NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Tag Archives: Aric Almirola

Sprint Cup Rookie Report: Out with the New & In with the Old for Phoenix Freshmen

While youth has been the preference of many NASCAR owners over the last decade, it appears as though the trend may be reversed for the moment. On a night where the ageless wonder, Mark Martin, drove to victory lane at the age of 50 years young, the newbies of the sport continued to struggle with the handling of these Sprint Cup cars. While Joey Logano started his Nationwide Series career with a bang and Speed decimated the ARCA field last season, both appear to be having a difficult time adjusting to new cars raced at the sport’s top level.

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Thompson in Turn 5: Old Controversies, the No. 8 & Aric Almirola are Shelved

On Wednesday, it was reported that the No. 8 Chevrolet team of Earnhardt Ganassi Racing will be scuttled immediately, removing themselves off the entry list for the Subway Fresh Fit 500k at Phoenix International Raceway next Saturday night. And with the news everyone has expected for days now becoming official, two separate issues that had been “hot-button topics” over the last two seasons have converged and been simultaneously resolved in a most unceremonious manner.

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What’s Vexing Vito: Economy or No Economy, Parking No. 8 Car for Phoenix Dumbest Thing Ever

Is this what NASCAR’s come to? As if it wasn’t bad enough that Petty Enterprises is no more, the Wood Brothers show up to about as many races as David Pearson nowadays, and Kyle Petty has been relegated to an as yet unconfirmed stint in the Grand Am Series... now one of the most iconic numbers in NASCAR is being shelved for lack of sponsorship. It wasn’t so long ago that this No. 8 team was contending for championships and winning races on a regular basis, becoming essentially the flagship car of NASCAR itself. But after stumbling through a miserable start, they claim there's no choice now but to submit to a different type of "flag" - the white flag of surrender.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: 2009 Samsung 500 at Texas Edition

Jeff Gordon’s large winless streak came to an end Sunday in Texas – where everything is big. But while Gordon had a giant weight lifted off his shoulders, other drivers felt huge swings in the points. Greg Biffle gained eight spots in the standings after his third-place Texas run, while Mark Martin’s sixth-place finish gained him nine positions. AJ Allmendinger’s ignition issues relegated him to a 34th-place finish and lost him five spots in the points, while Kevin Harvick and Michael Waltrip each lost four places after lousy runs. Inside the top 12, most drivers changed at least one spot, with Matt Kenseth leading the charge, climbing three spots to ninth after running fifth in Texas. Gordon also is seeing his points lead stretch, as you will find out in this week’s list of HOT, WARM and COLD drivers.

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Beyond the Cockpit: Aric Almirola Makes a Sales Pitch, Mulls His Future & Signs a Shoe?

After a one-year apprenticeship under Mark Martin - one where Aric Almirola drove a limited schedule to prepare for his Sprint Cup transition - he's finding full-time isn't all it's cracked up to be. Now 37th in the points with six finishes of 30th or worse in seven starts, his EGR organization is meeting as we speak this Tuesday to determine if the car will even make the trip to Phoenix (Almirola has no primary sponsorship remaining from any company this season). Only time will tell whether the young driver gets a second lease on life; but in the meantime, he stood around chatting with our Tom Bowles last week about the struggles of his 2009 season to date. He also talks about his new race shop, the one thing he can't live without, and a rather strange fan request... involving a shoe?

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Bubble Breakdown: Paul Menard Showing Signs of Life While Joey Logano Remains Lifeless

Optimism ran rampant amongst several bubble drivers this weekend as Paul Menard, Sam Hornish Jr., and Joey Logano all posted top-12 qualifying runs. But qualifying pays no points and Texas is a big, fast, nasty track that some of the best drivers have yet to master. So, as the race began questions loomed for those with solid starts – would Logano finally break through with a great finish? Would Menard continue his success at Texas? Would Hornish run a race and not hit anything? For the answers to these questions as well as who’s in and who’s out of the Top 35, read on for this week's edition of the Bubble Breakdown.

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Sprint Cup Rookie Report: Doomsday Looms Large Leaving Texas as Rookies Face Uncertain Futures

They say that everything is bigger in Texas; and in the case for most of the rookies and almost rookies, it was bad news that loomed large this past weekend. Brad Keselowski offered the lone bright spot as he once again shined in his Hendrick ride, finishing in the top 25 for the second consecutive race at the track. Marcos Ambrose may have also offered some good news if it weren’t for a faulty engine. I mentioned earlier this season that the No. 47 team may have an outside shot at the Chase, but they are quickly seeing those chances disappear as their engine department has not been able to keep pace with the rest of the team.

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Sprint Cup Rookie Report: Jiminy Cricket! Scott Speed Gets to Kyle Busch’s Conscience at Martinsville!

The lack of rookie incidents in last week’s race at Bristol certainly surprised me, but the Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500 sure made up for it. In an event that was appropriately named for this year’s freshmen, all rookies and almost rookies not named Ambrose ran into some sort of issue on the track or with their equipment. Speed certainly had to be the most disappointed leaving the track on Sunday evening. In a very similar fashion to what happened during the Las Vegas Nationwide race earlier this season, Speed fell victim to Busch, who uncharacteristically lost control of his car in the corner. If you think about it, Busch probably does not make a mistake like that more than twice a year - and Speed was the “lucky” man to be a part of both. Seems like that guy has to shake some bad karma moving forward!

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Sprint Cup Rookie Report: The Bristol Stomp on Joey Logano’s Solid Finish & Scott Speed’s Bubble Hopes

The results certainly weren’t much to get excited about, but I said last week that given their experience levels, both Rookie of the Year candidates should only worry about finishing at Bristol. Looking at it from that perspective, Speed met his goal and Logano certainly would have if it weren’t for some nasty engine gremlins. However, with five races in the books, both drivers should look at their respective points position as wakeup calls for the remainder of the season. Given the fact that there is no testing this year, don't expect the duo to light the series on fire. However, with Speed now outside of the Top 35 and Logano squarely on the bubble, they're going to need to step it up to avoid putting themselves in jeopardy of missing races. One top-20 finish between the two certainly cannot be acceptable to their teams, crews and most importantly, the drivers themselves.

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Bubble Breakdown: David Gilliland Drives TRG’s No. 71 Right Into Top 35

If you remember back to 2008, Jamie McMurray - a good driver on one of the super teams, Roush Fenway Racing - was not only sitting on the bubble heading to Bristol, but on the wrong side of it when he left there. It was proof even the best organizations could fall victim to having to qualify on speed. One year later, Ryan Newman and Mark Martin felt that same pressure, needing strong performances from their top-tier organizations to avoid what happened to McMurray last year. So, did Martin and Newman avoid being the big-name drivers on the outside looking in? And what underdog defied the odds to sneak into the Top 35? Read on to find out as we break down the bubble for the Food City 500 from Bristol Motor Speedway.

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