Aric Almirola Reminisces About Years Dancing With The Lady In Blackby Hunter Thomas May 7, 2022 0 comments
DARLINGTON, S.C. – The 2022 season is Aric Almirola’s final full-time effort in the NASCAR Cup Series, and on Saturday, he reminisced about his efforts at the track, Too Tough To Tame over the last decade.
On Sunday in the Goodyear 400, Almirola will be making his 14th NASCAR Cup Series start at Darlington Raceway. Throughout the years, he has faired pretty well, earning an average finish of 18.3. In fact, he only has two DNFs, and he has captured six top-15 finishes.
“Darlington is a really tough place, especially to come to for your first time,” Almirola said. “The track is just so unique with two different corners and being old and worn out. They call is Too Tough To Tame, and so when you’re a young kid, you show up here for your first time, you figure out really quick why it’s too tough to tame.”
In 2014, Almirola set a new track record at Darlington, when he flew around the track with an average speed of more than 184 mph. He was racing for Richard Petty Motorsports at the time with Darlington native, Trent Owens atop the pit box serving as his crew chief. While the effort was the fastest, which still holds true today, the lap came in the second round of qualifying. Almirola started third during the 2014 Southern 500 and came home 24th. The weekend serves as one of Almirola fondest memories of the Lady in Black.
“I think that weekend was pretty special with just honoring Richard and everything that he has done for the sport and for me personally, and then to go and to be fast that weekend.”
Almirola will start 12th on Sunday in the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 10 Haas Automotive/Smithfield Ford. The throwback scheme that he’s running this weekend honors his grandfather, Sam Rodriguez who used to run dirt sprint cars.
Unlike the Cook Out Southern 500 in September, the Goodyear 400 will be run in the heat of the afternoon. Almirola believes that the afternoon heat will have the new Next Gen cars slipping and sliding, which will ultimately produce more action on the track.
“I feel like the day race is going to present even more challenges,” Almirola said. “It’s going to make the cars harder to handle. It’s going to create a lot more action for sure.”
The Goodyear 400 at Darlington Raceway will broadcast live on FS1 and MRN at 3:30 p.m. ET on Sunday.