● Last weekend at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, Almirola started second, earned 10 stage points, and finished eighth for his fourth top-10 of the year.
● Dirt Racing History: Almirola had seven starts starting in 2006 in the Prelude to the Dream charity event that Stewart-Haas Racing co-owner Tony Stewart hosted from 2005 to 2012 at his Eldora Speedway half-mile dirt oval in Rossburg, Ohio. Almirola scored a best finish of third and earned four top-10 finishes in those six outings. Almirola also won an exhibition race at the Talladega (Ala.) Short Track.
● Almirola’s experience in the inaugural Bristol Dirt Race last year was short lived. He started 23rd and began to run better lap times than the majority of the field by lap 20. On lap 39, his No. 10 SHR Ford and the No. 77 of Stewart Friesen made contact. The contact sent Almirola into a large clump of dirt at the bottom of the track, spinning the No. 10 SHR Ford into the middle lane. Almirola’s racecar was struck by multiple cars, ending his day.
● A Little-Known Fact: Almirola started his racing career on dirt. He raced go-karts at Dirt Devil Speedway in Land O’Lakes, Florida, which was built and owned by his grandfather Sam Rodriguez, who was a well-known dirt Sprint car racer. Not only did Almirola start his racing career on dirt, he learned valuable lessons about how to operate a dirt track from age 11 to 18.
● Points: Almirola arrives at Martinsville eighth in the driver standings with 223 points, 65 out of first. He advanced three positions from the previous race weekend.
● Almirola’s career: In 396 NASCAR Cup Series starts, Almirola has earned three wins, 27 top-five finishes, 88 top-10s, three poles, and has led 899 laps.
● Almirola was the only NASCAR Cup Series driver to finish in the top-10 in this year’s opening three races. He finished fifth in the season-opening Daytona 500 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, sixth at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, and sixth at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Almirola’s top-10 streak ended with a 12th-place finish at Phoenix Raceway despite running inside the top-10 throughout the race.
● Cummins will serve as the “alpha” sponsor of the No. 10 Ford Mustang this weekend at Bristol. Indiana-based Cummins, from car owner Tony Stewart’s hometown of Columbus, is a corporation of complementary business segments that design, manufacture, distribute and service a broad portfolio of power solutions. It is best known for its diesel truck engines. Since its founding in 1919, Cummins now employs approximately 61,600 people and serves customers in about 190 countries and territories through a network of some 8,000 wholly owned and independent dealer and distributor locations.
● Rush Truck Centers will also adorn the No. 10 Ford at Bristol this weekend. All of the SHR cars travel from race to race in haulers from Rush Truck Centers, the premier service solutions provider to the commercial vehicle industry. And those haulers are supported by the RushCare team of parts and service experts, who also provide concierge-level service and maintenance, technical support, schedule mobile service, dispatch roadside assistance, help locate the nearest dealer, and more. Rush Truck Centers is the largest network of commercial vehicle dealerships in the United States with 139 locations, and takes pride in its integrated approach to customer needs – from vehicle sales to aftermarket parts, service and body shop operations, plus financing, insurance, leasing and rental, as well as alternate fuel systems and other vehicle technologies.
● One More Time: On Jan. 10, Almirola released a video on his YouTube channel announcing his retirement from fulltime NASCAR Cup Series racing after the 2022 season to spend more time with his family. This year marks Almirola’s 11th fulltime Cup Series season. The official press release can be viewed here.
● Beyond the 10 YouTube Series:In 2022, Almirola is once again sharing his life beyond the No. 10 Smithfield Ford with season three of his award-winning YouTube series. Fans and media can subscribe on YouTube to see Almirola’s personality on and off the track. Episodes have already featured life as a dad, a husband and an athlete, and it gives fans a unique perspective on what goes on in the life of a professional NASCAR driver. Fans can also follow Almirola’s social media channels: @Aric_Almirola on Twitter and Instagram, and @AricAlmirola on Facebook.