Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Kobalt Tools 400: Aric Almirola Race Preview

Aric Almirola • No. 43 Richard Petty Fantasy Racing Camp Ford Fusion
  • This weekend will be Almirola’s fourth Sprint Cup Series start at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He also has one start in the Nationwide Series and three starts and three top-10 finishes in the Camping World Truck Series at the track.
  • The famed No. 43 Ford will race with the colors and messaging of the Richard Petty Fantasy Racing Camp. The Richard Petty Fantasy Racing Camp is the ultimate stock car experience for racing enthusiasts ,and this year’s 12 participants names will be on the hood of the No. 43 this weekend.
  • Once arriving in Las Vegas on Thursday, Almirola, whose RPM No. 43 is supported by the U.S. Air Force, will visit Nellis Air Force Base and go through a brand emersion program on site.
Aric Almirola on the Las Vegas 400: “Yeah, I’m looking forward to this weekend. We had the accident at Daytona, but really bounced back at Phoenix last weekend. We made a lot of adjustments during the race, and Greg (Erwin) made a lot of good adjustments. Finishing 12th gives us some momentum for this weekend.

“I’ve had some good runs in the Truck Series at Vegas, I like the track, but never had a lot of luck in the Cup car. I know Greg has run really well there in the past and that’s why I’m looking forward to racing there this weekend. I think we can be fast off the hauler and have another good run. It’s also cool that we’re running the names of the Richard Petty Fantasy Racing Camp participants on our hood. I’m a professional racer, but even I want to participate in the camp. It’s pretty cool what they get to do and I’m sure they’ll have fun this weekend. Hopefully we can give them something to cheer for on Sunday.”

Crew Chief Greg Erwin’s Comments on Las Vegas: “Phoenix was a good weekend for us and I think we can build off that. Marcos (Ambrose) ran well and so did our No. 43 Ford Fusion. We just kept working on it and Aric did a great job of moving up through the field. We were in position for a top-10 at the end of the race and that’s a good position to be in early in the season with a new driver. Aric has really made this transition easy on all of us and we just want to continue to get better.

“This will be the first 1.5-mile track for everyone. I think we’ve prepared a strong Ford for Aric, but it will be interesting to see how the race plays out. We had a lot of fuel mileage races on these tracks last season, and with the new EFI system, we’re all keeping an eye on it. We just need to work smart during the race and be there at the end.”

Chassis History: The No. 43 RPM team has prepared chassis No. 783 for the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. This chassis has been torn down and updated and is the one the team raced at Homestead and Charlotte last fall.

Notes: Richard Petty Fantasy Racing Camp allows participants to take hundreds of laps behind the wheel of a 600hp NASCAR-style stock car. They will drive four different tracks across three days including the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, both the mile-and-a-half and the quarter-mile, the Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and the Spring Mountain Motorsports Road Course. This is the third Fantasy Camp held by Richard Petty Driving Experience, which includes a car control challenge, short track driving, road course racing, speedway challenge and more. The participants get instruction by NASCAR Hall of Fame inductees Dale Inman and Richard Petty. For more information about Richard Petty Fantasy Racing Camp visit or call 704.454.6224.

Almirola is currently 20th in Sprint Cup Series championship points. He is nine points outside a “Chase” position.

Race Information
Date: March 11, 2012
Track: Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Laps: 267 Laps/400 Miles
TV Information: 3 p.m. ET on FOX
Radio Information: 3 p.m. ET on PRN
Qualifying: March 9 at 6:30 p.m. on SPEED
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