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No. 10 Smithfield/IHOP Ford Racing: Aric Almirola Martinsville Advance

Aric Almirola
Martinsville II Advance
No. 10 Smithfield/IHOP Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing

Event Overview
● Event: Xfinity 500 (Round 35 of 36)
● Time/Date: 2 p.m. EDT on Sunday, Oct. 31
● Location: Martinsville (Va.) Speedway
● Layout: .526-mile oval
● Laps/Miles: 500 laps/263 miles
● Stage Lengths: Stage 1: 130 laps / Stage 2: 130 laps / Final Stage: 240 laps
● TV/Radio: NBC / MRN / SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Notes of Interest

● History at Martinsville: In 26 starts, Almirola has earned one top-five finish, five top-10s, and has led 75 laps.

● Crew chief Mike Bugarewicz visited victory lane at Martinsville in March 2018 with former Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) driver and current FOX analyst Clint Bowyer after leading 215 laps. “Buga” is in his sixth fulltime season at SHR and his second with Almirola. To learn more, click here.

● IHOP will adorn the No. 10 Ford this weekend at Martinsville for the first time with a special livery that features the words “The Pancake Man” above the door in place of Almirola’s name, playing off Almirola’s nickname “Bacon Man” that has been cultivated by NASCAR fans during Smithfield’s 10 years of sponsorship. IHOP and Almirola will also fuel the No. 10 team on Sunday morning prior to the race. The special paint scheme was unveiled on SHR’s social media channels, as can be seen here. Since 1958, IHOP has been the place where people connect over breakfast, enjoy study breaks, grab a bite before or after sporting events, and so much more. No matter what menu items they order, there’s one ingredient that’s always constant – a smile.

● Almirola locked himself into the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs with his July 18 victory at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon. He led 46 laps around the flat, 1.058-mile oval en route to his third career NASCAR Cup Series win. After a year full of adversity and bad luck, the victory put the No. 10 team, which was 27th in the standings and facing a must-win situation if it was going to compete for this year’s championship, in prime position to earn one of the 16 coveted berths in the 10-race playoffs. Almirola’s award-winning YouTube series “Beyond the 10” captured his entire race day here.

● Smithfield celebrates 10 years of partnership with Almirolathis season with a special campaign called Taste Victory.As one of the most active partners in NASCAR, Smithfield engages fans all year long by hosting a microsite that provides the opportunity to win when Almirola wins or finishes inside the top-10. When Almirola wins, one fan wins $10,000, and 10 fans win a gift card for each top-10 finish. The microsite also doubles as an Aric Almirola fan page and entertainment source where fans can get behind the wheel of the No. 10 Smithfield Ford with a custom racing game, and learn more about Almirola with fast facts, favorite recipes and custom content about his life on and off the track. Visit www.tastevictory.com to learn more. Thanks to Almirola’s Feb. 11 win in his Duel qualifying race for the Daytona 500 and his July 18 win at New Hampshire, two lucky fans have already won $10,000 each.

● This year marked Almirola’s fifth career playoff appearance and fourth in a row since joining SHR. While he didn’t advance beyond the Round of 16, he has set his sights on a top-10 points position after the checkered flag drops at the season finale Nov. 7 at Phoenix Raceway. Fans and media can watch the “Beyond the 10” episode of his playoff run on YouTube here.

● Career Stats: Almirola has career totals of three wins, two poles, 26 top-five finishes, 82 top-10s and 893 laps led in 386 NASCAR Cup Series starts.

● Beyond the 10 YouTube Series:In 2021, Almirola continues to share his life beyond the No. 10 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. Almirola’s latest Beyond the 10 gives a first look at the NASCAR Next Gen car.

● Point standings: Almirola is currently 15th in the driver standings with 2,147 points.

Aric Almirola, Driver of the No. 10 Smithfield/IHOP Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing

What does it take to run well at short tracks?

“No matter what the situation is, we as racers always love going to short tracks. It’s what we grew up doing and it puts the outcome in the driver’s hands more than the superspeedway races. You can’t pass much, so it’s extremely important that you stay mentally and physically focused throughout the entire run.”

After winning New Hampshire this year, do you head to Martinsville and Phoenix with some extra confidence?

“Yeah, these short tracks have been strong for us all year. Martinsville is so tricky, but we’ve brought some really good speed there in the past. I’m excited we get to cap off the season with two 750-horsepower tracks.”

No. 10 Smithfield/IHOP Ford Mustang Team Roster

Primary Team Members

Driver: Aric Almirola
Hometown: Tampa, Florida

Crew Chief: Mike Bugarewicz
Hometown: Lehighton, Pennsylvania

Car Chief: Jerry Cook
Hometown: Toledo, Ohio

Engineer: Lee Deese
Hometown: Rockingham, North Carolina

Engineer: James Kimbrough

Hometown: Pensacola, Florida

Spotter: Joel Edmonds
Hometown: Dobson, North Carolina

Over-The-Wall Members

Front Tire Changer: Ryan Mulder
Hometown: Sioux Center, Iowa

Rear Tire Changer: Michael Johnson
Hometown: Andover, New York

Tire Carrier: Tyler Bullard
Hometown: King, North Carolina

Jack Man: Sean Cotton
Hometown: Mooresville, North Carolina

Fuel Man: James “Ace” Keener
Hometown: Fortuna, California

Road Crew Members

Mechanic: Tony Silvestri
Hometown: Sylvania, Ohio

Mechanic: Robbie Fairweather
Hometown: Westbrookville, New York

Engine Tuner: Matt Moeller
Hometown: Monroe, New York

Tire Specialist: Russel Simpson
Hometown: Medford, New York

Transporter Co-Driver: Dale Lackey
Hometown: Taylorsville, North Carolina

Transporter Co-Driver: Wayne Smith
Hometown: Melbourne, Australia



The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.

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