By Christian Koelle, Staff Writer — Cover photo by Nigel Kinrade Photography
Aric Almirola’s start of 2021 could only be described using one word… terrible. A 34th, 17th, 30th, and 38th place finish has been Almrola’s season so far leading into Phoenix. Coming into this race, Phoenix has been a solid track for the driver of the No. 10 finishing top-10 in five of the last eight races. Despite not adding another top-five, an 11th place finish is a solid finish after the horrible start to 2021.
“Finally a solid day,” said Almirola. “I’m proud of my team. We ran in the top 10 most of the day, had a really good car on the longer runs, and there at the end it panned out to be a few short runs, so, all in all, a great day. Finally turned all the bad races around and got us almost a top 10. Thank you so much to Pit Boss Grills and representing the Pro Series on the car. That was fun to run upfront and be competitive and get out of here with a solid finish.”
With those finishes in the season, Almirola has struggled to start well with his third-place start at Daytona being his best (thanks to a win in the preseason Duel). Another problematic part of not finishing solidly is pit-stall selection and with this solid finish.
“Hopefully, we made some hay and made some ground on the points situation. We’re gonna have a lot better starting spot and pit selection going to Atlanta, so we’ll keep this momentum going into next week.”
In 10 races at Atlanta, Almirola has the best finish of eighth in 2018 and only has two career top-10 finishes. The momentum from the weekend will be very important for the No. 10 team to start a roll.