with the drivers racing in The Chase and mix up the field a bit. We've run really well there in the past. We got a Top-10 finish there last year after leading laps in 2014, and I've found a lot of success in the XFINITY series at Chicago. So I'm looking forward to starting our last portion of the racing season there. If past performance says anything, it'll be a good race for our No. 43 Smithfield Ford."