Aric Almirola has never in his Cup career had a stretch of good finishes like he has now. The Stewart-Haas Racing driver heads to the Kentucky Speedway this Sunday on the heels of five straight top five finishes in his No. 10 Ford.
While he’s never had a top five finish in his career in the Quaker State 400, he’s giving us no reason to believe that this streak is coming to an end any time soon.
First, Almirola and his team wanted to build momentum. They’ve done just that. Secondly, they wanted to position themselves in the standings good. They’re the top wildcard and 100+ points to the good.
Then, they will start being more aggressive.
“It will,” Almirola said when asked if they can be more aggressive now. “We’re in a situation now to where we can gamble a little bit, we can be a little bit more aggressive, we cannot be so conservative and worried about points. Not that we’re going to throw caution to the wind, but we can certainly be more aggressive.
“But I keep telling the guys, if we consistently run in the top five and continue to contend, we’re going to put ourselves in position to win a race. We have to capitalize on it.“
Almirola, said he’s excited for the tracks coming up now too because of this run that he’s on.
“I’m looking forward to these next racetracks.” Almirola continued. “I have top fives at racetracks I consider my worst racetracks statistically. Now we’re going to some of the racetracks that are probably my best racetracks statistically. So I’m looking forward to that.”
Almirola also says that this is the first time of his career that he’s as confident as he is coming to the track.
“I would say for most of my career I would show up to the racetrack and hope to have good runs. In 2018 about summertime all the way through the Playoffs, I showed up to the racetrack with a lot of confidence, feeling like we could win on any given weekend. We had several opportunities slip away. We were able to go to Victory Lane at Talladega. We probably had four or five races that year that we could have won. They got away from us.
“I’m thoroughly impressed with Buga and this whole 10 team. We’ve been bringing really fast cars to the racetrack. I feel like every weekend we expect to run top five now.“
The conditions at Kentucky this weekend will be tough, but Almirola feels they play into his strengths too.
“It’s going to be tough. Kentucky is usually pretty hot in the summertime. Kentucky in the middle of the day in the heat of the summer is going to be challenging. The racetrack is probably going to be a lot slower, a lot slicker.
“But it will be fun. I love those conditions. The hotter the better, to be honest. I feel like a lot of my training and stuff pays off in those conditions. I don’t feel like I’m falling out of the seat. I feel fresh, ready to go. At the end of the race I feel as good as I do at the beginning of the race. I enjoy it. I know some people dread racing in the hot of the day. I don’t mind it. So I’m ready for Kentucky.“